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BUSINESS QUARTERLY PUBLISHED BY The Madison County Journal PUBLISHER James E. Prince III ASSOCIATE EDITOR & PUBLISHER Michael Simmons LAYOUT & DESIGN Rachel Browning Truong CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Chris Todd, Abe Draper, Amile Wilson CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Duncan Dent, Mark Stowers ADVERTISING ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Leigh Loecher leigh@onlinemadison.com 601.853.4222 DISTRIBUTION Bing Crosby Madison County Magazine is a bi-monthly supplement to the Madison County Journal designed to promote Madison County in an informative and positive manner. We welcome contributions of articles and photos; however, they will be subject to editing and availability of space and subject matter. Photographs, comments, questions, subscription requests and ad placement inquiries are invited! Return envelopes and postage must accompany all labeled materials submitted if a return is requested. No portion of this publication may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. The opinions expressed in Madison County Magazine are those of the authors or columnists and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, nor do they constitute an endorsement of products or services herein. We reserve the right to refuse any and all advertising. Subscribe to the magazine by subscribing to the Journal, mymcj.com, or call the office at (601) 853-4222 © 2010 Madison County Publishing Company.

MICHAEL SIMMONS Business is great and that’s exactly the message we’re shouting from the rooftops — or in this case, in the pages of our new quarterly business publication. Readers of the Madison County Journal and Madison County Magazine are already familiar with our high-quality approach to storytelling. Whether it’s a step back in time with one of our award-winning history pieces or in-depth feature on people in the community, we like to think nobody can tell a story quite like we can. We want to tell your business story. That’s why we decided to branch out even further and zoom in on the business world that makes up metro Jackson and Madison County. Every week, I get pitched an idea for our lifestyles magazine. Those ideas would be great stories and I could picture the layouts in my head. The only problem is I could not picture them in between recipes or the latest home decor trends, although that’s great. We are always getting great story ideas about businesses and the people behind the scenes, but I just didn’t have the perfect place to put them. I wound up relegating them to our Economy page in the Madison County Journal. Then it hit me. One thing the metro needs is a probusiness, pro-economic development publication telling the stories of the businesses and the people moving Mississippi forward. My boss has been here for about 30 years. He did not start the Journal, but his background is solid journalism as editor of the student newspaper at Mississippi State University and later obtaining a master’s in journalism from Ole Miss. His family has been in oil and gas distribution from about the time the automobile was invented. His love is journalism and he has

a heart for the city of Jackson. We definitely want Jackson to succeed because as Jackson goes, so go the rest of us. It’s fitting that our inaugural issue features Nissan on the cover. It’s hard to imagine Madison County — and the state — without the Nissan plant in Canton. My boss knew Nissan was coming and kept it under wraps for the good of Madison County. We were not out to win the Pulitzer back then. We are still a family-controlled company and we understand local. For the last 15 years, Nissan has been driving the local economy. It’s responsible for so much and has spurred so much economic growth in the state as a result. The Nissan plant paved the way for the Toyota plant in Blue Springs. At one point, I’ve been told that Nissan had employees from 81 of the state’s 82 counties. Today, that number remains high in the 60s. We give you a glimpse into the banking industry in this issue and hear from the heads of Madison County operations for Trustmark and BankPlus about bouncing back from the recession and how things are trending. We dive into the world of accounting and BKD shares some of the latest trends in that field. We bid adieu to Ben Allen, the head of Downtown Jackson Partners, — who has done a great job — and reflect on his years of service to our Capital City. And we look into the bustling world of development inside one of the state’s largest planned neighborhood — Reunion in Madison. We even give you a glimpse behind the Jackson Symphony League and the extraordinary work they do every year to ensure the arts are alive in the metro. We look forward to featuring people behind the non-profits in every future edition as well. We’re all thankful for Blair E. Batson and the incredible work they do for the children of our state, and, frankly, for our own employees. So, we give you a little bit of everything in this inaugural issue and we hope you enjoy as we continue to grow what we think will be the preeminent business publication in the state. We’ve already begun working on the second issue, due out in October, where we will dive into a number of different industries, from Healthcare to Technology. I’d be remiss if I didn’t take an opportunity to thank our sponsors and partners for helping us share these stories, and many more to come. All that said, if you know of a good business story, let me know. I can think of a few places to put them. Feel free to share them with me or reach out to me directly at msimmons@onlinemadison.com or (601) 853-4222.


BASEBALL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT JOSEPH P. DEASON It is Sunday evening and as I mentally prepare myself for the upcoming week and the challenges that lie ahead, the television roulette lottery winner landed on the Sunday night Red Sox vs. the Yankees primetime game. As I watched the game, my mind wondered between the game, work, and specifically the Op-Ed piece due this week. It has been stated many times that baseball mirrors life in many aspects and I would add that it mirrors economic development as well. There are many economic development analogies between the economic development profession and baseball. None is more prevalent than “Small Ball vs. Long Ball” and how communities approach economic development. In baseball you can manufacture runs by placing runners on base and advancing them in a deliberate or methodical way –defined as “Small Ball”, or you can attempt to score runs by swinging for the fence defined as “Long Ball”. Many communities play for large projects with long lasting effects and many communities play for multiple smaller projects with a similar cumulative long-lasting effects. Is one approach better or more effective than the other? It depends on the personality of your community and your economic development organization. The “Long Ball” approach to economic development certainly grabs more news headlines. It is much flashier than the “Small Ball” approach and could be compared to a walk off grand slam in the bottom of the 9th. “Long Ball” brings large rewards in the form of huge investment numbers and job counts that places your community and economic development in a spotlight, which can change your community forever. These projects normally but not always demand large capacities of water, sewer, gas, rail, transportation, and electricity. Examples of “Long Ball” successes here in the State of

Mississippi include Nissan, Toyota, Paccar, Yokohama, and Continental most recently. These are big wins that are incentivized by the State and Locals using big money via the Mississippi Legislature enacting the Major Mississippi Economic Incentive Authority (MMEIA). The “Small Ball” approach to economic development is typically much smaller in scale and makes a community stronger by having multiple wins over a much shorter period of time. Examples include Fastenal warehouse and distribution center, ACCO Brand expansion, Peco Foods Inc., and Vertex Aerospace headquarters expansion. These wins can range in jobs and investments from 25 to 250 jobs and $2.5 million to $75 million investments. Staying with our baseball analogy this is compared to hitting bunts, singles, doubles, and a triple every now and then. One of the most important aspects, outside of the jobs and investment, is the ability to diversify your community with multiple independent industries that may not be prone to the same economic downturns should the economy hit a bump in the road. “Small Ball’ it is team effort with regards to incentives from the State and locals, but the cost of the wins are at a much smaller scale. So how your community approaches economic development is relevant to what your community desires. Does your community desire to win the big one or win multiple smaller successes? There are advantages to each approach and technically no disadvantages to either as long as you are in the game. If you are in the game then you have the chance to stand at the plate and you have the chance for a base hit or a grand slam! Both approaches will make the community a better place by creating jobs and investment for those willing to suit up. As for my approach for Madison County………I want to hit for the cycle!

Joseph Deason is the executive director of the Madison County Economic Development Authority.

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“I FOUND ROME MADE OF BRICK AND LEFT IT MADE OF MARBLE” - AUGUSTUS CAESAR JEFF GOOD I live in Jackson Mississippi. It is my home, it’s where I work, where I play, where I eat, and where I attend church. I spend 90% of my life within its borders. Am I different than anyone else? I am in the restaurant business with BRAVO! Italian Restaurant & Bar, Broad Street Baking Company & Café, and Sal & Mookie’s New York Pizza & Ice Cream Joint all located within the city proper. The fact that my businesses, my home and my church all are within city limits may or may not be unique; many of us have similar setups, but I think it’s safe to say in today’s mobile society that many of us commute between city and county lines for one or more of these elements. If you are one of the folks who has found your life’s foundation and your daily routine outside the Jackson city limits, I want to urge you not to forget us. Come spend some time and discover what we have to offer. Too often, what we believe about a place is what we see via media or what we hear from others. The truth is only evident and inarguable when we see it with our own two eyes. Jackson is experiencing a real cultural renaissance. The opening of the “Two Museums” (Mississippi History Museum and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum) in December of last year cemented our position as our state’s cultural heart. The new museums join a plethora of historic and educational and experiential museums and venues, all who collectively tell our story and inform us who we are, why we are, and what we can become. The Mississippi Museum of Natural Science sits next to the Mississippi Children’s Museum to offer a full day of learning for grade school children from around the state. The Old Capital Museum and the Smith Robertson Museum offer smaller curated storytelling and breadth of subject matter to complement the “Two Museums,” and one is literally next door, and the other a stone’s throw away. The Mississippi Museum of Art is open all week long and fea-


tures a standing FREE gallery. The café and arts garden provide a wonderful place to enjoy lunch and get some culture all at once. The Mississippi Agricultural & Forestry Museum catalogs our rich history of growing crops and building our economy. The Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame heralds our athletic stars from days gone by to last year’s championships. The Russell C Davis Planetarium adjoins the Jackson Arts Center to offer multiple experiences and cultural engagement. The Arts Center houses Ballet Mississippi, Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, Mississippi Opera, The International Museum of Muslim Cultures and more… all under one roof. The William Winter Archives & History Building is not only architecturally stunning, but stunning in the breadth and depth of research materials available to anyone who wishes to learn more. Please, come and spend some time in YOUR capital city… help share the story of what we have to offer, and bring someone new with you when you come. These assets are OUR assets… they belong to the people of MISSISSIPPI… of the people, by the people, and for the people. By coming to Jackson and frequenting our cultural assets, you can be a part of turning negative to positive, brick to marble… and make our capital city shine… just like Augustus did for Rome. Jeff Good is the President of Mangia Bene Restaurant Management Group, the owner/ operator of BRAVO! Italian Restaurant & Bar, Broad Street Baking Company, and Sal & Mookie’s New York Pizza & Ice Cream Joint – three unique and successful restaurants located in the city of Jackson, Mississippi. The restaurants operate a full-service catering business, Mangia Bene Catering, with partnerships in dozens of venues throughout the Metro Jackson area.





601-853-4222 • msimmons@onlinemadison.com



601-853-4222 • leigh@onlinemadison.com

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Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP is pleased to announce that Michael J. Bentley and Mary Clay W. Morgan, partners in the firm’s Jackson office, have been named to Benchmark’s 2018 Under 40 Hot List.    “We congratulate our accomplished partners who have been named to Benchmark’s 2018 Under 40 Hot List for their successes as young, talented attorneys,” said Bradley Interim Chairman of the Board and Managing Partner Dawn Helms Sharff. A member of Bradley’s Litigation and Appellate Practice Groups, Mr. Bentley concentrates his practice on appellate and commercial litigation. A member of Bradley’s Litigation and Labor & Employment Practice Groups, Ms. Morgan has extensive experience litigating labor and employment matters and a variety of other cases. Now in its third year, the Under 40 Hot List includes attorneys, aged 40 or younger, who have been recognized by their peers and clients as among the most promising emerging talent in their respective litigation communities in the United States and Canada. The list is produced by Benchmark, which covers the litigation and disputes market in North America, including the United States, Canada and Mexico.


serve as Vice President of Mississippi Young Bankers (MYB), a section of the Mississippi Bankers Association (MBA).


Ridgeland banker Marc Petro elected Vice President of Mississippi Young Bankers JACKSON – Marc Petro, Community Bank of Mississippi, Ridgeland, has been elected to

Since 1950, Mississippi Young Bankers has been active in providing leadership development activities, supporting financial literacy programs of the MBA and its member banks. MYB members are involved in administering scholarship programs for high school and college students, supporting the MBA Education Foundation, and advocating policy positions important to a strong banking industry. Petro serves as president of the Hinds/Madison County Division of Community Bank of Mississippi. He has been with Community Bank for 16 years.

Petro earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Mississippi State University. He also is a graduate of the MBA-sponsored Mississippi School of Banking and the Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State University. Petro’s extensive participation in MYB includes service as MYB Treasurer this past year and previous service as a member of the MYB Executive Council and as an MYB county chairman in promoting financial education. His community involvement includes serving as a past president of the Ridgeland Chamber of Commerce. Petro and his wife, Jamie, reside in Madison.


Fisher Brown Bottrell Insurance, Inc., a subsidiary of Trustmark, is pleased to announce that Assistant Vice President Angela P. White has been named as the 2018-2019 Board President of the Jackson Association of Health Underwriters, an organization of health insurance agents and brokers. White has more than 20 years of insurance and employee benefits experience.  She joined Fisher Brown Bottrell Insurance, Inc., in 2001 and was recently promoted to Assistant Vice President of Employee Benefits.  White was recognized as a Triple Crown Winner at the 2017 National Association of Health Underwriters Convention.  She holds certifications and training in the following: Life & Health Insurance, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Healthcare Reform, Employee Benefits Producer Training and Dale Carnegie Sales Training.   White is a member of Broadmoor Baptist Church, where she serves on the Orphan Care Ministry and North American Missions teams.




Southern AgCredit Welcomes New Staff Members Kirby Keith joins Southern AgCredit in the position of credit analyst in the co-op’s Ridgeland administrative office. A native of Decatur, Miss., Keith now resides in Madison, Miss., with his wife, Stephanie, and two dogs, Toby and Cooper. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in business administration from Mississippi State University and is a graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Banking. Keith most recently was an assistant vice president with Community Bank, where he worked as a commercial and consumer loan officer.


The Ridgeland Tourism Commission is excited to announce the selection of Chris R. Chapman as its new executive director. Chapman replaces Mary Beth Wilkerson, who retired at the end of June.

Chapman brings with her an abundance of knowledge and expertise in the realm of tourism. She is exceedingly qualified for the position of executive director, having excelled over a 30-year career within the travel and tourism industry of Mississippi while fostering key relationships in state, regional, national and international markets. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Mississippi State University, is a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) through the Convention Industry Council, serves on the Mississippi Tourism Association board and holds a certification in Convention Marketing (CCM) through the International Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus. Most recently, she has acted as president of Chapman Meet-

Drew Summers joins Southern AgCredit in the position of collateral evaluator in the Hattiesburg branch office. Summers earned an associate of science degree in forestry technology from Jones County Junior College and a bachelor of science degree in forestry management from Mississippi State University. He began his career at Weyerhaeuser Southern Timberland Division in Columbia, Miss., and then transitioned to Plum Creek Timberlands in Brookhaven, Miss. Most recently, Summers was a procurement forester for five-and-a-half years for WestRock Company in Evadale, Texas. He grew up in Purvis, Miss., and has been married to his wife, Jennifer, for four years. They have two dogs, Delta and Maggie.   Southern AgCredit is a full-service cooperative lender that specializes in financing rural land and agricultural operations in Mississippi and Louisiana. It is a member of the nationwide Farm Credit System, the nation’s single largest source of loans for agriculture, agribusiness, rural real estate and country homes. For more information, visit www.southernagcredit.com.

ing Professionals, LLC, which specializes in consulting on all phases of meeting and event planning, as well as meeting market sales development and destination management goals.

manager for Visit Mississippi (the state’s tourism office) will be invaluable and instrumental in guiding the staff and program of work of the Ridgeland Tourism Commission.

“The Commission’s board of directors is excited about its selection and anticipates continued success in the facilitation of Visit Ridgeland activities under Mrs. Chapman’s leadership,” said Ridgeland Tourism Commission Board President Lan Pickle.

“Ridgeland has a wealth of opportunity and a dynamic team of tourism professionals at the Tourism Commission to bring visitors to our city into a new age of exciting growth and development,” said Chapman. “My tourism and hospitality experience over the last 30 years has prepared me for the responsibilChapman has delivered results- ity to serve Ridgeland’s touroriented success in sales and ism industry. I look forward to marketing, project and team working with tourism partners management, meeting and event locally and around the country planning, as well as strategic to increase visitation and suspromotions. Her background tainable growth for our travel and years of service as bureau industry in Ridgeland.”

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INDUSTRY NEWS ADAMS AND REESE Adams and Reese celebrated the 30th anniversary of its HUGS (Hope, Understanding, Giving and Support) Program across all its offices in late-July.

Founded in 1988 by Mark Surprenant, a partner in the New Orleans office of Adams and Reese, HUGS is an employee volunteer program that has provided charitable and philanthropic programs with financial resources, donations and countless hours of hands-on volunteer support. HUGS has benefited thousands of people in need through its connections with more than 200 organizations across the southeastern United States. HUGS’ 30th anniversary will be celebrated with a special luncheon in each of the firm’s offices. Media are invited to join events in each Adams and Reese office and meet with some of the individuals who have made HUGS a success throughout the firm’s footprint. Programs that have benefited from volunteerism and donations through HUGS will also be represented at these celebrations. 
“I am tremendously proud of the many ways Adams and Reese employees have come together over the past 30 years to give back to our communities through HUGS,” said Surprenant, who also serves as Liaison Partner of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee. “This week, we are celebrating not only our core value of community service but also the people in our communities whose daily efforts improve the lives of countless individuals. It’s an honor to be a part of an organization whose people truly exemplify the values of HUGS: caring, generosity, selflessness and hope.”

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Hilton Garden Inn Jackson/Madison Blooms With Recent Renovation Madison Hilton Garden Inn Jackson/Madison completed a significant renovation of their 134-room hotel located at 320 New Mannsdale Road earlier this year. Updates were made to incorporate the hallmarks of the brand’s Magnolia design scheme throughout the common areas, meeting space and guestrooms while customizing certain elements of the guest experience. “The renovations from top to bottom were made with our guests in mind. We want to ensure that we offer the freshest décor

Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home Louisiana State Bar Association’s Secret Santa Program Make-A-Wish Foundation M.D. Anderson Mobile Mammography Program Mississippi Animal Rescue League (MARL) QUARTERLY Mobile Animal Shelter MS Tour for Cure - Bike Rides

and amenities to make us the hotel of choice when visiting the Metro Jackson area,” said Tim Coleman, General Manager. For instance, an expanded bar and media wall in the lobby complement the award-winning hospitality of the hotel’s team members.

standards both in the way the hotel looks, feels and provides its customers with excellent customer service. It truly is an asset to our city.”

Hilton Garden Inn Jackson/ Madison is owned by MMI Hospitality Group and managed by MMI Hotel Group. For more than 60 years, MMI has defined service Elizabeth Fulcher, Executive standards and developed Director of the Madison the creative design for the hotel City Chamber of Commerce, industry as the Mississippisaid they held a business based company provides function at the hotel last management services to week and were amazed at the hotels across the Southeast. new look. For more information or to “When I walked in the make reservations, please Hilton Garden Inn last week visit Hilton Garden Inn to drop off our guest speaker, Jackson, Madison, or call I was blown away by the 601-420-0442. Read more renovations” she said. “It is about Hilton Garden Inn beautiful. They continue to at www.hgi.com and www. keep up with exceptional news.hgi.com.



Named Program Manager for $60 Million in School District Projects The Hinds County School District has entered into an agreement with Ferguson & Associates Architecture naming the full-service architecture firm as Program Manager over 55 unique projects across ten school campuses within the Hinds County School district, with a budget of $60 million in bond money. The projects are expected to be completed over the next three years. Hinds County School District Assistant Superintendent and Chief Financial Officer Earl P. Burke said that FAA was selected based on its performance designing and managing an earlier project for the school district.

“Ferguson & Associates Architecture has a strong commitment to meeting our needs. They have exceptional skills in communicating and consensus-building, navigating the construction planning process, and they possess a clear understanding of our administrative dynamics.” Burke added, “Choosing an architect is both a personal decision as well as a professional process, requiring good chemistry, mutual respect, and shared values. Ferguson is that rare blend.” When asked what makes the Madison, Mississippi-based firm Ferguson & Associates Architecture an attractive choice for a contract of this scope, G. G. Ferguson, president and principal architect, offered his insights. “Our Program Management fee is competitive to what a contractor would charge—but we can layer on other services that they cannot. As architects, we can be flexible with features, scheduling, and budget, while total accountability remains intact.” Construction is underway on several projects under Ferguson’s management for Hinds, including Terry High School’s Entry Plaza as well as Raymond High School’s Gymnasium and Center for the Performing Arts. Ferguson remarked on the dramatic difference visitors can expect when returning to Terry High School in the fall. “There’s a

new game-day experience with everything from dedicated tailgating space, to new parking with numerous new exit points. We’ve even reimagined how players run out onto the field. Over 30 ladies’ restrooms have been added, as well as brand new concessions and ticket windows.” Raymond High School’s changes are also designed to welcome and inspire visitors, creating a new focal point for the campus. “This 2,000-seat gym, 1,200-seat auditorium, plus new classroom and support spaces, will be the heart of the campus, celebrating its connection to the community as a center for special performances, sports, and many other events.” The $60 million bond was overwhelmingly passed by Hinds County voters in August

2017, with 84% voting their approval. No tax hike was associated with the bond. In a press release thanking the citizens of Hinds County for supporting the bond, Superintendent Dr. Delesicia Martin says, “This investment will allow us to continue on our journey to excellence by creating twentyfirst century learning spaces, enhancing classroom instruction with new technology, and providing more opportunities for students to participate in the arts.” The bond covers projects at Bolton Edwards Elementary/Middle School, Byram Middle School, Gary Road Elementary School, Gary Road Intermediate School, Raymond Elementary School, Raymond High School, Terry High School, and Utica Elementary/ Middle School.

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C Spire chooses Siklu to deliver affordable 5G internet to homes and businesses C Spire, a leading 5G technology service provider, announced a partnership this summer with Siklu, a market leader in mmWave wireless solutions, to use multi-gigabit wireless technology to backhaul high speed internet service to thousands of homes and businesses in Mississippi. C Spire is using Siklu solutions to extend existing fiber optic assets for last mile connections in neighborhoods and business districts in over 150 Mississippi towns and communities as part of a push to rapidly bring the next-generation services to more consumers and businesses at affordable prices.

pany, announced plans to acquire TekLinks in June in a private transaction designed to help the firm continue its aggressive growth and expansion into the lucrative sector that C Spire is using its recent acquisition of Birmingham, helps businesses manage their complex data and Alabama-based TekLinks communications needs. to bolster its reputation of offering businesses and The new website touts the enterprises the nation’s fact that C Spire is now most comprehensive suite the nation’s first full-stack of cloud and IT managed managed solutions proand professional services. vider, capable of offering With the launch of a new, advanced connectivity, cloud, software, hardware, comprehensive cspire. com/business website, the communications, profescompany has finished the sional services, cybersecurity, business continuity latest phase of efforts to incorporate the highly re- and technology support in a single, seamless managed garded and rapidly growing cloud and IT managed IT solution portfolio. and professional services company and staff into its “With integrated sales and product teams, websites consolidated operations. and signage, we are truly operating as one team C Spire, a Mississippiand one company from an based diversified teleemployee and customer communications and perspective,” said C Spire technology services comC Spire leverages recent major acquisition to bolster business services


Chief Integration Officer Keith Paglusch. “Our new team supports a comprehensive device-to-cloud portfolio of products, services and solutions for new and existing customers.” The combined C Spire business unit features a workforce of over 500 service professionals, over 8,600 route miles of fiber optic infrastructure with major locations in 12 cities and operations in three states – Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee - multiple data centers in several states and the ability to serve voice, IP/data, cloud and managed and professional services customers anywhere in the country.

With the acquisition of TekLinks, C Spire is now ranked ninth in the world among all cloud services providers.

C Spire is using its 8,400 route miles of fiber backbone to reach hundreds of neighborhoods, cities and towns with high speed internet and the last-mile backhaul is handled by using services from Siklu. “Our service is backhauled by Siklu’s carrier grade solutions enabling us to deliver high speed internet access without the arbitrary data caps usually associated with LTE or satellite services,” said C Spire President Stephen Bye. “With a flat rate of $50 a month, which includes taxes and fees, our customers can now easily get all of the content they want and need.” Expanding tech innovation and education in the areas of robotics, artificial intelligence, internet of things, augmented and virtual reality, machine learning and telehealth are also top priorities for the company, Bye said.


Mimosa to develop the industry-leading, cost-competitive technology, which offers hybrid-fiber-wireless (HFW) solutions, using client antennas and access point base stations to extend C Spire’s extensive 8,400 route miles of buried fiber network at the edge of most Mississippi neighborhoods. Mimosa’s HFW solutions can be rapidly deployed, with client antennas about one third the size of a satellite dish. C Spire’s 5G internet offering provides subscribers with speeds of up 120 Mbps. C Spire offers the service for $50 a month with no data caps and no long-term service contracts and low latency ideal for applications like gaming, streaming and video calling. C Spire, Mimosa partner on 5G fixed wireless broadband push C Spire and Mimosa Networks announced recently that they are working together on a 5G fixed wireless initiative in Mississippi designed to extend broadband internet access service to more consumers and businesses. As part of an initiative designed to reach tens of thousands of consumers and businesses with affordable broadband internet, C Spire is deploying Mimosa’s sub-6 GHz equipment and technology solutions in neighborhoods, small towns and cities across the state. C Spire operates the nation’s largest privately held wireless communications company and is one of the nation’s leading broadband and cloud service providers. In addition to fixed wireless broadband, C Spire offers consumers and businesses voice, video, home internet, wireless, business services, cloud and managed services solutions. With a vision of transforming Mississippi one neighborhood at a time, C Spire is targeting its 5G fixed wireless internet service to hundreds of neighborhoods over the life of the initiative. C Spire is focused on providing the Magnolia state’s unserved and underserved population with the fastest time-to-market and activation of service, while delivering up to 120 Mbps speeds at an affordable price. Both business and consumer subscribers in the targeted neighborhoods, cities and towns will have access to the service.   After several field trials and an extensive technical evaluation, C Spire partnered with

“Mimosa offered us an ideal solution for our 5G internet deployments,” said C Spire President Stephen Bye. “Not only are Mimosa products incredibly easy to deploy, they also offer the reliability and value we were looking for. We appreciate Mimosa’s leading-edge technology, industrial design and flexibility, enabling us to meet the requirements of both residential and business subscribers. “In addition to Mimosa’s innovative engineering and small form factor, the scalability and throughput of the products really impressed us,” Bye said. “We are providing customers with 120 Mbps internet access at a cost they love because of the densities we are able to achieve. This is all about extending our fiber network into more places faster and more places than we can bring fiber alone.” Bye said C Spire has been impressed with Mimosa’s vision, roadmap, direction and noted that both companies are collaborating on future technology solutions. In addition, Mimosa has been active in Washington, D.C. as a leader of the Broadband Access Coalition (BAC) and is continuing to work with the FCC to free up unused spectrum for fixed wireless initiatives. “We’re thrilled and honored to partner with C Spire on such an important technology initiative for the state of Mississippi,” said Mimosa CEO Brian Hinman. “Both companies share a desire to connect more people in Mississippi in the fastest time to market and at the lowest cost for deployment. With this initiative, C Spire subscribers can enjoy a high-speed internet experience at a fraction of the cost.”

C Spire Cloud Metro Edge service wins top cloud computing industry award The managed services unit for C Spire, a diversified telecommunications and technology services company, has won a national cloud computing industry award for expansion of its Cloud Metro Edge services across most of the Midwest and Southeastern regions of the U.S. C Spire was one of 21 cloud-based firms across the country honored by Cloud Computing Magazine and TMC for innovative, new cloud-based products and services that help businesses take advantage of the benefits of leading-edge IT technology and software-defined networks. One of TMC’s most coveted honors, the award recognizes and rewards innovative technologies and solutions that help improve cloud computing delivery and overall business communications. Award winners were judged based on their contributions to the improvement of the cloud computing ecosystem delivery and management. The award recognized C Spire’s major expansion of its Cloud Metro Edge, which will deploy micro pods to at least eight major U.S. cities and creates a cloud fabric that pushes hyper-speed, low latency resources closer to customers. C Spire expects to continue this expansion in 2019 and 2020. “We’re pleased to receive this honor and it shows that C Spire is dedicated to helping businesses get the best highspeed performance from on-premise equipment and cloud deployments of secondary applications tiered to costeffective regions,” said Nathan Slater, vice president of Cloud Services. Slater said the Cloud Metro Edge service and its companion Cloud Hybrid Link service are rapidly gaining popularity with several industry sectors, including financial institutions, health care providers, insurance companies and state government agencies.

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70 New Jobs Announced Vertex Aerospace was recently acquired by American Industrial Partners, which has named Vertex’s Madison, Miss., location as its new headquarters. The announcement marks a $1.42 million corporate investment and creates approximately 70 new jobs over the next two years. “Vertex Aerospace has long been known around the state, the U.S. and the world as an industry leader in the aerospace sector, supporting our military. The company’s decision to locate its headquarters in Madison and bring new jobs to Central Mississippi will positively benefit the company, as well as the region’s economy, for years to come,” Gov. Phil Bryant said. Vertex, a former subsidiary of L3 Technologies, is a leading provider of specialized aerospace sustainment and support services. The company is also recognized as a pioneer in the field of

contractor logistics support and aerospace services. The 70 new jobs will be front-office jobs associated with the Madison facility’s transition to a corporate headquarters location. “We are very pleased to name Madison, Mississippi as the new corporate headquarters of our global aerospace company,” said Vertex Aerospace President and CEO Ed Boyington. “Our company was originally founded here in Mississippi in 1975, and our desire is to continue to support our state’s economy providing highly skilled technical and professional jobs to keep our talent in Mississippi.” The Mississippi Development Authority is providing assistance for building improvements and workforce training. Madison County Economic Development Authority is the local sponsor for the incentives and will work with the company and Madison County for any additional tax assistance. “We are pleased to support Vertex Aerospace as the company locates its headquarters in our state, creating dozens of new career

opportunities for people in the Madison county area,” said MDA Executive Director Glenn McCullough, Jr. “The exciting announcement is the result of the teamwork of Madison County, the Madison County Economic Development Authority and MDA scoring another economic development win for Mississippi.” “Vertex Aerospace is a leading employer in Madison County and an integral part of Madison County’s diverse manufacturing base,” said Joseph P. Deason, Executive Director of the Madison County Economic Development Authority (MCEDA). “MCEDA is thrilled that the company has chosen to invest in our local economy again by adding 70 new jobs, and we are excited about their future.” With an annual revenue of $1.42 billion, Vertex Aerospace employs more than 4,200 workers throughout its 100 operating sites. The company’s Madison facility currently employs more than 340 workers with an additional 856 working throughout the state.

$11.5 Million Investment, 60 New Jobs Coming to Madison County The Madison County Economic Development Authority (MCEDA) announced this summer that Fastenal is locating in Madison County. Fastenal commits to invest approximately $11,500,000 and create more than 60 new jobs with an average annual wage of approximately $58,000, over the next 3 years. Fastenal is a leading industrial supply company that provides companies with fasteners, tools and supplies needed to manufacture products, build structures and maintain facilities and equipment. Their new 129,000-square-foot Madison County distribution center is the company’s 15th in North America and will be located off of Sowell Road in the Central Mississippi Industrial Center.   The Mississippi Development Authority is providing assistance for site preparation and infrastructure improvements. The Madison County Economic Development Authority is providing assistance for public infrastructure improvements. “Enough cannot be said about our local partners,” said Joseph P. Deason, Executive Director of MCEDA.  “Our local team, including the Madison County Board of Supervisors, the Madison County School Board, and MCEDA staff, attorneys and engineers, worked together with Fastenal and the Mississippi Development Authority to make the site location and 16th section land acquisition process seamless.”  With $4.4 Billion in net sales in 2017, Fastenal proudly offers a wide range of quality products and services.   Construction of the distribution center will begin this fall and is expected to be complete by the end of 2019.



Entergy Mississippi, Inc. to Return Millions in Tax Savings to Customers Entergy Mississippi customers will see more than $300 million in benefits under a plan approved by the Mississippi Public Service Commission that took effect July 1.

Entergy Mississippi, Inc. Opens $20-Million Distribution Operations Center The ‘brain of the electric grid’ marks another milestone in building the utility of the future HIGH-TECH, HIGH-SECURITY AND STATE-OF-THE-ART Entergy’s electric operators helped design the new nerve center, shaping the work stations and technology that they will use to control the grid every day:

In time for the height of hurricane season, Entergy Mississippi has opened its $20-million South Street building. The renovated property houses its hightech, high-security electric distribution operations center. This marks a significant milestone in the company’s effort to modernize the grid and build the utility of the future.

• The two-story building has redundant data and power feeds to further enhance Entergy’s disaster resiliency.

THE BRAIN OF THE ELECTRIC GRID The 35,000-square-foot DOC manages thousands of miles of electric lines that serve more than 449,000 Mississippians. The state-of-the-art facility is the ‘brain’ of the electric grid. “This is Entergy Mississippi’s hub for reliability, resiliency and stability in our distribution grid,” said Haley Fisackerly, Entergy Mississippi president and CEO. “It’s designed to communicate with the entire grid. For example, once customers’ automated meters are in place, we’ll know the lights are out before a customer calls.”

• The DOC can shift operations to its sister companies if the company needs support after a major storm or other natural disaster. • Operators’ desks light up in various colors, visually alerting operators to emergencies or high priorities. • Desks raise or lower automatically—a handy ergonomic feature for employees who work 12-hour shifts. • A training room includes a simulator that can mimic real life storm scenarios. • The building also houses the company’s war room, which is a command center for major restoration efforts. Other departments in the building include customer service, safety, engineering and more.

COMMITMENT TO THE CAPITAL CITY Located in downtown Jackson, the investment underscores the company’s commitment to the capital city. Entergy bought the property in the 1980s from Irby Co. When considering options for replacing the old DOC on Tombigbee Street, the company committed to the South Street property’s renovation. Originally built as a warehouse, the new building still has some of the original architectural features. It houses some 74 employees and can house 150 workers supporting a major storm restoration. “In the past three years, we’ve spent $1 billion to strengthen and modernize the grid,” said Fisackerly. “This new DOC is one more way we’re able to better serve customers on blue sky days and after major storms.” Entergy Mississippi, Inc. provides electricity to approximately 449,000 customers in 45 counties. Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations.

“The plan, a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, will let us reduce future rates and provide prompt credits that will lower bills during the high-usage summer months,” said Haley Fisackerly, Entergy Mississippi president and CEO. “It also lets us avoid a rate increase that would have resulted from nearly $1 billion in improvements we’ve made to strengthen and modernize the grid for our customers during the past three years.” Under the plan, the typical residential customer bill for 1,000 kWh will drop more than $12 per month from July through September. Of that amount, $7.59 stems from tax reform. The remaining $5.05 is from a MPSC fuel order last January that was designed to reduce bills during the hot summer months. That portion will remain in effect through February 2019. This means that the current typical residential customer bill for 1,000 kWh will drop from $114.01 to $101.37 from July through September, and from the current $114.01 to $109. 24 from October through February 2019. Bills are a combination of rates and usage. Customers who use more electricity than 1,000 kWh per month will see larger savings, while customers who use less than that will see lower savings. The Tax Cuts and Job Act reduced the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent.

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COMING SOON HORNE LLP ANNOUNCES NEW HEADQUARTERS LOCATION HORNE LLP announced this summer it has entered into an agreement with The Cress Group and Rogers & Associates for construction of a new firm headquarters building to be named after the firm. The three-story building will house 95,712 square feet with HORNE occupying 70,885 square feet, The Cress Group occupying 3,200 square feet leaving 21,000 available for lease on the first floor. The completion date is January 2020.   The building will be located on 6.24 acres on the corners of Interstate 55, Colony Park Boulevard and Sunnybrook Road. Dean and Dean Associates Architects will be the architects for the building with the general contractor being White Construction Company. Construction financing for the


building is through Trustmark National Bank. “With this move, we are positioned for the anticipated growth of our teams which means better service to our clients. The building itself will be a wonderful reflection of the innovation we value as a firm,” HORNE LLP Executive Partner Joe D. Havens said.   “The innovative design of the HORNE building is like no other in the Jackson Metro area. With a façade of low-e glass and metal panels, a cutting edge HVAC system along with LED lighting and control systems, the building will be extremely energy efficient. We are pleased to be working directly with HORNE LLP to complete the project creating their new and forward thinking interior work space,” says Vice-President of Dean and Dean Associates Architects, J. Alan Grant.   Co-Developer and Owner Gary

B. Cress says, “It has been a true pleasure working with such a professional organization as HORNE LLP to plan and now deliver their stunning firm headquarters. The Cress Group looks forward to a continued relationship with HORNE in the years ahead.” “We are extremely pleased that HORNE LLP selected us to build and own their new headquarters building. The combination of the innovative design, striking visibility from I-55, and very efficient systems will place the building among the very top in the region,” says Co-Developer and Owner Steven G. Rogers.   Ridgeland Mayor Gene F. McGee, CMO, expresses, “It’s with much excitement that we break ground on the HORNE Building. This development is of the highest quality and I wish to thank the developers and HORNE LLP for choosing this great location in Ridgeland.”



Development on the second phase of Renaissance at Colony Park is currently under way and by summer 2019 plans are to have a six-screen boutique movie theatre and one-of-a-kind show fountain open.

deliver customized shows that transform the central gathering place of this center into a hub of entertainment.”

According to OTL, the fountain will feature 62 nozzles that can shoot water as high as 35 feet in the air. In addition, there will be over 200 color-changing LED lights. The central fountain jet Outside the Lines (OTL) has been commissioned by develop- will be able to shoot water up to 100 feet in the air, making it ers to create a show fountain visible from Interstate 55. to serve as the focal point of Phase II. “The visibility and prominence of this fountain will J. Wickham Zimmerman, attract guests from miles CEO of OTL, said this will be away, resulting in a landmark the first show fountain of this that drives continual interest magnitude in the state of Mississippi and will honor the state among shoppers and guests,” Zimmerman said. with its design. “It is inspired by the interwoven S’s that appear in the State of Mississippi’s logo,” Zimmerman said. “Equipped with cutting-edge audio, lighting and effects, the fountain will

The fountain will also include built-in speakers, subwoofers and amplifiers so the fountain can be choreographed to music depending on season or event.

Construction has already begun on the six-screen Malco Theatre that will serve as the anchor for the second phase of Renaissance. It is scheduled to open next summer. Approximately 25,000 square feet, the theatre’s auditoriums will feature all luxury recliners with reserved seating. Guests will have the option of ordering food from a grill, as well as a full bar with beer, wine and cocktails. “Malco is very excited about bringing a state-of-the-art cinema to the Ridgeland community. The end product will be something the community will be very proud to have and enjoy for many years to come”, Jimmy Tashie, executive VP of Theatre Operations for Malco, said.   “Our emphasis has always been on quality and we have always stressed the importance of stay-

ing ‘’ahead of the curve’’ in sight and sound technology,” he continued. “Our family has been in this business for over 100 years, and we’ve always embraced any new idea that enhances the moviegoing experience for our patrons. We believe these new amenities will add to the already fun and exciting experience of going out to the movies.’’ Andrew Mattiace, co-owner and developer of Renaissance at Colony Park, said the new theatre is an excellent addition to the property. “It will truly enrich the entertainment component of the Renaissance experience”, he said.

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ANTON — When Nissan came to town a decade and a half ago, they dug deep in an open field between I-55 and the railroad south of town and have been sowing dreams for thousands of Mississippians ever since. One of the first things Nissan asked about was the Yazoo clay, a geologic formation running through the central part of the state that contains a type of clay known as montmorillonite, making it a poor foundation


material because moisture causes extreme changes in volume. John Wallace, then-general manager of Canton Municipal Utilities, is considered the architect of Nissan since he was the longtime head of the Madison County Economic Development Authority (MCEDA) and central to local negotiations. Nissan’s first incarnation included a 2.8-million-square-foot assembly plant lo-

cated on more than 1,000 acres with the ability to produce 250,000 vehicles. Another 800,000-square-foot expansion brought the ability to add another 151,000 vehicles per year in production. The plant now produces the Nissan Altima, Frontier, TITAN and TITAN XD, Murano and NV Cargo and Passenger Vans. Nissan Canton has an annual production capacity of 450,000 vehicles.

Photos courtesy of Nissan


“During that particular time I was able to be involved with all of the meetings pertaining to enticing Nissan to locate here,” the nowretired Wallace recalls. “That gave me insight into what was necessary for them to locate.” A decade or so earlier, Wallace had walked in a hay field at Gluckstadt along the railroad and was able to entice Levi Strauss to build a distribution facility by running water and sewer down from Canton.

Nissan first came looking in July 2000 and made their decision later in the fall. Many of the principles involved locally were sworn to secrecy. Nissan representatives came in one day and presented a big ownership map, saying they needed options on the land in two weeks. “This was a very fast decision on their part,” he says. “It involved a lot of commitments on behalf of the state and the county.”

In that two-week period, they ended up with $240,000 in options without any commitments. “That was a very challenging time to get the options done, but we did, and they were happy with them.” Wallace says that Carlos Ghosn, the chief executive of Renault, which owns 43 percent of Nissan, was the former head of Michelin Tires, which initially had looked at the Nissan site for a plant of its own.

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COVER STORY “He asked about the Yazoo clay,” Wallace says laughingly. “He was well aware of this particular site even before he came to visit.” CMU was responsible for building the water, gas and sewer infrastructure for the plant and Wallace says that investment was $32 million. Entergy Mississippi built the electricity infrastructure. The Nissan sewer line, in turn, opened up large residential development west of I-55. “Nissan is really a tremendous corporate citizen, and it’s getting more involved all the time in the central Mississippi community,” Wallace adds. Four million vehicles have rolled out of the plant, more than 6,400 jobs were created along with 25,000 more across the state from direct and indirect “planting” on that Canton acreage. The plant generates more than $300 million in local and state tax revenue and $2.6 billion a year in disposable income. In coming to the Magnolia State, the Nissan plant has added $2.9 billion to the annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Nissan invested $3.4 billion in the plant initially and has contributed more than $15 million to local charities. But back before the reality of it all, Jay Moon, the former deputy director of the Mississippi Development Authority, led the team that eventually showed Nissan enough benefits of coming south. That decision opened the floodgates for even more manufacturers to plant themselves in Mississippi including Toyota, Airbus Helicopters, Steel Dynamics, PACCAR, Yokohama Tire and Continental Tire. “Nissan has been an outstanding partner and corporate citizen since beginning production,” Gov. Phil Bryant says. “Time and again the company has shown its faith in our workforce, by expanding its presence in our state. I am thankful to Nissan leadership for its commitment to Mississippi and wish the company many more years of success here.” Businesses that previously had no automotive connections have been able to create partnerships with the automaker and learn how to meet their supplier needs. Job creation outside of the plant soared as well. As a result of Nissan, Mississippi got workforce training and education reform which overall has dramatically benefitted manufacturing.

EMPLOYEE SPOTLIGHT Ayanna Lynn likes to build things. Following around her grandfather and father as contractors in the Delta, she was introduced to hard work and creativity. Her hard work on the basketball court at Gentry High School got her a community college scholarship and later a “full ride” to Jackson State University where she made the most of her educational opportunity. Along the way, Ayanna and her family would pass through Canton where something big was being built. “I grew up building things and I didn’t want to leave Mississippi,” Lynn said. “I did want a job that offered good money and good benefits – somewhere I could see

myself retiring from. I didn’t want to be a job hopper. Nissan was a dream of mine.”

while working at Nissan. And the 24-year-old keeps her basketball dreams alive as she put She set her sights on together a basketball becoming a “point camp in her homeguard” for Nissan town of Indianola and hopefully leading this past June. Lynn to a championship sponsored the camp caliber career. all on her own. Lynn got in the plant as a temporary employee as a technician in the body shop. She was hired permanently and continues to work her way up. “You get opportunities around the plant,” she said. “You are never bored here. There’s always something to do. With three shifts running at the plant you can come in late at night and get ahead on your job.” In addition to the regular job benefits, Lynn took full advantage of the educational ones as well. She was able to attain her master’s degree

because of the family atmosphere, we are all able to take criticism well and be able to improve. The reason why I’m able to move up and do well is from their support.”

Lynn works on a sixperson team where she is the “coach and “We made it free for point guard” of the everyone to attend unit. She works to and we were able to be inspired and not give them t-shirts and become complacent. each participant got a basketball,” she said. “One thing is I’m al“I plan to do this ev- ways looking for the ery year. I had some next level of responsiof my former coaches bility,” she said, “I go and teammates come to my manager and out and help as well.” my senior manager and ask for them of She knows the optheir responsibilities, portunities afforded so I can improve and her at Nissan help move up. I’m always her bless others. The looking at the next “family” atmosphere big thing to do.” at the plant leads Lynn knows that to more and more Nissan is full of opimprovement while on the job according portunities that she will continue to seek to Lynn. out. The point guard “I ask my superviand coach may soon sors all of the time add even more titles what can I improve to her resume. on?” she said. “And

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EMPLOYEE SPOTLIGHT Brad Montgomery was living his dream. After a successful college baseball career at the University of Southern Mississippi, he went onto to Division II baseball powerhouse Delta State University as a graduate assistant as he worked on his Master’s. But in 2003, Nissan was opening and an opportunity was in the batter’s box. He was just


nine hours short of attaining his master’s degree. “My fiancé called me and said she had just accepted a job as an accountant in Jackson,” Montgomery said. “Shortly after, Nissan announced they are coming and I thought I going to put in for this and see what happens.” That opportunity turned into a single and not a strikeout and Montgomery left one playing field for the

assembly field. He’s been getting plenty of RBIs ever since with no regrets. “Deep down I didn’t really want to teach and coach. My brother does it but he works 15 to 17 hours a day. I wanted to work a job but also be able to go home and spend time with my family,” Montgomery said. “Nissan called and I’m truly blessed and I love it. I think this is truly what I was meant to be and do. It’s better for my family.”


Montgomery began his Nissan career as a breaker operator in the stamping department. Since then he’s moved into body shop working with floors. He was a Lead Tech position and now works in Quality as an analyst. Though still short the nine hours for his Master’s, Montgomery may still take up Nissan on its educational benefit and complete it. “I should have already done that but I’ve been moving up here and have two children. I may

take them up on that,” Montgomery. “I love being a dad but my kids have multiple things going on literally five days one week than six days the next. I barely have enough time to make sure they get their homework, take a bath and eat supper.”
 But Montgomery does have three Nissan vehicles and great benefits that provide security for his family. “We are branded for life, that’s for sure,” Montgomery said.

Leaving the playing field for the assembly field – no regrets. “People ask me all the time why don’t you want to get back into it or use your degree?” Montgomery said. “Money doesn’t mean everything but it also helps you in life. I’ve made more money at Nissan than I would have in educations. As a whole, Nissan has been way, way out of my expectations. They’ve been very good to me and I’m very grateful.”

The Mississippi Comprehensive Workforce Training and Education Consolidation Act of 2004 under Gov. Haley Barbour’s administration merged the State Workforce Development Council, which oversees state workforce dollars, with the State Workforce Investment Board, which oversees federal workforce dollars. The new State Workforce Investment Board is now appointed by the governor, speaker of the House and lieutenant governor and coordinates both state and federal workforce dollars. The legislation gives more of the franchise in workforce development and training to community colleges, which have a proven record of performance in workforce training. Federal workforce dollars in Mississippi previously went to one of six workforce training areas in the state. Gov. Barbour’s legislation also streamlined workforce development. The programs of the Mississippi Employment Security Commission were transferred to the executive branch allowing greater coordination and utilization of funds for workforce training and development. That reorganized agency is now called the Mississippi Department of Employment Security. Canton Mayor Dr. William Truly notes, “We have more people working who live here and are actually from Canton and working at Nissan. That has helped our tax base.” When Nissan came, so did the general public looking for work. More than 100,000 applications were submitted for employment, each one seeking to be part of the opportunity Nissan was cultivating. Even during the recession of 2009 to 2010, Nissan held onto their employees, moving some off the line without a pay cut. The facility doesn’t just build vehicles but takes care of its workers with an onsite pharmacy, fitness center, playground and a no-down-payment/no credit check car leasing program. Programs such as a breast milk shipping program where Nissan covers all expense of shipping nursing mothers’ breast milk home when they are traveling for business. The plant also offers nursing moms a mother’s room for pumping as well as “Welcome Back” kits for new parents

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what we do to this day. After work, you go work out. Your body needs it,” she said. Nissan has afforded her benefits beyond medical and retirement. She took part in the educational benefits and headed back to school (after working and working out) to get her associates degree. EMPLOYEE SPOTLIGHT Robian Rose had career dreams of becoming a mechanic, but her father steered her toward nursing.

fit. The first day was hard, and while she and her fellow trainees searched the dollar store for rubbing alcohol for their aching bones, her trainers were hitting the gym.

The sight of blood did her in, but her dream job came around again “It was something out of a storybook. The thanks to Nissan. people were so nice, and they took us in A decade and a half later after being hired and became lifelong as the 519th employee, friends, but it was hard work,” she said. Rose is still working her way up and enjoying every minute of it. “They told us ‘you’ll be hurting but stick with it.’ We stopped and “Who would have bought bottles and thought that years bottles and bottles of later, here I am in a alcohol to soak in, but company that builds cars and I’m loving it,” they were used to it,” Rose said. “I was work- she said. ing at an engineering company and saw the Rose noted that it was almost impossible ad in the paper and for her to lift her own applied,” she said. body to soak in hot water, she couldn’t “Nissan told us you imagine going to work had to go through out after actually training but not to quit your regular job working all day. as training didn’t mean you had a job.” “They said it’s the only way to keep up. You have to keep your body She headed to Tennessee to learn the job in motion. Here we are 15 years later, that’s and see if she was a


person between the plant and the dealership and customers. She has the final check before the vehicles are loaded to go to dealerships. She still has goals to keep moving up in Nissan.

“I have a lot I want to give back,” she said. “If I can get to the training center and give back all of the 15 years I have to new “That way you can employees, that would move up with the com- be a dream come pany,” she said. “When true.” I started, I was so excited, and I didn’t want The best part of her to just be on the line. Nissan career so far is I wanted to soak up coaching the superviand learn everything, sors. and I was like a kid in a candy store. When “I love knowing the the opportunity came people that are coming with the next product, in will be supported I learned that.” like they need to be supported,” she said. She moved from the frame line to the van As a grandmother, line and then the Rose enjoys her offAltima line. Rose time and is working to continued to challenge provide each member herself and learn more of her family a bike, and more and has kept so they can all ride moving up. One year together. the plant had the goal of putting in 10 differ- “Nissan has been a ent automobile lines. true blessing. I don’t She and her co-workers think a lot of the accepted the challenge things that have hapand met the goal. pened to me wouldn’t have happened. I “When you get some- met my husband at body excited and let Nissan,” she said. them buy into your “Our motto was, ‘I’m plan and your vision so excited to be at and your ideals – we Nissan’ and I’m still were ready to go, and after almost 16 years we launched all of later – excited to be at those vehicles in that Nissan.” year,” she said. Employee #519, happy Rose has worked her and still dreaming way through the plant and blessing others and is now the final because of Nissan.

and provides them flexible work schedules. Caring for their employees and their families shines through, and families reciprocate as more than 10,000 guests have been on the grounds the past two years during the annual Family Day Celebration. The work opportunities at the Nissan plant have been spread out over a workforce that is 70 percent diverse – the national average is a mere 25 percent – and has 46 percent minority managers. Nissan was recognized and named one of Diversity Inc’s Top 25 Noteworthy Companies for 2016. The Canton Culture Committee celebrates diversity and culture in many different ways – ethnic history celebrations, guest speakers, health fairs, ethnic cuisine specials and charity walks and fundraising drives for philanthropic organizations. Historically black colleges and universities have also received support from Nissan

COVER STORY with a $250,000 investment annually into seven Mississippi HBCUs. The money goes to support science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs on each campus. Overall, Nissan has invested more than $2 million in local HBCUs since 2003. The donations were sent to Alcorn State University, Coahoma Community College, Hinds Community College – Utica Campus, Jackson State University, Mississippi Valley State University, Rust College and Tougaloo College. They also helped 39 Canton area school teachers with hands-on training with SAE International award-winning “A World in Motion” program. The event took place in November of 2017 For every job created at Nissan, nearly three more are created at businesses across the state. The median income for families in Mississippi is now the highest in Madison County — $75,673 in 2016. The county also has one of the lowest unemployment rates at 3.7 percent. These are better than the National Aver-

ages as well. This has led Madison County to become one of the fastest-growing areas in the Magnolia State as well. Since, 2003, more than 13,000 new housing units have been built, and 30,000 residents have moved into the county. This has brought about new parks and recreational facilities as well. The workers have won numerous J.D. Power Initial Quality Study – the industry benchmark for new vehicle quality. Over their 15 years in Madison County, Nissan has invested in and become part of the local landscape – more than just an assembly plant. With more than $15 million in charitable contributions given, Nissan has shown that it cares for what happens outside the assembly plant doors as much as inside. The plant supports more than 200 organizations that serve the surrounding area including Habitat for Humanity, Mississippi Food Network, Community Stewpot, Our Daily Bread, United Way, area school dis-

tricts and colleges, Boys and Girls Clubs, 100 Black Men, Mississippi Children’s Museum, Mission Mississippi, the Natural Science Museum and the Nature Conservancy. Plant employees give not only of their pay but their time as well, helping to build Habitat for Humanity homes in the area. And when they aren’t digging into their wallets or sweating over a house foundation, they are helping give life to many through blood drives. Since 2003, Nissan employees have donated more than 20,000 units of blood – one of the largest blood donor groups in the state. As a major manufacturer, Nissan has taken steps to identify the direct and indirect impacts of the plant on the environment. To become more efficient, the plant switched to LED lighting, taught energy management to employees, and this has led to the plant being awarded ENERGY STAR certification for 12 years in a row. They’ve also taken that knowledge to area schools to help them become ENERGY STAR certified as well.

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COVER STORY People, fundraising and, yes, automobiles – Nissan has provided and continues to provide all sorts of aid to local charities.

through multiple directors. “They have been instrumental in financially supporting us, so we can continue to grow our programs,” Robinson said.

Our Daily Bread and MadCAAP are just two such recipients of people, money and even a van.

“With them being seeded right here in Madison County they can clearly see large pockets of poverty in the north part of the county. They are very compassionate about helping us.”

Shavetta Leflore, executive director of Our Daily Bread Ministries, and Karen Robison, executive director of MadCAAP, are both grateful for the automobile manufacturer and its presence in Madison County. MadCAAP stands for Madison Countians Allied Against Poverty. Our Daily Bread is a charity that grew out of the Stewpot Community Services of Jackson. Both 501C3 organizations are located in Canton. MadCAAP has been “feeding the poor since 1985,” according to Robison. They have a food pantry, a clothing closet and a community garden that grows fresh vegetables for the pantry. “We also have a very large education program, and all of those are designed to help alleviate the effects of poverty,” Robison said. “We do everything from English as a second language, to computers to literacy – learning how to read and a plethora of topics.” Nissan has been helping both agencies for more than a decade


Nissan employees have “sent workers over” and held their own food drives and coat drives and toy drives to benefit MadCAAP. “They are just a great community partner and are very grounded in the area in which they work. They get out and serve, and they are a great asset to have,” Robison said. At Our Daily Bread, Leflore has been happy to have Nissan as a partner in helping feed Madison County. Since 2002, Our Daily Bread has provided a noon meal to lowincome families, senior citizens, disabled, and homeless individuals in Madison County, most of whom are in the Canton area. They also deliver 109 meals a day to homebound residents who are elderly and/or disabled with the “Delivered Meals Program.” “We have a special relationship with Nissan. They have been a partner for over 10 years, and

we highly and greatly depend on Nissan,” Leflore said.

and news stations set up, but that was nothing new.”

“They support our fundraisers and the ministry through feeding the clients. If it were not for Nissan and the other businesses and churches, there would be no Our Daily Bread.”

Nissan put her in a special seat, but she still had no idea what was happening.

Our Daily Bread moved into a permanent home and building at 313 West Franklin Street in Canton in 2017. The non-profit had moved several times over the past decade to serve those in need. In addition to sending employees out to help serve meals and collect food and toys through special drives, Nissan helped meet a tremendous need that the Our Daily Bread organization had – a vehicle. Leflore and her staff had been relying on a 2005 Ford Van that was beginning to cost more in repairs than it was worth. Unbeknownst to her, Leflore was invited to attend a special ceremony to commemorate the four millionth vehicle coming off the assembly line. She thought she was just there to be part of the crowd. But she drove away with a 2018 NV Van. “They didn’t elaborate on what the event was. I got there and mingled with everyone,” Leflore said. “They said we were going on an assembly tour and we get on the van and talking to other business partners. There are cameras

“It’s still not ringing a bell, and they are talking about accomplishments, and I’m excited about the 2018 NV Van. They thanked people and asked me to come on stage, but it still hasn’t rung a bell.” Leflore quickly fashioned a speech in her mind, and when I got up there, he said they were presenting this four millionth vehicle – the 2018 NV Van – to me. “I literally wanted to cry, but I couldn’t cry in front of the cameras. He said ‘Shavetta, did you hear me?’ And I said, ‘I hear you, but I don’t think I understood you.’ And he said, ‘This is your van.’ That alone shows us just how involved Nissan is in the local area. They pay attention to what your organization is doing.” Nissan, building cars for America and helping take care of the needy by partnering with local outreaches and charities throughout Madison County. For more information, visit ourdailybreadms.org or madcaap.org.

COVER STORY In 2003, David Boyer headed up the plant and this past summer, Nissan named a new vice president for the Canton Vehicle Assembly plant. Incoming vice president Philip Calhoun will take the reins of the manufacturing facility on Sept 1. Calhoun has been at the plant since October 2017 and has more than 25 years of experience in the automotive industry. Calhoun takes over for Steve Marsh, the VP since 2015, who returns to the United Kingdom to take over as VP of operation. “Our success during the past 15 years is the result of having a great team,” Calhoun says. “The dedication, passion  and  commitment to excellence  of our employees have brought us here, and we’re grateful for all of their contributions.  Thank you  to our employees, our community and our state for 15 years of building our future—and we look forward to the next chapter in our Mississippi story.”

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As the baker of Pirouline rolled wafers, the DeBeukelaer Corporation traces back 150 years of heritage, knowledge, and skill to Belgium. Now operating out of Madison, MS, our bakers still follow the same critical standards and traditions of our forefathers. With all that history behind the name, when we put DeBeukelaer on the package we promise it will be delicious and consistent every time. 1860 Founded 1st Biscuit and Wafer company in Belgium 1885 Recognized at World Fair in Antwerp 1888 Started the DeBeukelaer Baking School 1978 The Pirouline Swirl becomes a licensed trademark of DBC Corporation 1984 Peter moves family to America to share his Heritage and begins producing Pirouline® 1989 Crème de Pirouline innovation introduced 2007 DBC opens state of the art production facility 2008 100 calorie Crème de Pirouline Launched 2009 Launched 3.25 oz tin of Crème de Pirouline 2010 4th generation baker joins the company.



Belgian tradition made its home in Madison and now Pirouline is expanding by adding its own tin can manufacturing. Previously, the tins the tasteful treats come in were shipped in from the Northeast. With the addition of the tin can manufacturing, the company will reduce its carbon footprint while expanding its Madison one. Owner Peter DeBeukelaer explained the recent expansion. “We bake the Pirouline Wafers and we are planning a tin can manufacturing in the neighborhood of the cookie bakery,” DeBeukelaer said. “Normally, we buy those tin cans from two to three manufacturing plants. When we produce them locally, we will reduce our carbon footprint. When we make them here we save the cost of gas to drive them here and we have inventory control as we can make them as we need the product.” The company moved to Madison in 1984 and employs approximately 200 people. The tin can operation will add three more employees to the company with two technicians and an additional employee. The cans actually come in pre-printed sheets of metal that are then formed into tin cans at the plant. “We cut those metal sheets into smaller plates and we roll and weld and seal the bottom,” he said. “We are planning to make five to seven million tin cans the first year. We have a fairly automated plant to do that.” The plant is already built and is 4,000 square feet and has had some small production runs to gear up for the major production. DeBeukelaer noted the bakery makes “millions of wafers a day” and they are exported to 33 countries across the world. “We are the only Pirouline factory with the technology I invented 40 years ago,” DeBeukelaer said. “We have some stiff competition from Indonesia with Pepperidge Farms but we are doing well. The idea is to have more vertical integration and take out the warehousing and transporting that add to the costs and is not beneficial to the consumer. The better and more efficient we can make our products, the better for the consumer.” With its fourth-generation baker in-house and now creating its own tin cans, Pirouline continues to build on its success in Madison.



Nearly $400 million of Mississippi’s 2017 General Fund was attributed to travel and tourism. A dive into the Madison County statistics shows that visitors brought in over $236 million. There were 3,040 direct travel and tourism jobs in 2017 – an increase from 3,000 in 2016 and 2,000 in 2015. Nearly $19 million was collected in state/local taxes and fees connected to travel and tourism. The Ridgeland Tourism Commission is funded solely by a one-percent local hotel occupancy tax and one-percent food and beverage tax. There’s $359,820 gross room tax revenue and $1,305,119 in gross restaurant tax revenue,” according to Ridgeland Tourism Director Chris Chapman. That is a nine-tenths of a percent increase in tax revenue from 2016 to 2017. And the current numbers are still trending upward, according to Chapman. “Our budget is allocated with 58 percent for marketing, advertising and event support, 34 percent for personnel and 15 percent for administration,” he said. “Ridgeland spends 15 percent more than the national average percentage on marketing/advertising/ event support.” Hotel rooms have multiplied with16 hotels with Tru Hotel and Holiday Inn Express set to open in the summer 2019 with 98 and

110 more rooms respectively. Canton has nine hotels with 444 rooms and Madison has one hotel with 134 rooms, with another under construction. This has been perhaps the most successful year in the 20-year history of Ridgeland Tourism Commission, Chapman said. “Ridgeland is well-known in the state as a shopping destination, a cyclist’s haven and home to the Mississippi Craft Center. Within the city is a National Park, a 33,000acre reservoir, miles of multi-purpose trails and a variety of annual events.” Ridgeland’s Art, Wine and Wheels Weekend expanded the Ridgeland Fine Arts Festival to include a wine festival, tandem cycling and a 5k event (Run Now Wine Later.) In 2017, this event saw in one day the total attendance of the previous year’s full weekend. Attendance fell in 2018 due to extreme weather conditions. RTC supports numerous outdoor events and tournaments with the City of Ridgeland Recreation and Parks Department and partners/stakeholders to grow the recreational tourism market. These events include Natchez Trace Century Ride, Heatwave Classic, Ridgeland Cyclocross Festival, Fondo Cycling Circuit USA, Fat Tire Festival, and many softball, soccer, tennis, and fishing events. For more information, go to visitridgeland.com


(Ridgeland Fine Arts Festival, Sante South Wine Festival, Run Now Wine Later 5K, OBO Tandem Rally) – approximately 12,000 attendance SPORTS TOURNAMENTS (tennis, fishing, softball, soccer) – 10,00015,000 attendance RENAISSANCE EURO FEST AUTOMOBILE AND MOTORCYCLE SHOW – 5,000-9,000 attendance


Balloon Glow & Independence Celebration on the Rez) – 5,00010,000 attendance PEPSI POPS – 2,500 attendance


800 attendance


379,600 annually

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Photos by Michael Simmons


Barney Daly, Trustmark Bank


Community banking is strong in the Jackson metro, figures show, especially in Madison County. Commercial, industrial, real estate, consumer and agricultural lending showed healthy increases, while residential real estate and multifamily residential lending were down statewide since last year. The end result has yielded a healthier, stronger system absorbing lessons of the recent housing crisis, analysts say. The 40-year trend of financial sector consolidation continues in Mississippi consistent with the rest of the United States. Total institutions fell from 77 to 73, while deposits are up over $3 billion, according to the FDIC’s latest quarterly report. As the state economy continues to improve with GDP growth near 1 percent and employment numbers up, businesses are having the confidence to expand and hire and that means borrowing money or using more banking services as disruptive innovation continues to


be addressed within the industry. Brad Gatlin, President of BankPlus Madison County and Barney Daly, president at Trustmark Madison County, both have been keeping a close eye on trends, regulations and technology. “Basically, banking is doing fine,” Trustmark’s Daly said. “Balance sheets have been healthy and have been getting healthy since when the ‘world came to an end in 2004 or 2005’ – the last several years, banks have been able to build up their balance sheets and get healthy.” Competition within the industry has been robust as deposit rates have increased, according to BankPlus’ Gatlin. The Federal Reserve’s Quantitative Easing program ended October 2017 and interest rates have been on a steady rise upwards as the Fed unwinds nearly $4.5 trillion in toxic assets it purchased from the financial system during the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

Normalizing interest rates is great for depositors, but not for potential borrowers and the cost of money continues to climb. “Banking is really more competitive than it has ever been, Gatlin said. “Over the last decade, interest rates have been historically low.” “Now the Federal Reserve has raised rates multiple times in the last 18 months and that has created an environment where consumers are seeking higher deposit rates,” he said. “Consequently, this has created incredible competition for deposits among banks across the country.” Consumers are not looking just for rates, but for other services as well, including mobile banking apps and easier access to their own money through, say, peer to peer lending. “In Madison, where growth is higher than other parts of the state, the competition for loans has been fierce for many years and that is not changing,” Gatlin noted. Additionally, those non-traditional businesses — like peer-

to-peer lending and financial technology companies — are entering the banking space and taking away loans and deposits from community banks in every market in the U.S. “Fintech” has been the big buzzword for the banking industry for the last few years and continues to catch new investment and interest sector-wide. Financial technology is the merger of computer-based — particularly mobile technology — engineered to compete with traditional methods in the delivery of financial services. These advances reduce costs and increase access to data providing new financial services faster and more efficiently generating competition for traditional banks, especially among millennials. Oppressive federal regulations during the Obama administration slowed Main Street lending, but Congressional action has eased regulation, especially for community banks.

FEATURE “When Trump was elected all the banks’ stocks increased due to his talk about de-regulation,” Daly said. “While his administration has not cut regulations, there hasn’t been any new regulations for banks. The overall market is very good for banks.” Gatlin cited the Trump tax relief that has helped businesses, including banks. “Current economic policy and tax reform have helped all businesses, including banks. A part of any banks mission is to help the communities where it is located to thrive and grow,” Gatlin said. “When businesses have more money to spend with other businesses and people, this creates a domino-effect where spending creates more spending,” he said. “This increase in demand can create the need for expansion and that is where a bank, in turn, can help businesses grow. So, in an economy like we are experiencing now, banks are lending money to facilitate this growth and subsequently increasing the deposit base of the market.” With banks getting healthier, Daly wouldn’t be surprised to see more mergers as the net worth of banks increases with the improving economy. “In general, all banks are much stronger,” Daly said. “People have been able to accumulate cash; they haven’t had the need to borrow. All of this works in cycles, but banks are ready to lend and want to lend.” In a recent meeting with businesses that ran the gamut, from construction to banking, he and others noted the job market has tightened, and employers are having trouble finding help. “People have to pay more for these people to do these jobs. And that puts pressure on inflation, and the feds are watching that closely to keep the economy going in a straight-forward path,” Daly said. “Banking is healthy, and banks go with the economy. We are at record levels with everything in the economy and businesses are trying to grow.” Madison County banks have a balanced book of business and

aren’t too heavily invested in any one market, he said. “We’ve done a good job, and we’re always looking for loan growth. That’s why you see these small banks moving to the Jackson area and Memphis metro area and trying to grow that way.” The mortgage arm of the local banking business has been active as well. “Rates are still at historic lows, and that industry is doing fine,” Daly said. “Banks are trying to do more with less. One thing we’ve pushed on the retail side is ITMs where you have a person you are talking to on the screen, so they can do 90 percent of the transactions that a teller can do.”

Daly also noted that customers want “more technology” and “technology is the way to go. Banks fight overhead costs, so you try to do more with less and still give premier customer service. That’s the battle all banks fight.” J.D. Power, a global leader in consumer insights, advisory services, as well as data and analytics, recently recognized Trustmark Bank with their highest customer satisfaction score in the South Central Region outlined in their 2018 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study. BankPlus was once again named as one of the Best Banks to Work for since 2013. For five consecutive years, BankPlus has earned a spot on American Banker’s list of the

Best Banks to Work For in the US. Banks ranked by American Banker showcase unique employee benefits and strong cultures, making their employees feel engaged and valued.


18 institutions, 79 offices


19 institutions, 56 offices

RANKIN COUNTY $2,812,067

19 institutions, 60 offices Source FDIC

Brad Gatlin, BankPlus

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FEATURE member who is stuck in a foreign country and needs money to get home. Rhodus noted that this is “big money – I’ve seen a million dollars. They can be small but typically if you’re going to go wire, you’re going to go big and its business accounts. They use victims as a pass-through person, so they don’t get caught.” Rhodus warns people to not ever give out your social security number to anyone – even doctor’s offices and the like. Do not give anyone username and password to anyone. If you get a strange email from a business or bank, check the address that it came from to see if that is legitimate. A student loan scam involves having the students pass this information along as well as their debit card info.

BANKS CONTINUE TO FIGHT FRAUD By Mark Stowers More than $17 billion dollars in fraudulent transactions were stopped in 2016 – a six billion dollar increase from 2014. With banks constantly monitoring fraud to find patterns or trends or anything to help stop it, the problem continues to grow. It can begin with a simple phishing email – a fake email from what looks like an official bank. It may be a phone call or a check in the mail that doesn’t look quite right. Scammers are out to find any way into personal information and bank accounts. Amy Rhodus, Account Control Services Manager of BankPlus, spends her days working to keep her customer accounts safe from scammers. She is over the fraud department and the CIP – Customer Identification Program. Fraud is a huge problem for banks across the world.


“This happens every day – literally every day – multiple times – just for us,” Rhodus said. “I do mainly the check fraud side of it, even the wire side of it.”

students, people who want to fall in love – are the people who are taking these checks.”

Rhodus noted that in one day they will see $10,000 in fraudulent Fraudulent despite range from checks come through the bank. Anything that doesn’t sound $1,950 to $4,950. legitimate, more than likely isn’t. “Fraudsters for some reason like that One popular scam is to send a larger check than was needed range,” she said. “I don’t know why and are asked to send back the but that is there ‘go to’ range.” difference in iTunes gift cards or something similar. Checks that arrive in the mail, Craigslist connections, Facebook Marketplace and romance sites are “The fraudster goes and sells those on the black market,” she said. often rife with fraudsters. “There’s no way to track it.” “It’s been around for 100s of years Wire fraud has become an even and it’s not going away. The same exact thing I’m seeing today, I saw bigger problem with so much social media and Internet contact. 12 years ago when I started. It’s Facebook messages from accounts grown,” she said. “Technology is that have been hacked asking for always ahead of some of the elecmoney is one of the most popular. tronic stuff but paper fraud and Most pose as a friend or family vulnerable people – older people,

“I literally see one a day of those. Students are so electronic, they think that’s the way it is,” she said. “Students and the elderly are the main people I see that get taken advantage of in these scams.” She does spend time educating the general public. “I talked to the Rotary Club and I talked at a Community Development Seminar. We are trying to do more research,” she said. “No one does this.” With her career that began in the imaging department, Rhodus eventually made her way into the Fraud Division and found a home she loved. She’s now a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE). “If someone ever has a concern, bring it to the bank and we’ll check it out,” she said. “My goal is to educate. I want to present more. I take it very personally. When you have a 96-year-old woman who is taken for a lot, I take it personally.” Bank fraud – a growing problem that can only be combatted with common sense, education and asking questions about any suspicious items or situations that present themselves.

FEATURE With large businesses generating “impressive amounts of data every day,” the analysis of that data is a hot accounting trend according to Taylor.

Dustin Taylor, BKD

THE ACCOUNTING WORLD TRENDS, TECHNOLOGY AND ENTREPRENEURS By Mark Stowers In any industry, trends and technology are key to staying on the cutting edge and helping customers and clients as much as possible. Some of those customers include the world of entrepreneurs where accounting is a big need. The accounting industry relies on plenty of innovative technology and Madison area firms are staying abreast of the latest industry trends to better serve their clientele. Dustin W. Taylor, CPA and Senior Manager at BKD in Jackson, took a few moments to look at trends, technology and how to help entrepreneurs. “The largest trends we have seen over the past few years involve the utilization of automation and big data analytics,” Taylor said. “Automation saves us time on lower level tax and audit processes, which allows our professionals to focus more time on client service instead of having to devote time to the compliance aspects of a particular project.  This gives us the opportunity to be more proactive for large and small businesses, especially when looking for tax savings opportunities.”


“Most of which is hidden and unanalyzed. If handled correctly, the data can reveal trends and patterns within a business. This information can then be used to enhance their marketing strategy, develop competitive advantages, open up new revenue opportunities, reduce risk, and improve operational efficiency,” he said.   In any economy, entrepreneurs are “born” and are seeking opportunity amongst the challenges. Local accountants weighed in with some ideas and advice to help these upbeat new-age business owners who don’t follow the normal rules of business thinking. But there are “old school” foundational actions that are always needed and are quite useful to be successful financially.

With so many regulations in industries and a tax code that even experts can have a tough time traipsing through, it’s always a good idea to have a professional in your corner to keep that entrepreneurial spirit running high and prosperous. Taylor noted things for today’s’ entrepreneur to keep in sight. “Now is a great time for entrepreneurs with the uptick in the economy and the recently passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA),” Taylor said. “TCJA added a large number of taxpayer-friendly provisions to the tax code that entrepreneurs will be able to take advantage of in order to spend more cash on growing their business as opposed to using it to pay taxes.” To keep entrepreneurs focused on what they do best, hire someone to help in doing what they do best as well.   “Many entrepreneurs are skilled at generating sales or performing in their business,

but they may not always have a great grasp on the accounting side,” Taylor said. “In order to grow their business, they need to understand and stay on top of the businesses’ accounting.  This is where a skilled CPA comes into play.” Communication is key in that business partnership. “Once you have found an accountant to help you with your bookkeeping and/or compliance work, be sure to stay in constant contact with him or her. Don’t be afraid to ask questions so that you fully understand everything that is going on in your business, that’s why we are here,” Taylor said. Having an accountant can often free up an entrepreneur to focus on what he or she does best – finding creative solutions in a changing business climate and getting paid for it.



The U.S. economy is humming a decade after the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and wealth advisors in the metro offered their insights. “As the sun rose over our great Republic this morning, the second quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth numbers were reported at a 4.1 percent growth rate,” said Scot Thigpen, president and CEO of the Thigpen Group. “President Trump is his press conference stated that, ‘each point, by the way, means approximately $3 trillion and 10 million jobs.’ Both business and consumer spending and confidence is up.” He said that “these confidence levels are incredibly important.” Consumer spending makes up more than two-thirds of the GDP. Business investment has doubled since its $1.5 trillion recession low in 2009. Lower corporate and individual taxes, low unemployment, low inflation and low interest rates provide an economic environment that has produced positive economic growth, he said. “A combination of factors has contributed to the recovery at the national, regional and local levels. An aggressive policy response at the national level, including pushing interest rates down to the .25% level for a seven-year period.” The Federal Market Open Committee (FMOC) has re-

cently begun to reverse Quantitative Easing, which were largescale asset purchases intended to ease credit. The Federal Reserve has just recently begun to raise rates again. “While the pace of the recovery was slower than historical Post WWII normals, the U.S. economy has recovered from the financial crisis and is now in a stronger position than it was before the crisis,” he said.

“I was asked to compare today to late-2007, a few months before the U.S. stock indexes began a decline between 50 percent and 60 percent and led to the worst U.S. economic decline since 1929,” Ballew said. “In general, a larger and larger part of U.S. economic growth is funded with ever increasing debt. Interest rates have declined for 37 years from a peak of 15 percent on the 30-year Treasury to 2.16 percent in July 2016. They may decline fur“Much of the credit goes to a ther but the tailwind for stocks capitalist system that allows (falling interest rates) won’t be firms and people to adjust and repeated for a long time.” move forward,” Thigpen said. Ballew explained that debt “The Federal Reserve should has significantly increased also be given credit for provid- since 2007, not only by the ing consistently low interest government, but corporations rates,” he said. “Those low and citizens also. rates stemmed the risk of default, allowed balance sheets to “U.S. stock indexes are expenheal, and encouraged investors sive by historical measures,” to take risks. The combination Ballew explained. “When of the two provides the biggest considering investment choicpush to get our economy back es from the main categories on its feet.” of stocks, bonds and commodities, the only one that Factors that continue to help is cheap today (relatively and the economy strengthen are absolutely) is commodities. pro-growth policies, includMonetary policy over the last ing a major tax reform and nine years here and abroad deregulation. has failed to produce growth strong enough to service our The stock market so far has ever increasing debt. confidence in these policies and continues to march “Fiscal policy, on the other higher and create wealth. hand, can create jobs, tax “As businesses and individurevenue and implement the als continue to be confident, repair/replacement of our hiring and productivity will collapsing infrastructure,” he expand,” Thigpen said. continued. “Estimated costs for the U.S. to accomplish Matt Ballew formed Ballew these goals is $3 trillion. That Wealth Management in 1988 coupled with the highway/ and currently sits as Chairrailroad construction plans man of the Board. by China from Shanghai to

Scot Thigpen

Matt Ballew

Greece for $4.5 trillion equals increasing demand for industrial metals, materials and energy. When making investment decisions, shop for commodity beneficiaries and emerging markets – both are better priced than stocks or bonds in developed markets.” In Mississippi and more so Madison County, the economy has been lifted by several things, Thigpen said. From his conversations with business leaders in Madison County, the local recovery was attributed to a number of factors, including a pro-business environment, strong local leadership, a strong school district, great health care, low crime rates along with an influx of families moving into the county. Madison County’s assessed valuation rose again this year by 4.4 percent, to $1.76 billion. Unemployment remains low in Madison County at 4.1 percent. Mississippi’s unemployment rate was 4.7 percent.

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Photos by Amile Wilson



FEATURE Downtown Jackson Partners President and CEO Ben Allen has been a cheerleader of sorts since university and will continue cheering for Downtown Jackson even when he retires in September. Allen, one of Downtown’s biggest cheerleaders, is encouraged by the progress and believes in the future of Downtown Jackson despite the challenges. Some of the projects he had “cheered on” include a $20 million-dollar conversion of the former Federal Courthouse into a 50 residential unit and commercial space that’s in the planning stages, a $30 milliondollar Landmark Center that’s under construction and will include 180 apartments and office and retail space. There are several more under construction and in planning as well. Completed projects include the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and the Museum of Mississippi History for $74 million, the Westin Jackson – a $65 million-dollar project with nine-stories and 203 rooms and the nearly $87 milliondollar Dr. A.H. McCoy Federal Building project – a renovation of the 442,689 square foot building back in 2013. Back in 2010 there was the US Federal Courthouse project for $122 million, the $35 milliondollar Standard Life Building project and in 2009, the King Edward Hilton Garden Inn for $89 million and the Jackson Convention Complex for $65 million dollars. Allen noted his biggest accomplishments have been “Creating a partnership with Entergy, the Jackson Library System and the city to donate the land and build the ‘Willie Morris Library’ on Old Canton Road. Working with Hope Carter and Daphne Clark in the creation and construction of the ‘Hugh G. Ward Children’s Playground’ on Ridgewood Road. Stopping the proposed demolition of the King Edward during the Melton administration,” he said. “Also, procuring federal, city and state funding ($9.2MM) for the construction of the Capitol Street Renaissance project as a councilman and then as part of DJP.” The Vicksburg native first came to Jackson after graduating from Mississippi State University with a double major in business marketing and political science back in the early 1970s. His senior year, he was a cheerleader for the Bulldogs and he brought that

spirit to his professional life. He first joined the Army and then worked for Shell Oil in Birmingham but soon found his way home. “I was hanging out at the Cherokee one Sunday and I saw all of my friends and I decided to move back to Jackson,” Allen said. He didn’t have a job, though, so he started interviewing and landed with Ed Copeland in the school supply business. When Copeland passed away, Allen bought part of the business and opened three offices across the state. The company grew and had a staff of nearly 20 in the late 80s. “I ended up selling my territories and my licenses to the people that worked for me,” Allen said. “When I ended up selling the business some 15-20 years ago, I became bored.” His hunting buddy, Joe Lauderdale, was a Jackson city councilman and convinced him to run for city council. “I was so unengaged back then I didn’t know how many wards there were. I looked into it and I thought, ‘I’m going to give this a shot. It might be interesting.’ And that was back in 1997.” He ran three times and was elected three times before stepping down from the Jackson City Council in 2007. Economic development had piqued his interest the most while on the council. When the former president of the JDP moved on, Allen was asked to come on board. “I interviewed, got the job and was blessed and that was 2007,” he said. “The most interesting parts of the job are the brilliant, visionary people you meet. Not sounding cocky, but I used to think I was pretty smart. Well, I’ve been humbled with some of these people I’ve met. They are smart and know how to put things together. Downtown development is not like suburban development. It’s extremely complicated. You don’t have a big field out there where you can get a TIFF bond and redo everything. You have 100-year old pipes and everything else to deal with.” In his decade of service with the DJP, he is proud of creating the Safety Ambassadors. Downtown used to be patrolled by private security officers replete with guns. The officers never used their weapons and Allen devised a

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FEATURE plan with John Gomez (who will replace him as president and CEO) to put them in golf carts and patrol without weapons. “It’s safer than Madison. We don’t have any crime to speak of down here at all,” Allen said. “We hired safety ambassadors on scooters and Segways and we’ve been successful with it.” Allen has enjoyed his work over the past decade. When he began, the city was just hitting the recession, reeling from Hurricane Katrina, the suburbs were “stealing our customers.” “We were on the ropes – there was a 75 percent vacancy downtown. Nobody was living down here to speak of. But you fast forward 10 years and we’ve got 400 apartments built and another 400 on the books being built. We’ve got a grocery store coming and we’ve got almost 80 percent occupancy. When I remind people what downtown used to look like, they say, ‘you’re right. We didn’t have a convention center, we had all these empty buildings, Jackson State wasn’t down here, the Capital Arts Lofts were a dump. The other end of the street was awful. The accomplishment is a culmination of all that.” Allen and his staff spent plenty of time looking at other cities across the US to learn and see what works there and figuring out to bring the positive impacts back to downtown Jackson. “It’s happened everywhere else and it’s going to happen here,” he said. Betsy Bradley, director of the Mississippi Museum of Art, has worked with Allen and the JDP for the better part of a decade on the board and executive committee. “I don’t think you can underestimate the impact of Ben’s enthusiasm and passion for downtown,” Bradley said. “It’s really infectious and those of us working in businesses downtown his insistence that it continue to be and move into its potential as a beautiful, safe, creative place for people to work and live. He’s made a tremendous difference on how people perceive downtown Jackson.” When he retires, Allen has other business plans to jump into, but he’ll also be spending more time with his hunting, fishing and


golf buddies. He’s saving his prime time for his wife Susie and family, though. “I’ve got four grandchildren under four,” he said. “Both of my sons (Clayton and Matt) have two kids each.” His one year of cheering back in 1972 (the team went 4-7) was filled with plenty of great things. “I wish I would have done it earlier,” he said. “My cheer partner was Miss Mississippi. You go to every SEC stadium – LSU and Florida

FEATURE Field and I got to meet Bear Bryant leaning up against a goalpost at Denny Field.” Cheering on his friends, family, business and downtown Jackson, Ben Allen may be retiring, but he won’t stop cheering any time soon. Downtown Jackson Partners is funded through self-assessment by the property owners of the Downtown Jackson Business Improvement District to provide economic development, marketing, and clean and safe services beyond those provided by the City of Jackson. DJP staff and contractual ser-

vices make Downtown a better place every day through: • Safety & Maintenance • Marketing & Event Assistance • Business Recruiting • Real Estate Development Assistance According to their website, Downtown Jackson is the focus of more than just Downtown Jackson Partners. There are over 300 businesses, 400 apartment dwellers and numerous organizations that are

proud to call Downtown Jackson their home. Their energies and visions are implemented on a daily basis to help mold Downtown for the better of the community. The downtown area is constantly renewed and improved, so that it continues to be an asset to future generations. DJP is involved with many organizations that are focused on the betterment of the ever evolving Downtown. For more information, go to http://downtown-jackson.com.

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Photo courtesy of Abe Draper Photography





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Rachael Elmore




n the next 15 years, developers say Reunion, one of the premier neighborhoods in the state located on 2,100 acres off Highway 463 in Madison, will be fully developed. Leading that charge is homebuilders like Charlie Warriner and Jerry Hall of Castlerock Properties and Rachael Beard Elmore of Madison Construction Inc. Warriner and Hall have been in the homebuilding business for decades and both say Reunion has been their favorite place to build. “Reunion is our bread and butter,” Warriner says, noting they built one of the first homes in 2003 after the development began in 2001. “We’ve been told we built half the houses out there. We have believed in the project from the get-go.”

They both still have nightmares of the 2008 recession that all but stopped most developments. Not Reunion though, they say. Even though things slowed down, they continued to build.” “It lingered for a while,” Hall says. “John Smith couldn’t borrow money to build a house or buy a spec house. The construction loan part was hard for the builders.” Up until the recession, Hall says that 99 percent of their work was building spec houses, but now it’s a mixture of spec houses and custom-builds. Warriner says building a spec house means staying on top of the latest trends and wishlists to determine what buyers are looking for. “What we’re doing in Reunion is trying to get price

Charlie Warriner and Jerry Hall

FALL 2018 | 45

FEATURE points, different sizes,” he explains. “Let’s say we had 10, we’d stagger them out price-wise. We try to make them all a little different, with different floor plans. Hopefully, more people are going to like what you’re doing than those that don’t like it.” Hall says they plan to continue to build at Reunion until the neighborhood is fully-developed. “First of all, it’s the people that we deal with,” he says. “They’re very professional. I don’t know any other subdivision or development that has the amenities that Reunion has and that’s what people are looking for. “Every time they develop something they add more amenities,” he continued. “How many places do you know that have a $16 million clubhouse?” “It’s a safe investment because it’s so nice and there are so many amenities,” Rachael, who also lives in Reunion, says. “Reunion has walking trails, lakes, pools, a beach. It’s safe, it’s gated. There’s something for everyone.”


Rachael has been building houses for the last three years after switching from working highway construction with her husband, Robert Elmore, president of Eutaw Construction. She has built five houses to date and is currently working on a sixth. Three of those have been spec houses and the other three were custom builds. Rachael says in addition to the amenities at Reunion, the national economic climate has spurred growth over the last two years. “I think interest rates have helped,” she says. “I think people aren’t as afraid to spend money right now. It’s a better atmosphere for buyers — even contractors.” She credits Arthur Noble of Noble Properties as being her mentor and helping her along the way. She said she uses about 90 percent of the same subcontractors he introduced her to so she didn’t have to learn the hard way which subcontractors to avoid. Rachael says homebuilding continues to evolve, from the cost

of goods to trends and styles. “The biggest increase in cost is lumber, for sure,” she says. “Just one piece of plywood has gone from $52 to $60.” She stays on top of trends but tries to make her houses a little different than competitors. She takes that approach with different finishes, from countertops to lighting. Soon, she plans to incorporate antique doors from her mother’s Columbus antique and furniture store into her builds. “Just to try to make it a little different,” she says, adding it could be a pantry door or closet door. She says old Chicago brick and antique beams have been a big hit lately but she is steering away from those design elements. “I like more of a clean, sleek look,” she says. “Not really modern, but more transitional. “I try to just do everything differently and not the same.” Herman Dungan oversees lot sales and the building program

at Reunion. He says 2012 was the biggest drop in development but things are looking better than ever. “This year is the best year of the last six years,” he says. “We have 20 specs and eight custom homes under construction now. There are approximately 800 occupied homes.” He says there are currently 104 lots for sale with another 84 that will soon be developed. Reunion began in 2001 when local attorney David Nutt turned what was initially intended to be outdoor recreational property into what he envisioned as the best neighborhood in the southeast. The North Lake was built in 2001, then the South Lake, then the Country Club. This summer, a new $16 million Reunion Golf & Country Club opened on the property. “The ticket for Reunion has been the consistency with the vision that Mr. Nutt has had for this place,” Warriner adds.

FALL 2018 | 47



4500 I-55 Frontage Road (601) 982-8111 bravobuzz.com

Bravo! is an Italian restaurant located in Jackson’s Highland Village that is the perfect place to meet for lunch or dinner. Classic Italian recipes, such as angel hair pasta and tortellini, can be found alongside grilled octopus and duck breast. This restaurant also has bragging rights to 20-plus years of Wine Spectator magazine awards, awarded due to the quality of their wine options. Recently remodeled, the décor reflects Bravo!’s particular method of classy but casual.


1000 Highland Colony Parkway (601) 957-3753 koestlerprime.com

The newest addition to Renaissance at Colony Park, Koestler Prime has a storied history in the Metro. Scott Koestler has been serving up some of the finest dishes in the area since 1998. His special brand of seafood and steak crafting are perfect for breaking bread over business. The restaurant sits in the old Ruth’s Chris space and has been completely renovated. There is open seating, more intimate seating, and room for large business groups.




868 Centre Street (601) 957-8000 mmshapleys.com

Owners Mark and Mary Shapley have relaunched the second chapter of their restaurant story with MM Shapley’s, which opened this August. The legendary steakhouse, which began as Shapley’s, has been reinvented. With great food and an inviting atmosphere as the centerpiece of the Shapley’s business, this restaurant is the a perfect place for others to meet for business.


100 District Boulevard East (601) 202-5050 eatdandy.com

Whether you are meeting for a power lunch, happy hour, or to ink that dinner deal, Fine & Dandy in The District at Eastover has become a popular gathering spot. Lunch specials range from fried chicken to a shrimp and crafish roll and for dinner grab a popular burger and unique cocktail. Don’t forget to celebrate with one of three adult milkshakes on the menu.

FALL 2018 | 49


Front row: Angela Byars and Shannon Warnock; Second row: Liz Carroll, Susan Carson, and Kim McCoy; Third row: Karla Case, Kristi McHale, and Stacie Sharp; Back row: Mysty Langford, Kathryn Merrell, and Emily Pote




hen a company is looking to locate to a new area, their first few questions usually deal with education, healthcare and, yes, culture. So the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra is a natural fit for businesses wanting to contribute to a better quality of life in the Metro. The MSO, heading into its 74th season, has an annual budget of about $1.7 million, funded in part by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Mississippi Arts Commission, the city of Jackson and numerous other individuals, foundations and corporations. The Jackson Symphony League tops out as the largest contributor. Founded in 1955, the Jackson Symphony League has contributed significantly to the success and vitality of the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra through its

exhaustive efforts in education, information & fundraising. MSO President and Executive director Michael Beattie said that the Symphony League is an invaluable cheerleader and booster. “The Jackson Symphony League offers a terrific and vibrant annual source of funding and volunteer service for the Mississippi Symphony,” Beattie said. As its single largest donor and source of volunteers, their work ensures their ability to not only offer a variety of concert experiences in the metro area and state at large but also support many education programs that engage nearly 20,000 students annually in both higher education and six public school districts. “They are a great group, and we depend on them for a great deal, I really cannot say enough good things about them,” he said. Madison’s Shannon Warnock,

PEOPLE BEHIND NONPROFITS outgoing Symphony League president, said the MSO is part of a robust music scene necessary to both the enrichment of Jackson metro residents and the progress of future economic development. “When a big company is looking at an area, their first few questions concern education, medical services, and culture,” Warnock said. “Within culture two of the most important things people look for are museums and music. A symphony is a big a check in that music column, and that is a big part of what we talk about when we engage with potential business sponsors.” Angela Byers, the incoming president, said that the group has volunteered tirelessly on behalf of the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra. Through a variety of educational, informational and fundraising efforts, the League contributes to the success and vitality of the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra each year. Because of its tenured history, today it stands as one of the largest volunteer organizations in the state and has raised more than $1 million for the MSO over the past decade alone. In addition to the greater good, Warnock said coordinating with businesses gives them great opportunities to get their name out there or snag some Symphony tickets for VIP clients. They work with a lot of businesses. Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry, for instance, has partnered with the League for at last 17 or so years. “In addition to getting the pearl necklace for our yearly raffle, they hosted our spring luncheon at their Renaissance store in Ridgeland and had Jewelry designer David Yurman as a guest,” Warnock said. “We partner with a lot of different people. Ergon works with us a lot, and we just got Acura of Jackson this last year.” Their events, many of which feature appearances and performances from Symphony musi-

cians — from the more informal luncheon to the swanky Annual Symphony Ball, which will be hitting a landmark 60th anniversary this year — are just a few of the ways the JSL engages in the metro area. Their Sub Deb program engages over 200 High School girls who sell raffle tickets, usher Symphony concerts and participate in other community service projects. “Those girls work really hard. Last year they raised over $18,000 with the raffle,” Warnock said. Byers said their slate of events starts with coffee, hosted at a members house to welcome new and prospective members and ends in February with the Annual Symphony Ball. “We are really looking forward to this year,” Byers said. “We have a lot of work to do between now and February getting things ready and bringing in new sponsors, but we already have a great group and look forward to seeing who comes aboard this year. “The Symphony has some exciting performances slated for the season, and we are just glad to be a part of it.” JSL events will kick into high gear on Sept. 13, with their annual membership coffee at the home of member Nancy Winkelmann Mayfield. This will follow the Symphony’s Sept. 8 and 9 Baroque performances at the St. Andrews Cathedral. For more information visit their website, jacksonsymphonyleague.com, call the MSO at 601-960-1565 or visit their website msorchestra.com for a complete schedule and how to become a contributor.


$100,000-$149,999 Jackson Symphony League Mississippi Symphony Orchestra Foundation $40,000-$99,000 Mississippi Department of Education Selby and Richard McRae Foundation $25,000-$39,999 Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Trustmark National Bank Mississippi Arts Commission $15,000-$24,999 Brown Bottling Group, Inc. City of Jackson (In-kind) Regions Bank St. Dominic Health Services The Gertrude C. Ford Foundation $10,000-$14,999 BancorpSouth Entergy Feild Co-Operative Association, Inc. $5,000-$9,999 Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz BKD LLP Chisholm Foundation Ergon Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation Horne LLP Sanderson Farms, Inc. Walker Foundation

$1,500-$2,999 Brunini Grantham Grower & Hewes Community Foundation of Greater Jackson Elaine and Emanuel Crystal Memorial Family Fund, Community Foundation of Greater Jackson Howard Industries, Inc. Greater Jackson Arts Council Irene T. & Earle F. Jones Charitable Fund Mahaffey’s Quality Printing Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry Parkway Properties, Inc. (inkind) Republic Parking (in-kind) Retriever (in-kind) The Runnels Clinic of Plastic Surgery Southern Farm Bureau Summerhouse| The Shornick Family Foundation Tzedakah Charitable Fund Jones Walker LLP Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC $1,000-$1,499 Butler, Snow, O’Mara, Stevens & Cannada The T. H. Etheridge Trust First Commercial Bank H. F. McCarty Family Foundation Howard and Mary Eliza McMillan Foundation Wise Carter Child & Caraway

$3,000-$4,999 Coker and Palmer, Inc. EastGroup Properties, LP

FALL 2018 | 51


Photos courtesy of Abe Draper Photography

Kristie and David Nutt, the founder and developer of Reunion


reception was held in early-August for the grand opening of the new, $16 million Reunion Golf & Country Club Clubhouse. French Master Chef Rene Bajeux, the executive chef for the Club, and staff prepared dozens of dishes for the nearly-700 people who attended the event. Partygoers were entertained with live music. The event was truly a success.

FALL 2018 | 53

The sun sets on the new Reunion Golf & Country Club Clubhouse in Madison. 54 | BUSINESS QUARTERLY

FALL 2018 | 55

Photo courtesy of Abe Draper Photography

Hunting, Elevated. We can’t guarantee you’ll see more deer if you drive an elegant, off-road vehicle with safari-tested ruggedness and dependability. But you’ll certainly have more fun.


455 Steed Road, Ridgeland, MS 39157 | MercedesOfJackson.com 2018 Mercedes-Benz G Class | Field Quest Farm, Yazoo County, MS | Photography: Tom & Kasi Beck 56 | BUSINESS QUARTERLY

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15 Years of

Building Our Future in Mississippi It all started with an open field outside Canton. In 2001, Nissan and Mississippi began a journey to build one of the most advanced manufacturing facilities in the world—right here in the heart of the Magnolia State. Fifteen years later, we’re proud to make some of the finest vehicles in America at the Nissan Canton plant. And we’re proud to look back at all we’ve achieved with our Mississippi friends and neighbors. Nissan Canton says thank you to our employees, our community and our state for 15 years of building our future, and we look forward to the next chapter in our Mississippi story.

Find out more at NissanCanton15.com

25K+ JOBS*

created statewide


vehicles assembled

$2.9 BILLION+* generated annually in state GDP


invested in our plant

$15 MILLION+ in local charitable contributions


in local

volunteer hours

Profile for Madison County Magazine

Promo Copy | Madison County Magazine Business Quarterly | September 2018  

Madison County Magazine Business Quarterly serving Metro Jackson, Mississippi.

Promo Copy | Madison County Magazine Business Quarterly | September 2018  

Madison County Magazine Business Quarterly serving Metro Jackson, Mississippi.