Manufactured in Mississippi || Issue 2 || Fall-Winter 2015

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Fall & Winter 2015

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Manufactured in Mississippi 2



Letter from the Editor Manufacturing is associated with nearly one-third of all jobs in the state of Mississippi. The industry is core to our state and at the heart of our people. Our manufacturers benefit from legislative and public support, as well as from the Mississippi Manufacturers Association, whose mission is to support all Mississippi manufacturers. Manufactured in Mississippi magazine is the first privately held Mississippi publication of its kind. Each edition focuses on important industry issues and topics, including state and national legislation, special interest pieces, and business profiles. Every issue is directly distributed to key elected officials, legislators, business leaders, industry leaders, and members of the Mississippi Manufacturers Association. If you have an important topic that you would like to see on the pages, or are interested in how you can have your company represented in the magazine, please contact our editorial or advertising staff. We trust you will find Manufactured in Mississippi an important read. – Bryan Carter Editor-in-Chief Publisher P2 Publishers Editor-in-Chief Bryan Carter Contributing Editor Matthew Jackson Visual Design Justin Maxwell, Sweta Desai, Chance Shelton Photography Chance Shelton, Bryan Carter Advertising Director Fran Nause Riddell Staff Greg Mitchell, Tabitha Yarber Manufactured in Mississippi is published by P2 Publishers. Reproduction of Manufactured in Mississippi magazine, in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited without written permission. We do not accept responsibility for any unsolicited materials and may not return them. All information in this magazine is taken from sources considered authoritative, but P2 Publishers cannot guarantee their accuracy. Inclusion of editorials, images, advertisements, or other materials in this magazine does not constitute an endorsement for products or services by the publisher. Expert editorials are provided by outside authors, and represent the expert opinions of those authors.

Content Governor Phil Bryant on Workforce Development Strategy for Mississippi Manufacturing and the Mid-Level Work Economy

Mississippi’s Renewed Gateway to International Distribution Port of Gulfport: Mississippi Introduces the Silver Lining

Mississippi Birds Take Flight Over the U.S. Airbus Helicopters Have Earned Worldwide Recognition

Mississippians Defending Our Shores One Ship at a Time Ingalls: A Mississippi Coast Icon


38 46 52 60 66 76 82 88



Mississippi Selected for Business and Affirmed by People SOPREMA Roofing Company Found a Strategic Home in Mississippi

Winning Performance Glen McCullough, Jr., Takes the Reins at MDA

Mississippi’s Manufacturing Consortium Collaborating for the Greater Good of the Manufacturing State

Paving Roads and Relationships in Foreign Markets Canadian Provinces and Mississippi

Able Workforce The Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services Leads From Within, and They Have Discovered More than One Way to Save a Life

Executive Action by Labor Regulators The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) are Engaged in Their Own “Executive Actions” to Implement Union- and Employee-Friendly Policies

State of Procurement in the Wake of the Department of Corrections Scandal New State Personal Service Contract Review Board Oversees the Department of Corrections and Sets a New Tone

Marketing 101 How Do they Find You? What Happens Next?




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Manufactured in Mississippi

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Manufactured in Mississippi



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Manufactured in Mississippi 8

LONG-TERM STRATEGIC DIRECTION As governor, the task of growing a manufacturing economy is a multifaceted effort with heavy influence on legislation and workforce development. While there are short-term gains to be had in growing a manufacturing economy, the most significant gains are realized over decades of dedication with purpose. Strategically, it is an effort that spans governors. Additional foundations still being laid today are done so with planned, long-term success in mind. Says Governor Bryant of the planning process, “We are looking at manufacturing on an 80-year schedule.”

THE IMPORTANCE OF WORKFORCE Mississippi’s central southern location, easy access to sea, land, and air transportation, and pro-manufacturing tax incentives attract the attention of manufacturers. However, without a qualified workforce, a manufacturing company will suffer or fail. The workforce is what secures business long term, and encourages growth at Mississippi locations. Workforce is always critical to any manufacturing operation.

A COMPREHENSIVE PLAN FOR GROWING THE WORKFORCE FROM THE MIDDLE Says Governor Bryant, “Where workforce is concerned, you have to plan the biggest changes at least ten years ahead.” The governor points out, “We are raising our next workforce. “We are aggressively implementing education and training programs to grow our mid-level workforce. We are assuring our manufacturing community that they will have an even better educated and better trained workforce in 8 to 10 years and ongoing, based on what we are doing today. Our children in the third grade will be entering the workforce in ten years. Our plan for development begins early.”

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Governor Phil Bryant, Mississippi’s 64th governor, is a known champion for the state’s manufacturing industry. Mississippi is a leader in growth in gross manufactured exports, which rose 259% from 2004 to 2014. Total exports have risen 380% in the last ten years. The governor explains Mississippi’s growth in manufacturing as intentional and part of a long-term plan. To facilitate that plan, Mississippi will need qualified people to fill jobs. That is also part of the plan, says Mississippi’s governor.



College Level Innovative Partnering The Mid-Level Workforce Mississippi manufacturing companies have partnered with Mid-level jobs are jobs that do not necessarily require a local colleges to implement curriculums specifically for their four-year degree. Mid-level education is typically a high industries. The companies offer financial support, equipment school education coupled with some college-level courses, and resources, strategic collaboration on curriculum design, such as courses at a community college, or specialized training. and even personnel to assist with instruction. The programs Mid-level job opportunities range from welding to robotics. range from highly specialized certification programs spanning Manufacturers seek candidates in the mid-level, who have weeks, to integrated two-year degree programs. This directed basic knowledge sets, normally including science, technology, approach to education ensures participating manufacturing engineering, math, and reading comprehension. In some cascompanies have workforce-ready job candidates upon graduaes, vocational training and certification is also desired tion, and that graduates have concrete opportunities to earn a or required. decent, family-friendly income and enjoy When job candidates do not have MS 3rd GRADERS READING at a 3rd GRADE LEVEL a higher quality of life. the proper training or education, re100 medial education and training pro91% Bridging the Gap — Training an Existing grams have to be utilized to bring 90 Workforce workers up to speed. Remedial work 80 As of December 14, 2015, the Missistakes time, resources, and money. A sippi Works App reported 41,131 jobs workforce requiring remedial edu70 available in the state of Mississippi. Alcation is at a disadvantage. though Mississippi unemployment has The goal in Mississippi is to pre60 dropped to 5.9% (the lowest it has been pare candidates before they hit the 50 since December 2007), there are over workforce, beginning at kindergar75,000 unemployed whose ranks can poten. This strategy is designed to 40 tentially bolster the mid-level workforce. significantly bolster the quality of Says Governor Bryant, “Governor BarMississippi’s workforce over time as 30 bour championed some of these efforts those students graduate from high while I served as lieutenant governor. school and community colleges and 20 2015 Our mission is to give some hard worktake on careers. ing Mississippians the opportunity to return to the workforce K-12 Education with respectable incomes and jobs that contribute. The trainThe state is backing the premise that if children are able to ing programs we have put in place do that.” learn to read, they will go on to read to learn. The governor’s office reports that, in the 12 months from An individual’s academic career is highly influenced at an early October 2014 to October 2015, the labor force has risen age. The state of Mississippi has targeted a younger academic 57,400 from 1.221 million to 1.278 million, and the employed population and established a Third Grade Gate in the school sysrate has risen 71,000 from 1.132 million to 1.203 million. tems. The Third Grade Gate dictates that no child passes the third grade who is not reading at a third grade level or higher. Character The Third Grade Gate is meant to prevent a trend of decline One significant advantage Mississippi has as a state is the that occurs when students are socially passed through this pivcharacter of its workforce. Mississippians have earned a repotal point in their academic career. The reading skills a student utation for appreciating life and livelihood. The strength of develops by the end of the third grade are critical in developing a character in Mississippi workers in the manufacturing comfoundation for academic development and achievement in sucmunity is something that regularly draws positive remarks by cessive grades. company leadership. It is also a huge advantage in building the Beginning in 2012, funding was established to place reading mid-level workforce. coaches in schools. The result of this $35.9 million investment is a significant increase in reading performance in the third grade. THE IMPORTANCE OF MANUFACTURING TO MISSISSIPPI According to the governor’s office, the percentage of third-gradeMississippi is a state that has historically experienced siglevel readers in the third grade is 91% as of August 2015. The nificant success in the industry of manufacturing. That suclevel of reading improvement is expected to influence the stucess continues today. Currently, manufacturing accounts for dents’ academic careers, future job prospects, and ultimately the as many as 12% of jobs in Mississippi, and as many as onequality of workforce as these third graders seek jobs in 10 years. third of the jobs in Mississippi are related to manufacturing. Having the right teachers also matters. To further incent and Manufacturing not only drives the Mississippi economy, it is keep qualified teachers in teaching positions, Mississippi allocatthe lifeblood for a significant number of Mississippi families. ed $110 million for K-12 teacher pay raises over two years, beginEvery manufacturing company and every manufacturing job ning in the 2014-15 school year. The raises will be followed by that is brought into the state represents more than just ana statewide school recognition program in 2016-17 that includes other income. It is a step forward for the citizens of Missisfinancial incentives for schools improving their overall rating by sippi, their families, and their community. Manufacturing is a at least one level or maintaining an “A” or “B” rating. Governor cornerstone in the quality of life for families across the state. Bryant said, “These raises complement our other efforts to raise Governmental support for an industry this vital just makes the bar in Mississippi classrooms, and I thank the teachers and sense. Well-planned legislation and strong leadership at the educators who work hard every day to improve student achievestate level send a message to manufacturers seeking new loment in our state.”

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COMPREHENSIVE WORKFORCE STRATEGY TO SECURE THE FUTURE The governor has appointed Executive Director of the Mississippi Manufacturers Association Jay Moon as the Chairman of the State Workforce Development Board. Among other duties, Moon will be responsible for developing a comprehensive workforce development plan. The basic structural goals for the workforce development plan are: • Identify our assets • Coordinate educational resources • Identify training goals for the workplace • Design and implement educational programs and initia- tives ranging from kindergarten to workforce ready

MANUFACTURING IS A MISSISSIPPI GROWTH ECONOMY The job base in Mississippi has grown overall, with an emphasis on manufacturing. Even as manufacturing processes become more automated, Mississippi’s manufacturers continue to add to and expand operations, creating even more jobs. Mississippi is experiencing manufacturing growth across industries and company sizes, from furniture to food to military contractors. A few recent companies, large and small, that have added jobs include: • Mars Foods - Greenville 25 new jobs • Ice Industries (steel manufacturing) - Grenada 100 new jobs • Yokohama’s new tire plant will support a community of families

MANUFACTURING GROWTH For a state so heavily invested in the manufacturing indus-

try, growth in that industry trickles out to the entire economy. Mississippi’s manufacturing is not only growing, it is evolving along with the demand for higher technology products, from advanced automobiles to unmanned aircraft. Growth in Cutting-Edge Technologies Many of today’s Mississippi manufacturers are in the high technology sector. Two examples are Stion and Raytheon. In Hattiesburg, Stion, named as a Red Herring Top 100 North America Tech Startup in 2011, manufactures highefficiency thin-film solar panels. Stion solar panels have been selected for use by three new Mississippi solar farms, to be located in Jackson, Senatobia, and Brookhaven, as part of Entergy’s $4.5 million Bright Future Plan. In Forest, Raytheon, a manufacturer of the most advanced radar systems in the world, has expanded again and will be outfitting the new Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft, a single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth, multi-role fighter that is undergoing final development and testing by the United States military. A Plan for Sustained Growth Sustained growth is the expected outcome based on well-laid plans. Mississippi has created an environment that is manufacturing-friendly and is currently executing plans for long-term growth. Mississippi is a state where manufacturers are expanding operations and where new manufacturers are entering the state. The focus on mid-level workforce development is critical in enabling manufacturers of today and tomorrow to be successful. Workforce development fuels a manufacturing economy. Strategically, it means Mississippi is right where it needs to be and is taking the steps necessary to secure its future in manufacturing. Governor Bryant sums it up simply by saying, “It’s all about making things.”

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cations for operations, as well as to those who have already found home in the Magnolia State.


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From Faulkner to Pharmacy, Oxford is the South’s premier destination for the Knowledge Economy. Oxford is the home of the University of Mississippi. We are descended from literary giants and our future is in technology development. Businesses in Life Science and Information Technology Research are discovering more than they expected as they grow and prosper in the dappled light of the Grove. They are discovering the value of Mississippi, the charm of the new South and the incredible richness of talent available in Oxford.

Oxford-Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation For more information contact: Jon Maynard, President//CEO at 662-234-4651 or visit


Fall & Winter 2015

We invite you to discover Oxford, Mississippi Home of the Knowledge Economy


Manufactured in Mississippi



It’s not enough to provide port services. The port business is competitive and the Port of Gulfport is bringing innovative practices along with significant capital improvements to prepare Mississippi’s port for the next generation of shipping, distribution, and nautical business.

Mississippi Introduces the Silver Lining

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From catastrophe to something special. When your cloud does not come with a silver lining, you make one. Staying true to Mississippi’s reputation of seeing a problem and attacking it head on is just what Governor Barbour did after Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005. Hurricane Katrina devastated the coast, including the Port of Gulfport. Mississippi had the chance to rebuild the port back to its pre-hurricane state, but it was decided to take the damaged port to a whole new level.


Governor Barbour worked with the port and other entities to plan what was to become the silver lining of the disaster of Katrina — a plan that would not only correct the damage, but would take the port to a new level and bring new jobs and economic development to the area in a ripple effect. In the wake of the hurricane, Governor Barbour asked “What can the port be?” and the port authorities put together a plan for “The Port of the Future.” The change in governorship has not lessened the mission or the support. Governor Phil Bryant continues where Governor Barbour left off.

ing added to reduce cargo cycling time and allow the loading and off-loading of containers from the largest of ocean-class cargo vessels.

Mississippi’s New Port of Gulfport — The Port of the Future

Diversification The revitalization of the port has attracted multiple business lines, and, in addition to adding revenue, the newly acquired tenants have added strength to the port’s operations through diversification.

The City of Gulfport was established in 1887, specifically in order to open the port. One hundred twenty-eight years later, the city and the port are still growing, with plans for a significant step forward. Still under construction, with some portions of the project not scheduled for completion until 2017, the new Port of Gulfport is already benefiting from completed portions of the planned $570 million development. Plans include shallow and deep channels for shipping, an expanded port, silos, and new warehouses, among other improvements. These upgrades are all part of completing a port to stand strong before its competitors and provide world-class service — leveraging the competitive advantages of Mississippi’s port and its people. West Terminal Wharf Upgrade Repairing the damage from Hurricane Katrina is a significant part of the reconstruction efforts, but construction goes far beyond the port of the past. Upgrades include structural and infrastructural improvements to accommodate three state-of-the-art electric-powered rail-mounted ship-to-shore gantry cranes.

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Chemours Silos Project Chemours (formerly DuPont) utilizes the Port of Gulfport to bring in 10 percent of the world’s ilmenite ore for use in creating titanium dioxide at the Chemours facility in DeLisle, Mississippi. Chemours is currently utilizing four silos, and has recently constructed 15 new silos for expansion. New 300-Acre Wharf Expansion The upgraded port will have expanded ground (sound) and wharf space for additional docking and operationing capabilities. Gantry Cranes Constructed in China by ZPMC, and transported fortyfive days overseas, three new, world-class gantry cranes are be-

Additional Port Access Additional deep and shallow draft access will be part of the completed port. Expanded West Terminal An additional 84 acres has added to the size of a very busy west terminal.

1,300 Jobs by 2020 It is estimated that within three years after completion, there will be thirteen hundred new jobs created. To meet this need, the port is working with community colleges, community groups, and youth to prepare for the 2020 job commitment. Strategic Seaport Designation In November 2015, the Port of Gulfport was notified by the U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration (MARAD) that the Port had been designated a Strategic Seaport. With this designation, America’s military will be able to utilize the Port for cargo and equipment shipments. The Commissioning of Naval Ships The Navy’s newest combat ship, the USS Jackson, was commissioned at the Port of Gulfport on December 5, 2015. The ship is the first to be named after the state of Mississippi’s capital city, and the first ship to be commissioned at the Port.

Strategically, the Port of Gulfport Makes Sense for Business The port is ideally located geographically, is supported by the state, and has easy access to rail, air, and waterways. The port helps handle administrative issues and navigate regulatory requirements. The speed to permit time is fast. Jonathan Daniels, Executive Director and CEO of Mississippi State Port Authority at Gulfport explains, “The Port of Gulfport is not as large as ports in Virginia and Long Beach, but it offers the same assets, and in an uncongested manner. The future of economic development is being written by the port by supporting transportation needs for manufacturers

throughout Mississippi. Time Is Money Pilot-to-dock time is a significant and standard measure in port efficiency. The Port of Gulfport has a Pilot-to-Dock time of 90 to 120 minutes. For comparison, ships docking in New Orleans face a pilot-to-dock time of up to 12 hours one way and require two pilots. Workforce Mississippi has a known workforce that embodies virtues of the 1950s. In Mississippi, people value family and honest work, and they take pride in their jobs and their communities. Says Daniels, “If you haven’t been to Mississippi, wait ‘til you meet the people. People in Mississippi are welcoming — not pretentious. They see differences in others as a point of interest. In other states you have to put incentive programs in place to compensate for environment. In Mississippi you find people with a willingness to make a project work.” The port community offers flexibility in their longshoreman crew, who are known to work in any way to bring more business to the port and to the community. The workforce is also supported by a strong workforce development environment. State agencies and the community college system support manufacturers directly with training and education programs developed in cooperation with the manufacturing companies.

Chemours Chemours (formerly DuPont) has made a thirty-year commitment (up to sixty years). The company will be utilizing the port for bulk handling and dock operations. Crowley This liner container carrier transports everything from automobiles to textiles. Their operations ship from the United States to Central America and back. Says Daniels, “Look at the businesses that have located here [in Mississippi]. Toyota, Yokohama, and others. What they have found here works with their business models. “Before I took this job I realized that all of the objectors I spoke with never lived here. I met the governor on the same day that the incentive package for the Yokohama plant was approved. He is a gentleman that loves his state and cares.”

Businesses Cast Their Vote of Approval with Commitment McDermott International The port serves as a spooling base of operations for oil and gas piping and a marine base of operations for McDermott. Harvey Gulf (formerly Gulf Coast Shipyard Group) Utilizes the port for final outfitting of oil and gas offshore supply vessels. Final outfitting typically takes three to six months.

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Dole One of the world’s largest green fruit distributors in the United States has a renewed agreement for up to twenty-three years.


Eaton builds excellent aerospace products – and stronger communities

Eaton proudly contributes to Mississippi’s economy and its communities. Our more than 500 highly skilled employees manufacture advanced aerospace hydraulic pump technologies for customers around the world. Closer to home,

Eaton and its employees generously support charitable organizations throughout the Jackson metro area. For more information on Eaton’s sustainability practices, visit sustainability



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Manufactured in Mississippi



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Manufactured in Mississippi



Most people only know Airbus to be a manufacturer of airplanes...

U.S. Coast Guard, the Mississippi State Police, the Ohio State Patrol, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, or the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. • unless you are a United States Veteran seeking a job with a Top 100 Military Friendly Employer. • unless you work for the Department of Defense and know the list of very select companies that have achieved a 100% on-time, on-budget, and on-quality delivery record. • unless you are an economic developer seeking case studies where one successful manufacturer acted as a catalyst to bring multiple companies to an area, transform the job market, and connect multiple communities. If you are a part of any of these groups, you may already have joined the growing ranks of people, companies, and organizations that know Airbus for helicopters.

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• unless you live in Mississippi. • unless you are with the U.S. Army, the


Mississippi Roost One of Mississippi’s state birds can be seen flying the skies regaled in blue and gold, and emblazoned with the seal of the Mississippi State Police. The H125 helicopter joined the Mississippi State Police fleet in June 2014, with a gubernatorial ceremony and christening. The aircraft is not just a highly functional part of the Mississippi State Police fleet, it is a symbol of one of Mississippi’s shining stars in the manufacturing community. Airbus is known worldwide for the planes that it produces. American Eurocopter (Airbus) helicopters are now known on a national and international scale. And the crown jewel for their manufacturing operation is the 58-acre, 330,000-squarefoot facility in Columbus, Mississippi. Adjacent to the Columbus, Mississippi airport, the Airbus Helicopters’ plant is responsible for over 1000 aircraft departing their flight line, creating hundreds of jobs, and anchoring the manufacturing community that has helped transform the manufacturing segment of Mississippi’s Golden Triangle, composed of the cities of Columbus, Starkville, and West Point, into the economic success that it is today. Christopher Emerson is the president of Airbus Helicopters, Inc. and head of the North America region. Says Emerson, “The Columbus plant is a very important part of the success that Airbus Helicopters, Inc. has enjoyed over the last decade and will be an integral component of our business plan in the future.”

Evolution Manufactured in Mississippi 24

Mississippi’s Airbus Helicopters manufacturing operations began in 2003, and housed a Light Assembly Line (LAL) until 2006. Parts were assembled and then disassembled in France, then shipped to Mississippi for reassembly. The U.S. Army Lakota helicopter contract was awarded in 2006, and in 2007 Airbus had completed expansions and upgraded to a Full Assembly Line (FAL) that allowed the full production line to engage. The plant now has full assembly lines for both the H145 Lakota helicopter and the H125 AStar helicopter models. Says Emerson, “The evolving improvements and changes that have been implemented in Columbus to meet the Army’s

requirements have also paid off for our commercial helicopter business. We are now producing the H125 commercial helicopter in Columbus and we obtain the same efficiencies and high levels of quality achieved on the Lakota.” The Mississippi plant location, chosen for the overall cost of doing business as well as an able workforce, has grown from 33 employees in 2006 to over 200 full-time employees today. The current staff includes over 70 licensed Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) mechanics, two FAA Designated Airworthiness Representatives (DARs), pilots, and test engineers. The U.S. Army also stations inspectors and pilots onsite to inspect and oversee operations for the H145 Lakota line.

The Helicopters H145 Lakota The dual-engine Lakota helicopters coming off of the Mississippi line are used in training operations for all U.S. Army helicopter pilots going through military flight training. The American-made Lakota helicopters can be equipped with numerous packages, from training lasers to combat gear, and can be finalized on site or after delivery to the client. Literally every new U.S. Army helicopter pilot trains in a H145 Lakota helicopter manufactured in Mississippi. H125 A-Star The A-Star helicopter, formerly named the HS350, is highly versatile. The H125 A-Star is used by law enforcement, highway patrol, air medical, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and civilian businesses, including air tours.

In order to build a manufacturing operation like Airbus Helicopters’ has achieved, you have to have an able workforce. Access to that workforce was one of the reasons Airbus chose to locate in the Golden Triangle area. Airbus Helicopters found that Mississippi had a high number of trained aircraft workers, many of them military veterans, which enabled them to move in and set up a facility that produced high-quality helicopters and empowered them to meet commitments made to customers. Colleges and Universities Airbus Helicopters purposefully situated its operations in a higher education-rich region. The company is able to recruit

talent and develop collaborations with the local learning institutions, including Mississippi State University, East Mississippi Community College, the University of Alabama, and Mississippi University for Women. Airbus Helicopters has partnered with East Mississippi Community College to develop 6-week courses in avionics and sheet metal that lead to On the Job Training (OJT) opportunities at the manufacturing plant. Those candidates who are successful are promoted to technicians, and some have even turned out to be among Airbus Helicopters’ top technicians. The company has also engaged in a vocational program with New Hope High School, a local high school, that enrolls five to six students per year. That is another program that can lead to apprenticeship, and ultimately a position at the plant.

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An Able Workforce


Veterans in the Workforce Airbus Helicopters welcome qualified veterans from all military branches to their labor force and has been recognized by G.I. Jobs five years in a row as one of the Top 100 Military Friendly Employers®. In fact, just over 40% of full-time employees at Airbus Helicopters are military veterans, including the company’s director and site manager, Robert Boman. Boman retired from the U.S. Air Force in 2008 and joined Airbus Helicopters just one week later in a recruiting role. He now leads the Columbus, Mississippi, operation. Continuous Development As a way to achieve continuous improvement in the company, Airbus is committed to a strategy of continued development of its employees. They believe in developing talent from within. Self-improvement and employee involvement is regularly encouraged, and an annual engagement survey helps add structure to the practice. Partners in Quality Improvement Airbus Helicopters’ continuous quality improvement practices are driven from within, and are also motivated by customer relationships. Says Emerson of the U.S. Army partnership, “We are very fortunate that the U.S. Army has supported the decision that was made to produce the UH-72A Lakota in Mississippi. The Army, through its strict requirements on costs, schedule, and quality, has forced us to continually strive to improve the way we manufacture our helicopters. We have met those requirements because our people, the workforce in Columbus, accepted the challenges and, working as a team, delivered on our commitments to the Army.” Hiring Local-ish It is worth noting that Airbus Helicopters is able to satisfy approximately 72% of its workforce needs within the Golden Triangle. Many of the remaining 28% are from West Alabama’s Lamar County. Airbus Helicopter’s hiring practices and company culture have resulted in an incredibly low rate of employee turnover. Low employee turnover is an indicator of a successful employer-employee relationship.

Manufacturing in the Golden Triangle

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American Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters) was interested in expanding their operations in 2003. The company was recruited to the Golden Triangle area by the local economic development leadership and (then) Governor Haley Barbour and his team. In the Golden Triangle, American Eurocopter found a manufacturing-friendly state with a low tax base, good skill sets, and colleges all around. Once recruited, American Eurocopter became a catalyst in the Golden Triangle Airport Development that paved the way for other companies to locate there. Companies including diesel engine manufacturer Packar, steel manufacturer Steel Dynamics, and drone manufacturers Stark Aviation and Aurora have now joined the Golden Triangle manufacturing community. “It (Airbus Helicopters) changed the way we thought about ourselves as a community,” says Joe Max Higgins, CEO of the Columbus-Lowndes Development Link. “Landing an advanced project and company, we went from older traditional manufacturing to making things that fly. Airbus made the Golden Triangle believe in themselves.”

There are now 2,500 companies in the Golden Triangle Airport Development. Thanks to the economic development that has occurred since 2003, there is a new category of jobs in the over $60,000 range.

An Earned Place in the Manufacturing Community Airbus Helicopters has developed a culture of commitment and quality. Their 100% on-time, on-budget, on-quality delivery record lives up to the highest standards. They have led the way for best hiring practices and have been a catalyst for economic development in Mississippi’s Golden Triangle, which has led to thousands of jobs. Columbus, Mississippi, has become the center of industry for Airbus Helicopters. Today, in addition to airplanes, Airbus is now known for helicopters. The next time you see a helicopter take to the skies, know that it may have taken off first in Columbus, Mississippi. Those who know helicopters, know.


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Manufactured in Mississippi 30

Ingalls has called Mississippi home since 1938. In that time, the company has merged and spun off, taking on names such as Litton and Northrop. The thing that has remained constant is shipbuilding. In 2011, Ingalls returned to the Ingalls name, as the Ingalls Shipbuilding division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, and today they are producing some of the most advanced ships in the world for our armed forces.

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A Mississippi Coast Icon


Contributing to Our Nation’s Defense

Ingalls is one of the world’s largest shipyards and produces nearly 70% of the Navy’s combat vessels. They have most recently been awarded contracts for destroyers, massive amphibious assault ships, and Coast Guard Cutters, but have also been recognized for their manufacturing of cruisers, and nuclear submarines. Famous Names Among the ships that have been manufactured at Ingalls are some that have gained public notoriety. The USS Cole is one of those ships, as was the USS New York, and each has a story. On the morning of Thursday, October 12, 2000, the USS Cole was the target of a terrorist attack while docked in the Yemeni port of Aden for routine refueling. A bomb ripped open her side, killing 17 American sailors and injuring 39 others. She was brought home to Ingalls, where she was originally manufactured and launched, and they spent sixteen intense months restoring her and returning her to the fleet. The USS New York was also manufactured and launched from Ingalls.

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The bow was constructed from 71/2 tons of steel secured from the wreckage of the World Trade Center after the attack on September 11, 2001. While every ship carries with it a name of significance, there are those we feel more attached to based on their meaning to us as United States citizens. Taking Care of Business There are always multiple ships in production at Ingalls at a given time. The Tripoli is one such ship. Once launched, the ship will be named The USS Tripoli. The Tripoli is an America Class Amphibious Assault Ship named for the Battle of Tripoli Harbor. The ship is an improved version of the WASP-Class Amphibious Assault Ship. She has a compliment of 65 officers, 994 enlisted, and 1,687 Marines (plus 184 surge); has a displacement of 45,693 tons; features two marine gas turbine engines and two 5000 hp auxiliary engines; is armed with 2× Rolling Airframe Missile launchers, 2× Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile launchers, 2× 20 mm Phalanx CIWS mounts, and 7× twin .50 BMG machine guns;

and can achieve and impressive 22+ knots. The hull design features a “noright-angles” stealth design that confuses enemy radar regarding the ship’s actual size. The USS Tripoli is designed to house aircraft including the MV22B Osprey, the F-35B Lightning II, the CH-53K Super Stallion, the UH1Y Venom, the AH-1Z Viper, and the MH-60S Knighthawk. Once complete, the Tripoli will be a reconfigurable, state-of-the-art facility for air assault and aircraft support. After launch, the ship will go through trials, finalizing integration, fueling, weapons checks, and systems training of actual personnel. The future USS Tripoli is expected to launch in 2017. There are currently ten ships across four classes that are in production at Ingalls, all with uniquely impressive credentials.

To Build the Machine You Need the People

One of the ways Ingalls is so incredibly successful at building these complex military ships is by maintaining a highly skilled and motivated workforce. To construct these massive ships, Ingalls employs workers to handle work


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across a wide spectrum. All ships are compartmentalized, and within the thick steel superstructure are systems for HVAC, plumbing, power, mechanics, and communications. The workers not only have to install these systems, they have to install redundant systems so that a ship can take a hit and keep performing if primary systems are knocked out. These super fortified ships, bristling with weapons and steeped in the latest electronics, take years and thousands of skilled man-hours to complete and field test.

A Healthy and Cared for Workforce is Good for Business, Communities, and Families

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Ingalls is arguably the state’s largest manufacturing employer. The company employs over 12,000 workers in roles ranging from welder to engineer to executive to executive assistant. Every role is important, and every employee is important. A workforce this large does not come on board fully trained and prepared. Ingalls has adopted a strategy of innovation and best practices in developing and maintaining its workforce. This is good for people, community, and, ultimately, business. Not surprising, a great deal of that strategy is centered around the betterment of environment, lifestyle, community involvement, and the individual health and professional development of its employees. Workforce Development Says Edmond Hughes, Jr., VP Hu-

man Resources & Administration, “At Ingalls we have partnered with learning institutions and developed multiple avenues beginning at the local high school level to develop the greater skills necessary to build the world’s most sophisticated warships.” Early support at the local level begins with STEM grants awarded at the K-12 levels amounting to $100,000 per year. There is also an effort underway to develop vocational programs with the local high schools. Students in high school and middle school have trouble comprehending their potential and the relevance of the subjects they study to their career after school. Says Hughes, “You have to know math — fractions and geometry. Kids who think they won’t need them while they are in school will end up having to be re-educated.” Among the avenues to personal development for individuals to prepare for a career at Ingalls, or to better a career already begun with Ingalls, are thirteen programs at the Maritime Training Academy. These two- to four-year programs use both classroom and learn-bydoing apprenticeships to develop skills in electrical work, pipefitting, welding, painting, and more. Ingalls also provides courses to help bring promising employees up to speed in areas where they may be weak or need improvement. Says Hughes, “There are local high school and community college graduates that become part of our apprentice-

ship programs that go on to take senior leadership positions in our organization.” Community Ingalls believes in investing in the community both as a company, and as a force of 12,000 employees. Says Hughes, “We have 12,000 pairs of hands that can give back.” In the community, Ingalls and its employees have been recognized for their work with the Boys & Girls Clubs, Habitat for Humanity, Special Olympics, the Boy Scouts, and more. “We serve as judges in science fairs and on local boards.” On the last “Ingalls Day of Caring,” the volunteers worked on four different projects in Jackson County communities. Says Hughes, “It is important to give back to the communities where we live and work.” While the company nurtures a giving culture, “It is our employees that volunteer and take an active role. They truly enjoy giving back within our community.” Company When Hurricane Katrina, the eleventh storm of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, struck with deadly force and devastating impact on the coast, Ingalls stepped up. The company immediately trained their HR department to help perform FEMA functions for employees and local families, and also opened a second camp in New Orleans. Ingalls used the ships in later phases of construction to set up headquarters and lodging for active leadership. During

the disaster and months of recovery, Ingalls Shipbuilders served 74,000 meals, administered 4,000 tetanus and flu vaccinations, and assisted with the monumental effort of cleanup and water distribution. Ingalls worked with Western Union to provide net pay in lieu of paychecks since the entire financial infrastructure was wiped out along the coast. Ads were placed in surrounding cities and states providing helplines for employees to call and check in. In addition to coordinating with federal and Red Cross relief and establishing an onsite assistance center, Ingalls Shipbuilding’s parent company at the time, Northrop Grumman, donated $1 million to the Red Cross, $250K to the Gulf Coast United Way organizations, $500K to the Gulf Coast Assistance fund, and replaced backpacks, books, and school supplies for local students.

A Local Way to Solve Healthcare

The Family Health Center Ingalls leased a local medical facility, gutted and rebuilt it, and dedicated it to the health and well-being of its employees and their dependents. Employees now have the additional option to visit the center and benefit from truly affordable and available healthcare. Where employees and their families may have had to wait weeks for family health center visits, they can now visit the new employee health center quickly and easily, with no charge for wellness visits and a standard $15 co-pay for regular visits, labs, x-rays, and other services. A 30-day generic prescription can be purchased for only $3, with a 90-day generic prescription only costing $6. The use of the new facility is optional, but Ingalls believes that having affordable, convenient healthcare available

will encourage employee participation. Says Hughes, “The family health center has been open since July 1st of this year, and the participation and feedback thus far has been extremely positive.�

Securing Our Nation. Securing a Future.

Competition is pervasive, even for large-scale manufacturers contributing to national security. Ingalls Shipbuilding has secured $60 million, $20 million from the state and a matching $40 million from Huntington Ingalls Industries, to upgrade their facilities so

that they are able to aggressively compete for future contracts. Included in the upgrades are a new dry dock facility and a covering of the expansive outdoor area used for overflow production. Covering the outdoor manufacturing space ensures that production does not stop for weather, which greatly impacts delivery schedules, work shifts, and overall efficiency.

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The entire country is wrestling with issues of healthcare and insurance. Ingalls recognized the impact on their employees and decided to help address it on their own. While the company is not able to fix the problems for the country or the system as a whole, the corporation came up with a solution to help their workforce be able to maintain their individual health without a lot of the cost and red tape that many Americans are forced to struggle with when they seek medical attention. A new family health center was planned.


Manufactured in Mississippi




From international trade development to education and cultural initiatives, the Mississippi World Trade Center is a non-profit organization that offers Mississippi’s businesses the support they need to compete globally. The MSWTC works to enhance the state’s position in the global economic arena and to help increase wealth and jobs for our members and for our state. If you are interested in international business, join your peers who have been doing it successfully for years. Join the Mississippi World Trade Center.

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selected their Mississippi manufacturing location for strategic reasons. Now that they have experienced the Mississippi workforce and community culture, they are more committed than ever.

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SOPREMA roofing company 39

Mississippi offers significant incentives for manufacturers to locate their facilities in the state. However, once they have settled in the Magnolia State, they come to realize that the benefits don’t stop at the planning table. Manufacturers realize the value of Mississippians as a workforce and Mississippi as a source of family, culture, and community. SOPREMA, an international roofing manufacturer that chose Mississippi as a home for one of their United Statesbased facilities, is one of those companies.


to manufacture closer to, and distribute to, two of their “big population” states — Texas and Florida. Their initial field of contenders for a new plant included Texas, Florida, Alabama, Mexico, and Mississippi. Says Kent Furcron, Mississippi plant manager, “Mississippi was very aggressive in recruiting SOPREMA’s new manufacturing and distribution plant.” As is the case with most manufacturers considering a location, to win the bid for the plant, SOPREMA would have to be satisfied on multiple fronts, including site, time to distribution, proximity to suppliers, and workforce.

“Manufacturers realize the value of Mississippians as a workforce and Mississippi as a source of family, culture,

All states court manufacturing business. Manufacturing is a business category that is universally appealing as it brings good paying jobs and income into communities. There is always a competition for acquisition when a manufacturing company begins a search — both between states and from outside countries. In 2003, SOPREMA began a search for a site to build a facility with a southeastern presence. While they already had a plant online and in full production in Ohio, they had a need

Location Mississippi assisted in selecting an ideal, level, shovelready location just 1/2 mile from Interstate Ten (I-10). The location is close to port and rail. It put SOPREMA within one day of their primary customer base. In addition, the southern Mississippi location has convenient access to several asphalt refineries and terminals, a primary material in manufacturing their roofing products.

and community.”

Environment Other factors in Mississippi’s favor included an ample work force, that it is a right-to-work state, and competitive land prices — all business-friendly advantages that Mississippi is consistently recognized for by existing and potential manufacturers.

Welcome to Mississippi

Once Mississippi was selected for the site of the new SOPREMA facility, they experienced a warm welcoming. Says Neil Smith, district sales manager, “Everyone supported us from contractors to building owners. People here support and are proud of ‘Mississippi Made.’ It makes life a lot easier.”

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In addition, Smith expects that SOPREMA has as much as a 35%-50% increase in sales in Mississippi because they are local. Since the Mississippi plant has been established, other Mississippi benefits have come to light for SOPREMA. Mississippians SOPREMA has been very pleased to discover the caliber of people who have entered their workforce. Says Smith, “They are dedicated and hardworking. They understand the nature of competition and a competitive workplace. “We find great quality people. The workforce here just seems to ‘get it.’ They understand the business model. They see their livelihood tied to the product and their efforts result in the success of the company.”

Manufacturers discover as much about the benefits of locating in Mississippi after they have already located here as they do when they weigh the numbers and location advantages before making the commitment. Some benefits don’t find justice on the pages of a report. They have to be felt and experienced to be truly understood and appreciated. While Mississippi attracts great companies with its incentives, it is the people, the culture, and the nature of the workforce that affirm the decision.

A Love for Mississippi Smith has a profound respect for his Mississippi experience. “Mississippi is hospitable. People genuinely care about each other. They will give you the shirt off their back.” Smith notes that after Hurricane Katrina struck, people chipped in with their neighbors to rebuild. “They were not looking for a handout.” Furcron espouses great admiration for the life he has built here. “I’ve been in manufacturing for 30 years, and facilities are often located in bad areas. Here in Mississippi we live and work in a seaside community with fishing, boating, and baseball and sports for families and kids.”

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Culture Mississippi culture aligns with ideals SOPREMA tries to foster in their own company culture. People feel like they are part of something, not just employees of a big corporation. They have an understanding of how their individual efforts impact the business. The loyalty the company nurtures results in a happier workforce and lower turnover.


Manufactured in Mississippi


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Manufactured in Mississippi



Glen McCullough, Jr., Takes the Reins at the Mississippi Development Authority BY MATTHEW JACKSON / FEATURED WRITER

Imagine this scenario: You are nearing the place in life where many of your peers are considering retirement; you have had a successful and fulfilling career in both the public and private sectors; you are now happily working for yourself as a consultant, helping others with the knowledge you have gained over your career. Out of nowhere you receive a phone call from the governor of your home state with a unique and challenging job offer. This is exactly what happened for Glenn McCullough, Jr., who was named as the executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) on June 8, 2015. The last six months have been a whirlwind of learning, travel, and activity, but he’s been well prepared for this new position by the course of his life.

The Life of a Man: Preparation for What Lies Ahead

Glenn McCullough, Jr., is a Mississippi native, and no matter where his life carried him, he was always proud to be from Mississippi. Says McCullough, “My wife Laura and I always considered ourselves lifelong Mississippians, even though we traveled and lived all around the country for various jobs through my career.” He attended public school in Tupelo before matriculating to Mississippi State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics. After graduation, McCullough spent 20+ years working in private industry, including with an industrial pipe business owned by his sister. In 1992, he began the second phase of his career, working in public service. McCullough’s time in public service includes a time with the Appalachian Regional Commission of the MDA (1992-1997), 5 years as the mayor of Tupelo (1997-2001), and 6 years on the board of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), appointed in 1999 by President Bill Clinton, and later named chairman of the

board by President George W. Bush (1999-2005). After leaving TVA, he had yet a third phase of his career, this time spending 10 years in private business consulting and serving on the board of several corporations Then came the call from Governor Phil Bryant, for Glenn McCullough, Jr., to become the executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority No matter what topic arises in a conversation with McCullough, he always brings his new position back to one main thought: Helping grow the economy in Mississippi is good for Mississippians. “The ultimate goal is helping Mississippians, and a healthy and growing economy that is providing better jobs is one significant way to achieve that ultimate goal.”

Vision: A Philosophy of Success

When discussing his vision for the MDA, one phrase repeats itself constantly in McCullough’s comments: “Winning performance.” He wants the department to be as successful as possible, because not only does that help Mississippi businesses, it also helps the people of our state. “When the MDA has a winning performance, then the businesses of our state win, and ultimately the people of Mississippi win.” McCullough feels that we are well positioned in this state; we have a good businesses climate, and he is committed to maintaining the type of atmosphere that attracts and grows businesses. Along with support for industry from the executive and legislative branches, other important elements of a positive business climate include low taxes, reasonable regulation and licensing, low energy costs, and other fiscally conservative practices that businesses prefer. When asked about his vision for the MDA, how he would like to see the department running during his tenure, McCullough mentions four concrete things he would like to see — achieve excellent performance in economic development, communicate clearly with partners, internal and external departmental accountability, and working better with industry partners to see industry area growth. He hopes to accomplish these goals by finding optimal leadership, developing good teams and partner relationships, and continually raising the performance bar both for himself and those around him. One of the central ingredients for economic success is finding the right businesses, organizations, and individuals with which to partner. McCullough looks for certain characteristics that help make a good partner for the MDA: “Mississippi is a family as much as a state, and we value relationships on all levels, from government to business to local community. We look for partners who will have a sense of Mississippi as home, who want to give back and reinvest in our home, and in our family.” Speaking of the manufacturing industry specifically, McCullough says “Mississippi makes things. We are proud to be manufacturers, creators. This is the type of place where a project goes from start to finish — plant a tree, care for the tree as it grows, cut it, mill it, make something from it. We’re proud to work with our hands and accomplish something real.”

The Future: Helping Mississippians Win Economically

One of the first significant steps guided by McCullough to help secure Mississippi’s economic future budget is the recent submission of a performance-based budget. The state legislature wanted to see performance-based budgets from the departments, and MDA was the first to put one together. This budget will help legislators and policymakers understand exactly how MDA is using funds to help improve areas like workforce development. Some of the key measurements of performance for the MDA will be a growing economy, a growing GDP, new and better jobs, and more Mississippians employed. Another area of specific focus for the MDA will be workforce development. They assisted the State Workforce Investment Board in putting together a comprehensive workforce development plan for Mississippi, including more vocational training centers and industry-specific training programs at community colleges. MDA is dedicated to making sure that potential employers know that Mississippi has a willing and able workforce, and if technical or vocational training is needed for certain jobs, Mississippi also has a way to ensure that can happen. The MDA also has an increasing focus on tourism in Mississippi. We had over 22 million visitors to our state in 2014. These visitors are exposed to our people, our industry, universities, manufacturing, food, and culture. Says McCullough, “People come here with certain ideas in their head, but they leave impressed, stereotypes are smashed, and good things get spread about our great state.” The state’s tourism department, Visit Mississippi, is a part of the MDA, and they are hard at work getting the word out about Mississippi as a destination spot, using forums ranging from their website,, to social media to international trade missions, and everything in between. With the very capable Glenn McCullough, Jr., at the helm, Mississippi is poised to continue her economic growth and development, expand in new areas, and establish a more promising future for all Mississippians. As McCullough repeats regularly, “A strong economy makes for growing businesses which offer people more career opportunities which, in the end, help people lead better lives all over our state. That is the future we are trying to build at the MDA — a better future for Mississippi.”

“When the MDA has a winning performance, then the businesses of our state win, and ultimately the people of Mississippi win.”

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Manufactured in Mississippi



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Manufactured in Mississippi



When dealing with agencies, be they governmental or within a specific industry, experience has taught people to expect gridlock. Rules and regulations can be difficult and tedious, with communication lapses, missed phone calls, and emails unanswered. Navigating through even the most basic regulatory circumstance quickly seems unbearable, especially for smaller companies with fewer resources. Fortunately for manufacturers in Mississippi, relationships have developed over the years between both governmental agencies and industry groups that help individual businesses tackle the unwieldy world of rules and regulations. Working together for the good of industry and the people of our state, this unofficial consortium smooths the cracks that exist in many other states. For instance, instead of being directed from one office to another while seeking a certain answer to a regulatory question, it is not uncommon for a Mississippi manufacturer to make a call and receive real help from the person on the other end, even to the point of having the answer tracked down for them across agencies. Because of this collaboration, Mississippi companies are offered many services and potential avenues that they might not discover otherwise. Glenn Ferreri of the U.S. Department of Commerce Jackson office says, “This partnership is all about respect. Whoever initiates a particular call has the lead, and then we pull each other in, as needed, for support and expertise. We use the best of what each has to offer in order to achieve the best end result for the client. This is literally one of the best teams I’ve ever

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Working Together for a Greater Good


worked with, especially when it comes to focusing on helping the client and genuinely enjoying each other’s company.” Instead of a spirit of competition, we find these partners supporting and helping each other. “Other states don’t have this,” says the Mississippi Manufacturers Association’s Shannon Hood, “this unique relationship, collaboration without competition, checking our egos at the door...this is what’s best for a strong Mississippi.” If one group has an event, multiple groups will work together to promote it, invite and bring any businesses or professionals who might benefit from attending that event. Again, the focus is not on one person or organization getting credit, but collaborating for the good of Mississippi businesses. Working together — one of many strengths of the manufacturing community in the state of Mississippi.

Partners for Mississippi

Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) The Mississippi Development Authority is the arm of Mississippi’s state-level government that is charged with the growth and development of Mississippi’s economy. MDA focuses on attracting new business to the state, retaining existing business, helping grow existing business, and promoting workforce development within the state. One of the great opportunities for partnership with and in the MDA is its great experience with project management. MDA helps coordinate with various levels of state and local governments and agencies to see that projects are able to move forward and succeed. This knowledge of facilitation, added to their intimate knowledge of the Mississippi business community, and their goal of growing business in Mississippi, makes them a willing and able partner for manufacturers, and, in fact, any business needing assistance in our state. For more information about the work of MDA, or for their projects and contacts, visit their website at Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) The Export-Import Bank of the United States has an 81year history of helping U.S. businesses grow their export business to support jobs and the American economy. The Bank primarily fulfills its congressional mandate by providing export credit insurance and working capital loan guarantees for MDA Building Jackson, MS

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businesses. The Ex-Im Bank has been remarkably successful, generating $7 billion more than its cost of operating over the past 20 years. Support from the Ex-Im Bank helps level the international playing field for the “Made in America” brand by providing much needed funding to American businesses of all sizes. In fact, a great deal of their efforts actually go to support small and medium-sized businesses. In 2014, nearly 90% of Ex-Im transactions supported small businesses. Another great SMB benefit of the Ex-Im setup is that the Bank partners with private-sector lenders for help in securing private funding — there is no competition. The Ex-Im Bank has been a significant support for Mississippi exporters. Of our $343 million in total export value in 2014, $182 million was financed or insured by the Bank. More information about the Export-Import Bank can be found on their website, World Trade Center Mississippi (WTC) The World Trade Center Association is the largest trade promotion organization in the world, with connections among over 300 World Trade Centers in 90 countries. World Trade Center Mississippi exists to assist Mississippi businesses with international trade in order to support business success and job growth in the state. Their mission statement is to promote international trade investment and tourism with the objective of providing global business connections for Mississippi through customized research, trade education, and events. They work with companies to help re-shore products, find new international markets, and supply trade information. Some of City Centre Building Jackson, MS

the primary activities of the Center include hosting international delegations, organizing seminars and conferences, and participating in business and cultural events around the world. Perhaps the single most significant service, for businesses in the state, is the research capabilities of WTC. They are able to generate custom reports, detailed analyses about their products and similar products, and export/import figures — all of which help the companies understand how to position their products and how to adequately compete and succeed in the international marketplace. In addition to helping expose the international community to what Mississippi has to offer, the WTC also offers various services to businesses in the state. The most significant of these services are trade help, educational programs, and business networking events. WTC offers educational seminars and resource assistance over a wide range of areas, including global business issues, trade restrictions, taxes, embargoes, and currencies. Other general services available to Mississippi businesses include conferencing space, help with business event planning, and translation services. To get additional information, or to contact World Trade Center Mississippi, visit them online at

1951. With a primary stated duty to serve as an advocate for over 2,100 members, the MMA seeks to represent the manufacturing industry with one united voice. The MMA works to help reduce operating costs for manufacturers and to maintain a positive environment for manufacturers in Mississippi. The MMA is vital in making connections between individual manufacturers and government/private agencies. Because of the nature of MMA’s work, they are often the focal point of collaboration between the agencies. Relationships have been built and maintained, and the degree of knowledge about manufacturing culminates in the MMA being a very powerful resource and advocate for manufacturers. The MMA also supports its members through lobbying, newsletters, an industry magazine, training seminars, networking opportunities, and a highly trained staff that is available to assist manufacturers. Their resources include help with environmental issues, employee relations, workforce development, taxes, government relations, and more. For more information, events, or to join the MMA, visit their website at

Mississippi Manufacturers Association (MMA) The Mississippi Manufacturers Association has served as the voice of manufacturing in the state of Mississippi since

Department of Commerce, Jackson Office The U.S. Department of Commerce is tasked with helping create conditions for economic growth and opportunity in the U.S. Some of the key areas of focus include promoting job creation, economic growth, development, innovation,

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“Other states don’t have this,” says MMA’s Shannon Hood, “this unique relationship, collaboration without competition, checking our egos at the door...this is what’s best for a strong Mississippi.”


trade, and investment. Every state has at least one branch of the department to specifically help growth and development in that particular state. For additional information or contacts, visit their website at Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce (MDAC) The Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce handles much more than businesses often realize. Their overarching task is regulating and promoting agricultural businesses and products within Mississippi, and also promoting all Mississippi products, even those not agricultural, throughout the U.S. and the world. As with the other agencies and groups, their ultimate goal is benefiting Mississippi and her citizens by promoting commerce. Some of the work done by the MDAC includes helping companies find manufacturers for their products in Mississippi, doing research on and for agricultural companies in Mississippi who might need help, assisting Mississippi companies export for the first time, helping obtain certificates of free sale, and helping direct non-agricultural products to the avenues they need to pursue. For more information, or to contact MDAC, visit their website at

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A Team Working Together

When a state has a consortium like the one present in Mississippi, very good things happen for business. Dignitary Reception When Counsel General Louise Blais of Canada visited Mississippi, MDA, MMA, WTC, and the Department of Commerce all partnered together to plan the activities for her visit. Several people accompanied her as she visited various companies, spending the day together and making introductions and connections. International Assistance As another example, the Department of Commerce recently had a foreign company visit to investigate a potential project on the Gulf Coast. They were able to meet with economic developers thanks to the work of the MMA. The MMA connected them with companies that could provide products and construction services, and the Department of Agriculture and Commerce connected them with suppliers. After the visit, through continued cooperation and work, more potential partners were identified. This company is scheduled to make a return visit to continue considering Mississippi as the location of their project thanks to this team cooperation, which put together all the

Compliance The consortium also helps with regulatory issues. One particular company ran across an environmental issue, resulting in fines. They made a call to the Department of Commerce on a Saturday, which then contacted MMA on their behalf. MMA was able to arrange a consultant to meet with them first thing on Monday morning. The consultant was then able to find a solution to their issue, helping them avoid costly fines. There are a multitude of other examples, but it seems sufficient to say that the cooperation we see in Mississippi is a significant benefit for the companies doing business here.

Supporting Positive Project at a Time



Manufacturing has gained enormous momentum in Mississippi over the last 20+ years. Our state has transitioned from a questionable proposition for potential investors to a strong contender for manufacturing projects of any type or scale, thanks in large part to the concerted effort of groups such as the ones featured here. Whether a company is struggling with regulatory compliance,

trying to develop their workforce, or seeking to expand operations within the state, they have a strong and consistent group of allies within the manufacturing community of Mississippi. Contacts: Shannon Hood Marketing and Membership Manager Mississippi Manufacturers Association 601-292-1127 Susan Head Grants Manager and Marketing Specialist Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce 601-359-1196 Glenn Ferreri International Trade Specialist U.S. Department of Commerce 601-760-9953 Tracy Diez Executive Director World Trade Center Mississippi 601-353-0909

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pieces the company needed. None of the agencies, working independently, could have made this complete of a presentation.


We serve the people of the Valley

to make life better.

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At TVA, we believe the heart of our mission is service to others, and we are privileged to help make life better in the Valley through: • • • •

the reliable and affordable energy we provide the jobs we help to attract and retain the mindful stewardship of the natural resources entrusted to us our role as a good neighbor in the communities in which we operate.


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Manufactured in Mississippi



What is SEUS-CP?

SEUS-CP is a partnership alliance established in 2007 with the aim of promoting trade and business opportunities between states in the southeastern U.S. and provinces in Canada. The brainchild of the governor of Georgia and the premier of Quebec, the alliance was conceived as a way to help establish business-to-business relationships, with a key focus on matchmaking. One of the major ways this has been supported is by getting leaders together annually for a series of meetings, speakers, networking, and discussion opportunities. Each year, delegates from each of the member states and provinces assemble in conference to further the goals of the alliance. The delegations are typically led by governors or premiers, and are made up of various government and business leaders from within each state or province. These conferences give business and government leaders the opportunity to meet and plan ways they can strategically work together with goals

of increased commercial relationships between member states and provinces. Each annual session is open to business leaders from across all industries. Delegations include representatives of the “featured sectors.” In order to help facilitate more “real” work, the meetings focus on several specific sectors of business. For instance, the 2014 conference favored the sectors of life sciences and health technologies; global gateways; marine, defense, and security technologies; and cleantech innovation.

Mississippi and SEUS-CP

It might surprise many Mississippians to learn that Canada is currently our state’s top international trading partner. Of our $11.4 billion in total exports to over 200 different markets in 2014, $1.8 billion was directly to Canada. For obvious reasons, Mississippi has been active in SEUS-CP from the very beginning. Under Governor Haley Barbour, Mississippi was one of the charter members of SEUS-CP, and was present at the very first alliance meeting in Montreal in 2007. Mississippi always sends a strong delegation of leaders and interested parties to the annual SEUS-CP conference. This has enabled our state to greatly increase visibility with potential trading partners. For businesses in the state, participation in SEUS-CP allows them to explore doing business export, often for the first time, since exports to Canada are slightly

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Each year, a party of delegates from Mississippi travels to the annual Southeastern United States-Canadian Provinces (SEUS-CP) Alliance conference. Mississippi is a charter member of SEUS-CP, and the relationships built and maintained through the Alliance are tangible for business activity in our state. Canada is Mississippi’s top international trading partner, so the strength of these ties is significant.


easier to work out, given existing relationships and physical proximity. Each annual conference features hundreds of meetings designed to help businesses find export paths as suppliers to larger international partners. The third annual SEUS-CP conference was hosted in Biloxi, Mississippi, in 2010. The theme of that conference was “Shared Interests, Shared Opportunities.” The industry areas of focus included advanced manufacturing, energy, and geospatial technologies. Speakers were invited to lecture on the focus industries in the areas of research and development, investment, and trade opportunities.

Bio Soil Enhancers: A SEUS-CP Success Story in the Making

The 2014 recipient of the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Exporting, Bio Soil Enhancers of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, traveled to the 2014 SEUS-CP Alliance meeting with a few specific goals in mind. At the top of their list was obtaining help in getting regulatory permission to sell their product in Canada. Running a close second was finding people who wanted to buy Bio Soil, or distribute it in Canada once the regulatory phase is completed. Louis Elwell, CEO of Bio Soil Enhancers, was highly impressed with the work they accomplished through SEUS-CP. “We met politicians and decision makers with influence who were willing and excited to help us with regulatory permissions that will allow us to sell in Canada. We were also placed into meetings with quality companies interested in distribution, and major users (including a potato grower and a timber company) who wanted to trial test our product. We sat down with people at the top levels of their businesses and government...people we never could have met with, or would have taken a very long time to connect with, if we were going through the process on our own.” Elwell was excited by the unique opportunity that SEUSCP gives companies. With both government and business leaders present and interacting, crucial input and insight from both sides was available to the participants. Since Bio Soil is a new category of product, the regulatory phase has been difficult for the company. But the contacts made in 2015 have helped them understand the process, what to say, what not to say, and how to position themselves for success in Canada. Says Elwell: “It felt like our Mississippi company was preapproved. Very large companies were there wanting to do business with us. I don’t see us positioned like that outside of SEUS-CP.”

is a problem-solving and collaborative environment.” Manufacturers meet potential suppliers, distributors, and people who can help them address issues like technical problems or supply chain difficulties. CG Blais expresses that one of the major reasons for the success of SEUS-CP is the work put in before each gathering. “We sit down with companies to find out what types of issues they have — tech, supply, distribution, etc. — and then our recruiting for the meetings can focus on solving those issues. The meetings we set up will put companies who can solve problems for each other together.” SEUS-CP also provides a showcase for the scope of the business relationship between Canada and the southeastern states. The scope and complexity of the relationship is often not understood, and bringing together business leaders from both areas not only helps in the practical way of strategic matchmaking, but also in the less tangible but incredibly important way of building mutual understanding. CG Blais looks forward to connecting with companies at the annual SEUS-CP meetings, saying that the “consulate is very present and active, facilitating relationships, making connections in business and with policymakers, and helping companies wanting to do business in and with Canada.”

It might surprise many Mississippians to learn that Canada is currently our state’s top international trading partner

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Partnerships are Growing

SEUS-CP has given Mississippi, and all its members, a unique opportunity for exploring potential new business partnerships, while also affording a space for strengthening existing ties and building new relationships. Outside of encouraging mutual trust and understanding, the business-to-business potential of SEUS-CP is its single most enduring, and important, trait. As CG Blais puts it: “There is a lot of untapped potential in this relationship, and SEUS-CP is one of the best tools for maximizing that potential, and helping the relationships continue to grow and be strong for the benefit of all involved.”

A Canadian Perspective on SEUS-CP

Consul General (CG) of Canada in Atlanta, Louise Blais, who works with six southeastern states, including Mississippi, feels it is important that businesses understand the activity that takes place at the annual meetings. “This is not a trade show. It is really a customized business-to-business gathering where businesses can meet other companies, policy and decision makers in government, economic development

Consul General of Canada in Atlanta, Louise Blais

If your company is interested in learning more about SEUS-CP, or in participating in the 2016 conference in Nashville, contact: Vickie Watters Martin Canada & Trade Manager International Trade Office, Global Business Division Mississippi Development Authority P. O. Box 849 Jackson, Mississippi 39205 USA Phone: +1-601-359-2070 Email: SEUS-CP website:

Southeastern United States - Canadian Provinces Alliance Members

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2016 SEUS-CP Alliance Meeting Dates: May 26-28 2016 Host: SEUS-CP Alliance member Nashville, Tennessee Favored sectors: coming soon Theme: coming soon Watch the SEUS-CP website and press releases from MDA or contact Vickie Watters Martin for more information.




Raspet Flight Laboratory, Mississippi State University — Starkville, Mississippi

A growing list of global companies call Mississippi home. Centrally positioned in the country’s fastest growing region, Mississippi provides industries with a strong competitive advantage, including a highly productive workforce, a welcoming business climate and a strong network of research university partnerships. The state’s robust infrastructure and available site inventory make Mississippi a prime location for today’s companies searching for tomorrow’s business solutions. Opportunities await. Find out more at

© Mississippi Development Authority 2015

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U.S. Department of Transportation MARAD Report, 2013




in the world for




OIL & GAS AUTOMOTIVE Fraser Institute, 2014

Business Facilities, 2015

With a focus on safety, quality and sustainability, approximately 1,200 Caterpillar employees operate within five facilities in Corinth and Booneville. These locations remanufacture engines and large engines components, in addition to providing core inspection, dealer support, salvage development and logistics services. The Caterpillar Remanufacturing Operation returns end-of-life components to “same-as-when-new” condition in terms of reliability, durability and performance. Remanufacturing reduces waste, minimizes the need for raw materials to produce new parts and supports the Caterpillar value proposition of providing customers with the lowest life cycle cost over the life of a product.

Photo by SB Photography

A proud member of the community since 1982, Caterpillar and its employees support the United Way, Northeast Mississippi Community College, area schools and other charitable and civic organizations. In 2011, the company recognized its Mississippi remanufacturing facilities with the Caterpillar Foundation Community Service Award. In 2014, Corinth hosted the Caterpillar Executive Office and Board of Directors for the company’s Annual Shareholders Meeting.

Wise Counsel. Proven Advocacy. Real Solutions. At Taggart, Rimes & Graham,

1022 Highland Colony Pkwy, Ste 101, Ridgeland, MS 39157 • 601-898-8400 •

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we believe that integrity, respect for our clients, and 21st century productivity are not mutually exclusive values. We also realize that, above all, clients want answers, not equivocation. So, if real solutions – not legal speak – is what you are after, Taggart, Rimes & Graham, PLLC is ready to partner with you.



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There is more than one way to save lives. The Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services (MDRS) has built a team and a coalition of businesses and organizations that work toward common goals — helping to rehabilitate individuals who are disabled from birth, disabled by injury, or have developed a disabling condition. At the same time, they are working to prevent injuries that are disabling. MDRS accomplishes these goals through empowerment, self reliance, jobs, and education. With the help of the MDRS, individuals challenged by disability are often able to achieve greater self reliance and even make joining the workforce a real option. This agency is able to use common-sense solutions to create more positive outcomes for all involved.

Injuries and Disabilities Happen

Every year people in Mississippi are born with disabilities. Others have their lives changed by disabling injury. Our citizens face challenges of living with blindness, deafness, and other physical disabilities, as well as those that affect brain function, such as autism. Most outside observers do not see past the disability. However, the disability does not define the person, nor does it define all of their struggles or abilities. Life-changing disabilities affect more than just one’s body. Beyond the disability there is a want to feel productive and contribute — to have a meaningful life. Taking Ownership It is human nature to want to live up to one’s potential. It is a matter of dignity and respect. There are many individu-

Fall & Winter 2015

A Deeper Understanding


als who have the ability and drive to be a part of the working community, or can become able to take care of themselves, and can live in their own home without 24-hour assistance. However, they may need a little help, guidance, and support to get there. It is these individuals that the MDRS reaches out to and embraces with assistance, resources, and connections that enable them to participate in the workforce and live more independent lives.

Focus on Ability

The MDRS, along with its partners, works diligently to make sure that those who are able are not underestimated. Says Executive Director Chris Howard, “Our counselors do amazing work. We affect people’s lives every day. And, we do it by focusing on the ability, rather than the disability. “There are vital people being overlooked every day. They are able to help themselves when given the opportunity. In many cases, they are even able to go to work. It is a matter of dignity and respect. And, it is financially beneficial for the individual and the state.”

Individual Empowerment

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home rather than in a nursing home see savings in Medicaid costs and an increased quality of life. The irony is that there is a waiting list of disabled individuals wanting to reside at home. In June 2015, there were around 1,500 people on the list. Since July 1, 2015, MDRS has helped place over 1,100 individuals back in their residences, has reduced referral time, and decreased the average size of the rotation in the waiting list to 400-600 individuals. This is getting more people into more independent living situations faster, which is a benefit to all parties involved. Assisting Individuals in Getting Back to Work Whether the person is working from home or on a job location, MDRS is helping disabled individuals be able to work in Mississippi. For example, individuals working through the MDRS have gained valuable work experience packaging bullets for Winchester in Oxford, doing woodworking and construction of deer stands, pallets, and dog houses in Starkville, and building crab traps on the coast. It is individuals from the MDRS-influenced workforce who maintain the lawns and provide the janitorial services at the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Gulfport

Workforce Empowerment

Recognizing the ability in a person is the first step in a journey that benefits the individual, the economy, and the taxpayers of the state. When a person is disabled, their level of ability will vary. To realize their potential, it is imperative that they are not written off. MDRS helps people live more independently.

The MDRS brings strategic partnerships and programs to bear in order to prepare an individual and maximize their potential. Both the programs and the partners work toward common goals with common measures, and all are on a mission to drive the workforce in Mississippi.

Home and Community-Based Waiver Programs Traditionally, some who become significantly disabled are relocated to a nursing home. However, many of those individuals would much prefer to be able to take care of themselves at home, without assistance or with the assistance of a personal care attendant. Affording a person the dignity to manage as much of their own life as possible is not only ethically the right thing to do, it also only carries about one third the cost. Annual costs for an individual in a nursing home may run $80,000. Assistance provided by a personal care attendant may only cost $20,000-$25,000. People who can reside at

Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA) Through the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act, MDRS is able to help facilitate a combined plan to help individuals achieve their best level of performance in a skilled job. The federal act is designed to help fund efforts at the state level to develop the workforce. It supports real-world educational and workforce development opportunities through On the Job (OTJ) training, incumbent worker, customized training, pay-for-performance contracts, and sector and pathway strategies. The act promotes creating smaller, more agile,

The four major components of WIOA are: • Title 1 - Workforce Program • Title 2 - Adult Education • Title 3 - Employment Security • Title 4 - Vocational Rehabilitation Funding is also addressed in the WIOA. Ultimately, the MDRS is approximately 90% federally funded, with the balance coming from the state of Mississippi. Strategic Partnerships Strategic partners in the workforce development community are essential. Some of the organizations the MDRS partners with include: The Department of Human Services (DHS) The DHS is involved in providing assistance to families in need through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The Department of Education (DOE) The DOE is involved in facilitating individuals benefiting from the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (CTEA), first authorized in 1984, and passed into law August 12, 2006. The intent of the act is to increase the quality of technical education in the United States. It provides local funding for programs of study that link academic and technical content in secondary and postsecondary education programs. The Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) The MDA assists in connecting industry and business with the workforce being developed through the efforts of MDRS, its partners, and specifically the individuals stepping up and wanting to participate in the workforce community. Last fiscal year, 24,261 Mississippians with disabilities were served by MDRS. That service equates to jobs, independence, decreased state expenses, and an unmeasurable amount of dignity and well being.

An Ounce of Prevention

The MDRS administers the Spinal Cord Trust Fund as part of a mission to raise awareness and ultimately prevent life-changing spinal injuries. These injuries do not just occur as a result of random car accidents. They also occur in activities that many Mississippians take part in regularly, and

unfortunately, people are generally unaware of the real risks and sometimes severe consequences. Football concussions, texting and driving vehicular accidents, bicycle accidents, and horse-riding accidents all happen, and many can be avoided or reduced with equipment and common sense. As part of an awareness and prevention campaign, the organization has been sponsoring bicycle safety helmets to kids It is a way to raise awareness through helmet safety education and potentially prevent an injury to any child wearing a helmet in an accident. They have been distributing helmets since 2010, and reached their goal of 100,000 on December 2, 2015. Howard puts it simply by stating that preventing injury is the biggest savings in life, as well as lifetime expense. “Providing helmets to kids, raising awareness, and helping develop good safety habits is one easy thing we can do.”

ON A Mission

The MDRS has broad-reaching responsibilities, but ultimately they are a state agency that helps Mississippi citizens with disabilities live more independently, while also acting as a kind of employment agency for those individuals who are able to work. Says Howard, “We know we can affect change. We are already doing it. Our goal is to be the best agency in the country for serving and empowering people with disabilities. We are breaking misconceptions and the stereotype that people who are disabled cannot contribute. People of disability can contribute and perform jobs effectively.” Mississippi is a people state. It is known for taking care of its own, and demonstrates that regularly. Mississippi consistently ranks as one of the most charitable states, despite being one of the poorest. When Hurricane Katrina hit the coast, Mississippi picked itself up by its bootstraps and got to work, without waiting for outside assistance or handouts. Neighbors were helping neighbors. Neighboring cities were helping neighboring cities. In Mississippi, we help people help themselves. That is precisely what the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services does, across communities and across government and private organizations. If you would like to learn more about participating in employer or employee opportunities here in Mississippi, call 800-443-1000, or visit the MDRS website at Executive Director Chris Howard was developed and groomed for the Executive Director position by former Executive Director Butch McMillan, who was a celebrated leader. Howard, a Mississippi State graduate, came to MDRS from a State Auditor position. Before taking on the Executive Director position, Howard served as Director of Internal Audit, Director of Finance, and Deputy Executive Director.

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strategic workforce development boards at the local level to implement the workforce development initiatives.


Manufactured in Mississippi



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Manufactured in Mississippi



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Manufactured in Mississippi




Learn more at


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Every day, more than 160 men and women in Meridian, Mississippi, come to work knowing that what they do has far-reaching impact. From assembling C-130J Super Hercules transports for our armed forces and for countries around the globe – to volunteering in local neighborhoods – their work helps keep nations secure and their hometown’s economy growing.


Manufactured in Mississippi



The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) are engaged in their own “executive actions” to implement union- and employee-friendly policies at the expense of employers. Here’s what you need to know about NLRB elections, NLRB “joint employer” rules, and coming changes to DOL’s overtime exemption rules.

Plan A: Eliminate the Secret Ballot Union Election

EXPERT EA ARTICLE This Editorial is Provided

by an Industry Expert

Fall & Winter 2015

Regional offices of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) have conducted secret ballot elections in Mississippi, in response to union representation petitions, for over sixty years. Early in this administration, a union-friendly Congress tried its best to dispense with those elections through a bill called the “Employee Free Choice Act.” Had it passed, the NLRB could have compelled employers to bargain with unions based on covert card-signing campaigns, so that, despite the bill’s name, the employees would never hear the employer’s side of the argument. It was a close run thing, but EFCA failed.


Manufactured in Mississippi


Beginning in April 2015, the NLRB, a five-member commission (three Democrats, two Republicans), decided to cut in half, roughly, the time between the union petition and the employee vote. A union might spend a year or more secretly organizing a workforce, then file a petition knowing that the targeted employer will have only days to identify and counter its messaging. In New Orleans, Region 15, for example, records of recent filings published online suggest that elections have normally been held within three weeks after a petition is filed. Now would be a good time for nonunion employers to communicate to workers about union representation. Later may be too late.

Potential Control of Contractor Employees Makes You Their “Joint Employer.”

Regulating employment conditions is a key to political control of a market economy. The NLRB has made a game-changing decision in Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc., 362 NLRB No. 186 (August 27, 2015). Under prior law, mostly undisturbed for many decades, two or more employers that co-determine wages, hours, and working conditions had labor law obligations to the jointly controlled employees, and their union, regardless of whose payroll they were on. Franchisors, site owners, manufacturers, and others knew, roughly, where to draw the line, involving themselves minimally, if at all, in the employment practices of their franchisees, contractors, and staffing firms. The NLRB obliterated all those lines by changing the test from control to potential control of employees. In the words of the Board majority – We will no longer require that a joint employer not only possess the authority to control employees’ terms and conditions of employment, but also exercise that authority. Reserved authority to control terms and conditions of employment, even if not exercised, is clearly relevant to the joint employment inquiry. As the Supreme Court has observed, the question is whether one statutory employer “possess[es] sufficient control over the work of the employees to qualify as a joint employer with” another employer. Nor will we require that, to be relevant to the joint employer inquiry, a statutory employer’s control must be exercised directly and immediately. If otherwise sufficient, control exercised indirectly, such as through an intermediary, may establish joint employer status.. (Decision at p. 2, footnotes omitted.) In other words, the ability to control employees or employment practices will do, whether or not it is exercised. Thus, a union can force a small contractor and its moneyed customer to the bargaining table together and tag the customer with financial responsibility for the contractor’s labor law mistakes. This decision bodes ill for small, unionized contractors seeking such relationships.

Exempt Employee Salaries More Than Doubled

In the July 6, 2015, Federal Register, DOL’s Wage and Hour

Division published its plan to more than double the minimum salary requirement for an employee’s overtime exemption under 29 C.F.R. Part 541. The extended comment period for that proposal closed on September 4, 2015. We expect the rules to be finalized substantially as proposed. If so, beginning in early 2016, probably, and with specific limitations and modifications, the following changes will be put into effect.

• The current annual salary minimum will rise from $23,660 to $50,440, with inflation adjustments thereafter.

• Exemption from $50,440 to an annual salary of $122,148

will be subject to a duties test which may be tightened-up.

• At and above an annual salary of $122,148, exemption will be permitted if the employee performs any exempt duty.

DOL marshaled loads of data to support its view that these changes will right the wrong of employer misclassification and grow the middle class, largely assuming that employers will respond by boosting to the new exemption levels the salaries of currently exempt employees. We suspect that DOL has underestimated the number of employers who will forfeit the exemptions and manage supervisor overtime as they have always managed overtime. Supervisors may not like the new workplace order.

Taking Action — Employer Response

Each of these agency actions may be reversed, as soon as 2017, by a new president and his or her new appointees, with or without help from the next Congress. Live by executive action; die by executive action. Until then, employers will be challenged to adapt, improvise, and overcome.

R. Pepper Crutcher, Jr., General Counsel to the Mississippi Manufacturers Association, has served employers and allied trade and professional groups for over thirty years. Crutcher’s litigation docket normally includes labor arbitrations, administrative proceedings and discrimination, retaliation, compensation, and employment contract suits. Crutcher has been rated “AV” by Martindale Hubbell® and since 2004 and has been selected to be included in Chambers USA America’s Leading Lawyers for Business: The Client’s Guide (Employment, Mississippi). He is listed in The Best Lawyers in America for Intellectual Property Law and Labor & Employment Law. Crutcher is a regular speaker and writer on the topics of employer, broker, and insurer ACA compliance.

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Plan B: Ambush Elections


POLYMER SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING Education • Research • Outreach • Workforce Development • Commercial Application • Analysis and Testing

The field of polymer science and engineering is a vibrant contributor to the national and state economy. Polymers are ubiquitous in almost every aspect of modern life, and advances in polymer science and engineering enable scientific and technological breakthroughs in a wide range of technical applications. From the building blocks of life, with biopolymers such as proteins, carbohydrates and DNA, advances in biopolymer research are enabling medical treatments that could only be imagined a few years ago. Polymer blends, composites and nanocomposites enable development of energy-efficient vehicles and advanced military “stealth” aircraft. Polymer science is a cornerstone of emerging nanotechnology developments, enabling advancements in alternative fuel technologies such as batteries, photovoltaic solar cells, fuel cells and microelectronics advancements. Polymers are used in paints and coatings, adhesives, textiles and fabrics, as food additives, in cosmetics, as building materials, and in many other applications. With all of this in mind, it is not surprising that over 60% of chemists and chemical engineers work in polymer-related fields.

SCHOOL OF POLYMERS AND HIGH PERFORMANCE MATERIALS The School of Polymers and High Performance Materials at The University of Southern Mississippi is nationally and internationally recognized for the achievements of our faculty members, level of research excellence, and the quality of our students. Since being established in 1970, the program has grown to one with millions of dollars of external funding each year from federal and industrial sources. By the nature of the courses we offer and the research focus of our faculty members, we provide the specific knowledge base and highly

relevant experience that makes graduates of the School of Polymers and High Performance Materials at The University of Southern Mississippi some of the most highly sought after students in the industry.

EDUCATION The school offers degree programs leading to the Bachelor of Science in polymer science; Bachelor of Science in polymer science and engineering; Master of Science in polymer science and engineering; and Doctor of Philosophy in polymer science and engineering. Coursework at all levels encourages the development of critical thinking skills along with a polymer knowledge base that prepares graduates for workforce positions in industry or continuing their education. Furthermore, ample informal learning opportunities exist within the School of Polymers and High Performance Materials that enable our students to expand their knowledge and viewpoints beyond the classroom and research labs.

RESEARCH As a research-centered program, students in every program gain hands-on experience working with sponsored projects under the supervision of our world-class faculty. Research projects are sponsored by private foundations, government entities and industrial sponsors. In fact, over 30% of the research being performed in the School of Polymers and High Performance Materials is supported by industry.

The Mississippi Polymer Institute is the outreach service of the School of Polymers and High Performance Materials. The institute was created to serve Mississippi’s industries, utilizing the vast resources at both the institute and the school, with the specific focus of providing capabilities and services that allow businesses to grow and thus impact employment in the state. AA/EOE/ADAI

TECHNICAL SERVICES The Mississippi Polymer Institute is an ISO 17025 accredited, full-service testing resource for companies needing physical or analytical services from an impartial third party. From identification of unknown contaminates to routine physical measurements, the analytical and physical testing capabilities available provide a broad solution point for Mississippi businesses. The Institute also provides product development support to businesses. We can help you with material selection, formulation and optimization, product scale-up, and other new product needs. MPI is also happy to connect you to manufacturing resources throughout the state that can produce your new product.

WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT Workforce development at MPI is specifically focused and designed to improve the overall profitability of businesses. Covering a wide range of polymer processing techniques, such as injection molding and extrusion, to process improvements through lean manufacturing and advanced topics such as high performance composites, MPI provides the solutions to address advanced manufacturing needs. Working in conjunction with the School of Polymers and High Performance Materials, a network of 11 polymer

For more information on the School of Polymers and High Performance Materials, visit our website at www. or contact us at 601.266.4868.

UC 73238.5183


science programs in high schools have been developed within Mississippi. These programs are specifically focused on providing students with a fundamental background in advanced manufacturing topics. In addition, students have hands-on opportunities such as job shadowing.

3D PRINTING/RAPID PROTOTYPING Since 1995, MPI has provided advanced prototype production to Mississippi businesses. Utilizing a high-precision, multiple material-capable 3D printer, MPI provides advanced prototype and additive manufacturing capabilities. In addition, MPI also provides broad support services, such as laser scanning and solid model Computer Aided Design (CAD) services. These services are available to both businesses and individuals.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SUPPORT As business improvement and job growth are the focus of the institute, MPI also assists economic development agencies around the state. For local, regional and state-wide agencies, MPI serves as a technical resource for agencies around Mississippi. From research and development, to workforce development, to testing and application, Polymer Science and Engineering at USM provides the support high-tech businesses need.

To learn more about MPI, visit our website at or contact us at 601.266.4607.

Manufactured in Mississippi



EXPERT EA ARTICLE This Editorial is Provided

by an Industry Expert

Fall & Winter 2015

In November of last year, our state was rocked by the stunning news that long-time Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) Commissioner Chris Epps was resigning from office under indictment for federal corruption charges. Not long afterward, Epps and local businessman and former legislator Cecil McCrory pled guilty to felony charges that detailed a shockingly simple scheme of kickbacks and bribes paid to Epps in return for MDOC contract business for companies owned by or represented by McCrory.


competitive bid process, knew that their work was in the Task Force’s spotlight.

Straight to Work

Once the entire membership of the Task Force was named on November 21, 2014, the Task Force immediately set to work, and convened three times between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, submitting a detailed set of written preliminary recommendations to Governor Bryant on December 31. The Task Force’s primary focuses in submitting its recommendations were the safeguarding of taxpayer dollars and significant movement toward restoring the confidence of the people of Mississippi in the operations of their state government in the wake of the MDOC corruption scandal.

Reaching Out

Taking Action

Immediately following the indictments, on November 7, 2014, Governor Phil Bryant created by executive order No. 1346 an oversight body that he named the “Task Force on Contracting and Procurement in the Mississippi Department of Corrections.” The governor named the author of this article and former Hinds County Circuit Judge Robert Gibbs as co-chairmen of the Task Force, to which the governor also named former Attorney General Mike Moore, former Assistant Secretary of State Constance Slaughter-Harvey, and former legislator and IHL board member Bill Crawford. By letter on November 14, 2014, Governor Bryant broadened the scope of his earlier executive order, and charged the Task Force with the work of performing a comprehensive review of all contracts for goods and services and all details of the contracting and procurement process at MDOC. The governor called for a preliminary written report by December 31, 2014, and a final written report at the conclusion of the work of the Task Force, which was left open-ended. Vendors and prospective vendors to all agencies of state government, not only those doing business with MDOC, were understandably focused on the work of the Task Force. Those who were conducting business in compliance with state law and best practices had an understandable concern that their legitimate contracts not be undermined. And, of course, those whose contracts were suspect, either because of having been named in the federal indictments or obtained outside the

The Task Force held regular meetings to gather input from agency heads and staff, as well as public hearings attended by many citizens, and in the process received many hours of comment from family members of inmates, from vendors, and from prospective vendors. In addition, the Task Force was inundated with letters, telephone calls, and email messages detailing concerns of people doing business with or who had family members in the custody of MDOC. Many of the issues raised by public comment were not within its purview, but the Task Force considered them significant and worthy of consideration, nonetheless, because they touched on the administration of both contractual and custodial issues by MDOC.

Broader Implications for Companies Doing Work for the State

MMA members will be interested in a number of the final recommendations of the Task Force, since much of the work of the Task Force will likely have effects not only in the procurement practices of MDOC, but of other state agencies as well. Indeed, the 2015 regular session of the legislature implemented a number of the preliminary recommendations of the Task Force, imposing a higher level of scrutiny and oversight for state government contracting and procurement in all agencies. Although many recommendations focus on personal and professional services contracts, many also have direct implications for contracts for manufactured goods and related services. In its final recommendations, submitted to Governor Bryant on June 26, the Task Force urged the following changes, all of which are designed to impose greater transparency, more even-handed competition, and a higher level of review of state procurement practices. Among other items included in its final report, the Task Force recommended to Governor Bryant that:

“The State... has a legitimate and powerful interest in protecting the reputations of honest, hard-working business owners and state employees, most of whom go to work every day just trying to do their jobs as best they can.”

State Auditor or Ethics Commission) to conduct financial status reviews of state agency heads at least every four years, with potential problems reported to the attorney general for investigation. Additionally, more detailed annual financial disclosure should be required of state agency heads.

Sealing the Breach

One unfortunate truth about the way government does business is that it often takes the occurrence of some great crisis to move government to action. In the case of the corruption of the contracting process at MDOC, it is particularly troubling that technical requirements of the State’s procurement practice were all actually followed – and the taxpayers were nonetheless bilked out of over a million dollars, at least that we know. In the wake of this crisis, though, our State’s policy makers in both the executive and legislative branches have been refocused on contracting and procurement as an area that calls for constant vigilance. The State has a legitimate and powerful interest in protecting the public trust that comes with the management of taxpayers’ dollars. The State also has a legitimate and powerful interest in protecting the reputations of honest, hard-working business owners and state employees, most of whom go to work every day just trying to do their jobs as best they can. [1]A net-of-fee contract is one for which revenues generated through the contract pay the costs incurred by the contractor (i.e., no state funds are expended out of pocket).

A founding partner in Taggart, Rimes & Graham, Andy Taggart was previously a partner in the state’s largest law firm and has held an “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell® for fifteen years. Taggart’s practice is focused in the areas of business and corporate counsel, transactions and strategies; healthcare; selected litigated matters; and government, elections, and political law. Taggart has served on numerous boards and committees, has twice been a gubernatorial appointee, and was Co-Chairman of the Mississippi Department of Corrections Task Force on Contract Review and Procurement in 2014. Taggart is highly published, including two popular books, which he co-authored: Mississippi Politics: The Struggle for Power, and Mississippi Fried Politics: Tall Tales from the Back Rooms.

Fall & Winter 2015

1. The State require contractual warranties and representations from each vendor entering into a personal or professional service contract with a state agency that no consultant has been or is to be retained by the vendor in connection with the securing of the contract or the provision of goods or services under the contract, or, if a consultant has been retained by the vendor, fully identifying by name, services provided and fee paid to and received by each consultant retained by the vendor, in a manner similar to reporting requirements for lobbyists and lobbyists’ clients under Mississippi law. 2. The State require contractual warranties and representations from each vendor entering a personal or professional service contract with a state agency, identifying by name and address each principal of the vendor owning or controlling a greater than 5% interest in the vendor’s business. 3. The State require all businesses desiring to enter into personal or professional service contracts with the State to register as vendors with the Secretary of State. Demonstration of proof of registration should be required of prospective vendors at the beginning of any procurement process. 4. The State require that MDOC become a “certified purchasing office.” This certification requires that at least half the staff in an agency’s purchasing department receive national certification and for all staff to attend annual training. After reviewing a number of MDOC RFPs during its term of service, the Task Force believes the RFP process at MDOC needs improvement. Obtaining “certified purchasing office” should be part of that improvement. The PSCRB should consider requiring this certification for all agencies that issue complex and/or costly RFPs. 5. The newly reconstituted State Personal Service Contract Review Board should conduct a comprehensive review of existing procurement rules and the development of recommendations for improvement. In particular, the board should provide for diligent review of agency RFP evaluations and awards. 6. The State eliminate all statutory exemptions from the bid process for MDOC contracts totaling $75,000 or more, or that the Governor by executive order require MDOC to use the competitive bid process even where not statutorily required. 7. The State grant the State Personal Service Contract Review Board or other appropriate agency authority to review and approve agency “net-of-fee” contracts.[1] At this time, contracts of this nature, such as the MDOC commissary contract in effect at the time the Task Force was commissioned by the governor, do not come under the authority of any contract review agency. 8. The State require an appropriate state agency (e.g., Office of


Manufactured in Mississippi


You manage your company. Let us manage your energy. Besides providing your company with dependable and efficient natural gas, Atmos Energy can help with energy solutions and timely information. We offer personalized service and online energy tools, plus equipment rebates and incentives to help reduce your energy consumption and improve your bottom line. As your natural gas company, we are your partner in energy management.

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10/28/15 4:24 PM

Simpson County Health Care Zone Master Plan See the complete Master Plan at

Fall & Winter 2015

• The Simpson County Health Care Zones center on Simpson General Hospital in Mendenhall and Magee General Hospital in Magee. • The 50-mile radius around Magee reaches to both Jackson and Hattiesburg and includes 28% of the state’s population. • Incentives for the development of healthcare-related businesses are available under the Mississippi Health Care Act of 2012 as well as from local governments.


Manufactured in Mississippi


Technology changes, and marketing technology has been changing dramatically for 15 years. That doesn’t change the goals that have always been in place. Help people find you and give them a predictable, great experience with your company, product, and service.

EXPERT EA ARTICLE This Editorial is Provided

by an Industry Expert

Fall & Winter 2015



Marketing has changed more in the last five years than in the last four decades. Get ready, because we are in the throes of a revolution.

When it comes to running your business, the only area that has changed as much as information technology (IT) is marketing. It turns out that they share a common driver that is spurring on their change. That common driver is technology. You market where people consume media. You market using technologies that people use. It is not that we hate technologies like the Yellow Pages, it is that we just don’t use them anymore, or we use them differently. People now use Google ubiquitously. People also spend a

great deal of time online in general. Email, shopping, sharing pictures, social media, quick lookups, and research are all happening online through any Internet-enabled device.

In Spite of Change, the Same Fundamental Rules Apply

While it is easy to focus on changes in technology and communication, they are not the driving force for your business. They are a means to an end. Here are two rules that can help you maintain direction and perspective. Using these rules as a guide, much of the rest can fall in place despite the massive changes going on around you.

Rule 1: People Need to be Able to Find You

You do have to stay current. People change. Societies change. The way we access information and communicate changes. Today that means having a website, optimizing your site for search engines, and having a presence on social media, at a minimum. Many traditional marketing methods still apply as well. Having an article in a newspaper, magazine, or journal still has great impact. However, being in yellow page directories has lost its impact now that people choose to use Google, often from the convenience of their smartphones. If you are not current, then people will not be able to find you or learn about your business.

Rule 2: People Need to Have a Good Experience with Your Company, Product, and/or Services

Manufactured in Mississippi 90

Finding your business has always been a first step to business success, and that has not changed. But, once people find you, then what? You can make use of the latest and greatest technologies and advertising to get people to your door or to your website, but if they have a bad experience then it was all for naught. Focusing on the customer experience has always been critical to business success. Customer experience should be predictable It should be at the heart of all of your evaluation practices; that includes the people behind your counter as well as the website or digital media representing your company 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. A website that looks pretty and works on a smartphone means nothing if it does nothing. Everything representing your business, from a logo, to a business card, to a phone call, to a social post, should move the customer “conversation” forward. Customers need to be educated, guided, and empowered to better understand your company, product, and service on their terms, not just yours. The best businesses fold this ideology into their company cultures. The best marketing companies understand this rule and use it to great advantage.

The World Changes. But, Not All of It.

Marketing your company is clearly different today than it has been for decades. Today, we do not use phone directories or libraries like we have in the past. We use websites, email, mobile apps, Facebook, YouTube, Google+, Twitter, and a host of other methods to communicate and advocate our businesses. Today, we have to be able to be found on Google “to

be found.� But, we still read magazines, and we still watch billboards as we drive down the road. Televisions still have dedicated spaces in our homes. The quality of your product and service is still fundamental. The way you interact with your clients and customers matters. While the technologies and practices that are required in marketing are vastly more involved and complicated than they were ten years ago, the costs have not risen in step. Because of the technology, you can get a lot more bang for your dollar, in many ways, than you could in the past.

Guide it. Use the same good business principles you have used for decades, only apply them to today’s marketing environment. Your company will be in good stead as long as good business acumen leads the way.

Move Forward

Bryan Carter is president of Think Webstore, a media production and integrated marketing agency, based in Ridgeland, Mississippi, dedicated to helping companies realize marketing, branding, social, and online strategies. Prior to founding Think Webstore, Carter worked for IBM, AT&T, and NCR in multimedia, interactive learning, and organization development, and has consulted with multiple Fortune 500 companies, including Home Depot, ETS, and Citigroup in the areas of ecommerce, e-learning, and e-business transformation. A recognized industry author, Carter is an invited speaker on a range of topics including intrinsic motivation, interactive media strategies, user experience engineering, organization development, marketing, and advertising.

Fall & Winter 2015

As has always been the case, you need to be current to be relevant. Someone in your company, or someone helping your company, must have the expertise to achieve the same goals of connecting with your customers and providing a great customer experience. Great leaders recognize the goal and enable the execution. Don’t be afraid of, or intimidated by, change.



• Property available for construction (Aeronautical use only) • Parcels have ramp and airfield access • Contact Don Shepley at 228-863-5951

Manufactured in Mississippi 92

Since 1984, Pine Grove has remained committed to being a leader in healing and changing lives, providing the highest quality behavioral health and addiction treatment services available…because

Life is for Living

1-888-574-HOPE 2255 Broadway Drive Hattiesburg, MS 39402

Fall & Winter 2015



There’s a new blue collar...

Train for high skill, high wage jobs. Diesel Equipment Technology Heating & Air Conditioning Industrial Maintenance Machine Tool Technology Welding & Cutting Architectural Engineering Electrical Technology


1.800.HINDSCC Hinds Community College offers equal education and employment opportunities and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability or veteran status in its programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Dr. Debra Mays-Jackson, Vice President for the Utica and Vicksburg-Warren Campuses and Administrative Services, 34175 Hwy. 18, Utica, MS 39175; 601.885.7002.

Manufactured in Mississippi 94


MMA Insurance Services was created by manufacturers, for manufacturers and is run by a board of directors composed of manufacturers. Obtaining your insurance coverages from multiple sources is time consuming and often more expensive. MMA has a superior partner in Berkley Southeast Insurance Group. By teaming with Berkley SIG, MMA is able to offer multiple coverages at affordable pricing for qualified members. Because of the combined strengths of both organizations, we now offer: • MULTI-STATE COVERAGES • COMMERCIAL PROPERTY • AUTO LIABILITY • PRODUCT LIABILITY • GENERAL LIABILITY • UNPARALLELED CLAIMS AND LOSS CONTROL SERVICES To see if the Association can benefit your company with competitive pricing AND the highest level of services, ask your agent for a quote from MMA or contact: Renee Johnson • • (601) 573-3636 Melissa Saxton • • (601) 292-1120

W e S u p p o rt M i S S i S S i p p i ’ S i n d e p e n d e n t i n S u r a n c e a g e n t S 720 N o rt h P r e s i d e N t s t r e e t • J a c k s o N , M i s s i s s i P P i 39202 • (601) 948-1222

Fall & Winter 2015

For more information, visit:


FRANKLIN FURNITURE INSTITUTE growing the furniture & home furnishings industries through research, teaching, & service Manufactured in Mississippi 96


Zeroing in

on cancer. Increasing

Conventional chemotherapy fights cancer but also destroys healthy cells throughout the body. Now, UMMC researchers Dr. Drazen Raucher and Dr. Lee Bidwell have developed a new alternative. Their method uses biopolymers and mild heat to deliver anticancer drugs directly to a tumor without affecting the rest of the body. This targeted approach results in lower doses, fewer treatments and reduced side effects. The therapy, now in pre-clinical trials, may open the door to treating tumors deemed too risky for conventional chemotherapy and unlock new hope for cancer patients everywhere. Learn more at

HOPE for


Š2015 UMMC

Fall & Winter 2015

UMMC Research. Tomorrow. Every day.


WE ARE SHIPBUILDERS For more than 76 years, we – the men and women of Ingalls Shipbuilding – have come together not only to build the best quality ships in the world, but to build so much more. Manufactured in Mississippi




Communities…families…futures. That’s what we build.


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