Manufactured in Mississippi || Issue 1 || Spring-Summer 2015

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Spring & summer 2015

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Manufactured in Mississippi 2

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Spring & summer 2015



Letter from the Editor Manufacturing is a core industry in Mississippi. Our manufacturers benefit from legislative and public support, as well as from the Mississippi Manufacturer’s 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 Manufacturer’s 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 Sweta Desai, Chance Shelton Photography Sweta Desai, Chance Shelton, Bryan Carter

Manufactured in Mississippi 2

Advertising Director Fran Nause Riddell 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 does not constitute an endorsement for products or services by the publisher.

Content 08 14 22 26

Higher Standards Calibrating Critical Equipment and Empowering Lives

Sanderson Farms A Legacy of Leadership

Preparing for Financial Due Diligence as a Business Seller Assisting the buyer by preparing for due diligence can help ensure a smooth, rewarding sale of your business.

Making the Mold From prototype to production — United Plastic Molders spans three generations of turning concepts into real products.


34 42 50 58 64 70



The New Markets Tax Credit Program (NMTC) How Manufacturers Can Subsidize Project Costs up to 25% in Mississippi



Mississippi Development Authority Supporting the Growing Business Community of Mississippi

Big Data is a Big Deal to Mississippi Manufacturers Some manufacturers are slowly coming around to the concept of Big Data and how it drives business. The adoption of Big Data best practices is already in place in other industries. Common adoption in manufacturing companies is inevitable as a way to solve business problems and effectively compete within their industry.


Mississippi’s Steward for Business on Manufacturing Governor Phil Bryant Champions the Business of Manufacturing in Mississippi

Google Says It Is Time to Go Mobile Friendly, or Be Penalized Will Your Website Lose Half Its Audience?


Leadership is Big Business Jay Moon’s leadership model is built on a foundation of over 25 years in economic development.


At the beginning of April, the Mississippi State Legislature adjourned sine die for the 2015 legislative session. It was an interesting session that saw a lot of legislation die due to party politics and the general feeling of not wanting to pass any controversial legislation in an election year. In the end, though, there were still plenty of successes for Mississippi’s manufacturers, as well as the overall business community.


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The 2015 Mississippi State Legislative Session


Manufactured in Mississippi



Spring & summer 2015

A History of Solid Investments in Jackson County

Fueling Economic Development For more than 50 years Since operation began in 1963, the Chevron Pascagoula Refinery has grown to be Chevron’s largest refinery and one of the country’s top petroleum refineries.

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Our Pascagoula Refinery’s continuous growth has been fueled by a shared economic development strategy based on solid, long-term investments that continue to benefit both our company and the community. We salute the people and the leaders of Mississippi and Jackson County as our partners in progress.

Pascagoula Refinery Major Expansion Projects Uninflated dollars $103 Million $54 Million

1966 Paraxylene/Ammonia Plants

$91 Million

1968 Pascagoula Expansion Project

$96 Million

1974 Pascagoula Arabian Modification Project

$1.3 Billion $200 Million

1992 Aromax® Unit

$150 Million

2003 Clean Fuels Project

$150 Million

2005 FCC Project

$300 Million $500 Million

1980 Pascagoula Residuum Conversion Project

1996 Paraxylene Plant Expansion & Ethylbenzene Project

$240 Million

$1.4 Billion

Visit our Web Site at

1961 Original Refinery

2008 ETP Project 2008 CCR Project 2011 PBOP Project

Since we started in 1947, our chicken has been free of extra salt, water and other additives. It’s not just 100% natural. It’s 100% chicken.

For recipes visit us at or

Spring & summer 2015

find us on Facebook.


Manufactured in Mississippi


Adapt. Adjust. Overcome.

Navy veteran Larry White is the owner of AA Calibration Services, LLC, an airline equipment remanufacturing and calibration business that specializes in altimeters, airspeed indicators, and vertical speed indicators. Since 2004, AA Calibration has continued to grow, and now makes its home in a 5,000-squarefoot facility in Yazoo City, Mississippi, constructed from the ground up in 2010. White’s is a story of successfully building a manufacturing business using his wits and his savings, one step at a time, with an attitude of self-sufficiency that is now embedded in the company’s culture. Today the company supports White’s family along with 18 employees and their families. Larry White has a saying, “Adapt. Adjust. Overcome.” It is a philosophy

he puts into practice on all projects large and small. It is a way of living that he imparts to his employees and those who are working to become part of his team.

Lemons or Lemonade

People handle hardships differently. Many people view being laid off from their job as devastating. Others practice constant vigilance in seeking out opportunities. They seem to be able to navigate difficulties with grace, and even find advantage in their situations. White was working for L-3 Vertex

in 2004 in a dedicated calibration lab. When L-3 Vertex announced that they were downsizing, including closing the lab and eliminating White’s position, he saw an opportunity. Upon hearing the news, rather than seeing defeat in his circumstance, White decided instead to make an offer to buy the equipment from the lab in order to start his own business. White’s unconventional response paid off when L-3 Vertex accepted his offer. Two weeks later White had secured a 1,000-square-foot space, and AA Calibrations was born. His former employer became his first client. After White and his wife, Dorothy, who serves as Chief Financial Officer, established AA Calibrations, they immediately began seeking advice on how to navigate the business startup waters. They were determined to take the right steps. White credits the Mis-

Spring & summer 2015



skilled employees to work as technicians in a calibration lab. What White did find were good people who dreamed of bettering their lives. Having a skilled job simply seemed unattainable for many people he came across. Says White, “We have a worker surplus, but a lack of skills.” White decided to meet the workforce challenge with education. He sought the aid of the WIN Job Center in Yazoo City, which funded an inhouse on-the-job training (OJT) program where White personally oversaw the development of the skills he needed in people while they worked. Says White, “We brought in people who were eager for the opportunity to better themselves and work their way to a skilled and valuable position.” White was not only developing skills, he was helping develop value and self-esteem in his new team. The experience of giving a helping hand to deserving individuals struck a deep chord with White. He embarked on a new, parallel life mission. Says White, “There is nothing more rewarding than that feeling of giving someone a job — to help put their kids through school and pay the light bill. To help them earn an income for their family.”

Raising the Bar, Again

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sissippi Development Authority with being particularly helpful, as well as Mississippi State Senator Horne, U. S. Congressman Thompson, and Henry Cote, former president of the Yazoo County Chamber of Commerce and former president/CEO of the Yazoo County Economic Development District. Over time AA Calibrations was able to establish statuses, certifications, and associations that would help them in their startup period, including the Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) program, the 8(a) Business Development Program, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s DBE (Disadvantaged Business Enterprise) program, the Mississippi Manufacturers Association (MMA), City of Jackson, and the Small Business Administration Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business program. Startup capital was nearly impos-

sible to come by. Says White, “It seems like the banks were only able to make loans if you already had capital. So we found ways to fund all of our startup ourselves.” In fact, White has funded every business expansion with cash and savings. “We were able to get through the toughest times with the help of my military pension. It was tight, but we did it and are still doing it.” Today both Larry and his wife Dorothy draw paychecks.

Workforce Issue or Opportunity Issues

To meet the demands of their expanding business, White needed employees — skilled employees. Calibration is a precise business, and qualified technicians are extremely difficult to find, whatever your location. In Yazoo, there were no properly

While OJT was effective, there was only so much White could do by himself. He needed a way to train more employees more quickly, and help even more people in the process. White reached out to Holmes Community College and was able to establish a workforce development certification program, Basic Electronics and Metrology Certification, with the help of Jackson State University engineering instructor Mitchell Belser. The result was a new level of empowerment for White and his protégés. Says White, “I sat in on classes with the students. We were able to help shape the content and curriculum of the class so that it had the right focus to enable graduates to have the practical knowledge to begin work in a calibration lab right out of school.” The Holmes program provides 121 hours of electronics and metrology coursework over a 30-week timeframe. One of the final assignments for stu-

dents is to design and build their own functioning power supply, which demonstrates a working knowledge of all of the components. There have been 16 graduates from the program to date, and all but four have gone on to work for AA Calibrations after graduation.

A business worth building. Lives worth mentoring.

Larry White has learned many lessons and has many accomplishments he holds close to his heart. Says White, “One of the things I am most proud of is figuring out how to help local people get qualified so that I can then hire them. You see neighbors without jobs. You see people who need jobs but have to go to school. These people [at AA Calibrations] did it.” White is proud to have many of his OJT workers and Holmes Community College Basic Electronics and Metrology Certification graduates on staff. He is also proud of those who have moved on to other opportunities. Ironically, one of his employees joined L-3 Vertex, his former employer turned client. White felt proud that his training and education helped create that opportunity. Says White of another employee, “I have one employee who

went through my OJT program and found inspiration. He recognized what education did for him. He moved to Atlanta to further his education and attend the Aviation and Maintenance Repair School, and got his Airframes and Powerplants (A & P) license and FCC certification. He came back to AA Calibration and now works as a senior metrology technician onsite in our Columbus Air Force Base office.”

“Adapt. Adjust. Overcome.” is the motto Larry White instills in all of his employees.

Navy veteran Larry White took a layoff and, with his wife, turned it into a growing business, an outreach program, a college certification program, and a path for under-educated people to develop skills and build careers to better their lives. And they did it all by themselves, from scratch, with personal savings. That is a story worth sharing.

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“One of the things I am most proud of is figuring out how to help local people get qualified so that I can then hire them.”



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Manufactured in Mississippi



Raising Joe

Sanderson credits a great deal of his mentorship to his father. Also on his short list is Odell Johnson, who educated him through the ranks of leadership. Joe Sanderson, Jr. was not handed anything. He was brought up in a family that worked hard. Over time, he would earn his way through the ranks of the family founded company. Aside from time spent away for college, Sanderson has spent practically his whole life with the family business. When he returned from college in 1969, he went straight to work on a farm. Over the next several years, he supervised line operations, worked in sales, and eventually managed plants. In 1990, Sanderson took an executive role in Laurel, Mississippi, as director of sales and Processing under Odell Johnson, who was the director of operations. Johnson worked his

way up to president, and Sanderson followed in his footsteps. Sanderson Farms experienced tremendous success and growth under Johnson’s lead, and Sanderson was a careful study. When Johnson retired as president, the company was processing 2 million chickens per week. In 1998 Joe Sanderson, Jr. was promoted to president.

Leadership Legacy

A strong leadership model, passed down over the decades, is a powerful advantage. Says Sanderson, “I cannot remember a time that we have ever been in a financial strain.” He inherited a set of values, principles, and leadership rules from his father and from Johnson that he now employs for the betterment of the company. He and his executive committee do not stray from them, and they work diligently to perpetuate them. Says Sanderson, “We [the executive committee] are all on the same page. We all say the same thing when it comes to the balance sheet and growth strategy.”

A Culture of Stability

Sanderson Farms is an extraordinary company that has found stability, growth, and success through its approach to business. According to Sanderson, one of the fundamental contributors to company success is that they “never challenge the balance sheet.” Sanderson Farms enjoys the benefits of a fiscally conservative company that expands operations through cash flow, and keeps enough capital in the bank to protect the company and its plans from cyclical ups and downs resulting from drought, corn prices, and even natural disasters. When Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, Sanderson Farms

Spring & summer 2015

Sanderson Farms is a success story that brings a note of pride to the manufacturing industry in Mississippi. What started as a Feed and Seed store in Brookhaven in 1947 is now America’s third largest poultry business, and is still growing. In 2014 Sanderson doubled their earnings with revenues of $2.775 billion. Today the company employs over 11,500 employees in eleven plants, including a new Palestine, Texas plant opened in February 2015. Now headquartered in Laurel, Mississippi, Sanderson Farms is a true grassroots business. At the helm of Sanderson Farms is Joe Sanderson, Jr. He is part of a family legacy passed down from his grandfather, D.R. Sanderson, his uncle, D.R. Sanderson, Jr., and his father, Joe Sanderson, Sr. The Sanderson family culture of hard work and dedication that Joe Jr. grew up with as a child is still coursing through the company to this day.


and its partners and affiliates were hit hard. Seventy-five chicken houses were damaged or completely destroyed, and there were extensive power outages that threatened stock. Several million chickens and 3 million eggs were lost, and ultimately the livelihoods of thousands of growers and workers were at stake. Insurance was not an option with many of the losses and damages. To face the situation, Sanderson Farms chose a path of stability and support. The company decided to invest in its community and prop up the entire network until it could get back on its feet. They provided diesel fuel to the growers to power generators to keep the remaining chickens alive. Sanderson Farms continued to pay the growers, who had families, businesses, and loans, whether they were producing or recovering, as if nothing had happened, in order to secure their livelihood. Several million dollars and six months after Katrina struck, the growers had recovered and were back at full production. Today Sanderson Farms has no debt, $175 million in cash, and $900 million in equity, with a mission to always increase sales and stock value for shareholders. Sanderson does not let ups or downs get to him or break his focus. Whether the company is making or losing $25 million a month, his demeanor does not change. His focus remains on having a strong balance sheet and staying on plan. Says Sanderson, “I like to keep an even keel. You can’t count on success. Every year you have to see what you can do better, and there is always a lot to do.”

Growth Led Through Strategy

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In the late 1980s, the common strategy to grow a business in the poultry industry was acquisition. That is still practiced today. But Sanderson Farms employs a different growth strategy — new construction — and beginning in the early 1990s it helped the company excel, expand into multiple key territories, and shorten their transportation routes. Sanderson Farms chooses where to expand based on the active market and distribution channels. Building new plants and opening distribution channels based on need provides a

huge strategic advantage for Sanderson Farms over competitors that rely upon acquisition to grow their businesses. This strategy has resulted in significant growth and benefits. Says Sanderson, When you grow through acquisition, you have to wait on someone else to agree. [Following the build out strategy,] we had to hire a lot. We had to build a lot of chicken houses. Our Bryan / College Station plant took five years, gave us access to a market of 15 million people in the Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio areas, and put us one day closer to our California, Arizona, and Colorado markets. We kept building and went into Georgia and Florida, gaining access to another 25 million people. We built more plants than anyone in the industry. And, once we started building we had a template and a system to build more. If you do all of your homework, it is not that big of a risk. If you don’t, you will be in trouble. Because it takes as much as 15 years to build, you cannot base your building schedule on timing the market. The key is planning and executing outside of the market cycles. Sanderson Farms has launched new plants in both the best and worst markets. Today, Sanderson Farms is working on developing a plant in the northeast corridor that will provide access to a market of 75 million people.

Another Strategic Turn

In the late 1980’s the company faced a strategic decision that would redefine the company. CEO Joe Sanderson and his executive committee sequestered themselves on a strategic retreat to review targeted studies and research. The team emerged with two new strategic directions, first to double-shift their plants to enhance production and cash flow, and second, to migrate away from servicing fast food (KFC, Popeyes, Church’s) and focus on deboning. It was a redefining, strategic decision that

would prove very lucrative for Sanderson Farms as the company has become a primary supplier to food service distributors (Sysco, US Foods) for white meat, with dark meat going to export.

Leaving Behind a Stronger Organization

“If I’ve done a good job, the company will be running strong and growing when I am no longer in this position,” says Sanderson. When asked of his greatest business accomplishment, his response is simply, “One person does not make this happen. It takes a team.” The company culture was instilled by Joe Sanderson, Sr., and two to three other key people. It includes integrity, a path to growth, success, and value. Employees are incentivized to perform, with bonuses tied to earnings. Says Joe Sanderson, Jr., “The culture and the balance sheet were turned over to us. Now we influence the young people.”

The executive committee at Sanderson Farms has implemented a one-year mentorship program to train leaders. The mentorship system is designed so that the first 12 to complete the program go on to mentor 36 in the second year, and each generation mentors another. Currently 54 employees have completed or are about to complete advanced management mentoring, and 100 have completed or are about to complete management mentoring. By developing consistent leaders, Sanderson Farms is able to launch new locations and carry over its culture by staffing 50% internally and 50% externally. Joe Sanderson, Sr. passed the company reins to Odell Johnson, who has passed them on to Joe Sanderson, Jr. Joe Jr. is honoring the company, his father’s executive team, and his father’s memory by passing on the culture and best practices that have made it strong,

and bettering it along with his executive committee through strategy and evolution to meet a developing marketspace. Joe Sanderson, Jr. is one of a handful of elite business leaders in Mississippi who have demonstrated their ability through extreme achievement, remained rooted in Mississippi, and dedicated themselves to remarkable acts of kindness, charity, and investment in the state and the community. This is a business and a family that loves the state of Mississippi. Says Sanderson, “I love Mississippi. I love the dirt. I love the outdoors. I love the people. It is where my dearest friends live. Mississippi is home.” As for the future, Sanderson has a plan: “I plan to keep working.”

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“I love Mississippi. I love the dirt. I love the outdoors. I love the people. It is where my dearest friends live. Mississippi is home.”





Manufactured in Mississippi 18

Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport Mississippi’s Gateway to the World

There’s a new blue collar...

Train for high skill, high wage jobs.


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.

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Diesel Equipment Technology Heating & Air Conditioning Industrial Maintenance Machine Tool Technology Welding & Cutting Architectural Engineering Electrical Technology


Made in MS!

19 East Lincoln Dr. NE • Brookhaven, MS

Net Auto Jackson, MS

Quick Lube McComb, MS Manufactured in Mississippi 20

Keith White Ford McComb, MS

Members Exchange Credit Union Byram, MS

We are a Mississippi-based manufacturer here to support other statewide manufacturers for all your metal needs in project expansion.


We make a lot of good things here. Like friends, neighbors and business partners. Georgia-Pacific employs over 1,500 people in Mississippi in eight facilities, making everything from fluff and market pulp, linerboard, corrugated packaging, thermosetting resins, finished lumber and branded building materials such as Plytanium® plywood, Sturd-I-Floor® and Ply-Bead® panels. In recent years, we’ve invested approximately $278 million in the state to improve safety, foster innovation and boost environmental performance. ©2015. Georgia-Pacific LLC. All rights reserved.

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It’s exciting to be a part of Mississippi and we look forward to helping each other grow in the coming years.


Manufactured in Mississippi 22

For many business owners, the dreaded words “due diligence� send tingles up their spines. But if you survived the economic downturn and are considering selling your business in this more positive economic environment, you can make the due diligence process go much more smoothly by starting now and organizing the information that a potential buyer will want to review.

Due Diligence

Due diligence is merely the process used by the buyer to request from the seller any documents and materials needed to verify that all representations made by the seller regarding the business are true. The process usually occurs after the signing of a purchase and sale agreement. However, some due diligence may occur before the sign-

ing of the contract in order to assist the buyer in determining a price to offer for the business. In the past, due diligence may have been more of a perfunctory inquiry because the size of markets and the value of businesses were increasing rapidly. But today’s buyers have survived the downturn and carefully built up their cash reserves. The new buyer is focused on identifying and eliminating risks,

Final Due Diligence

Financial due diligence is one of the most common reasons a sale falls apart, particularly for closely-held businesses whose owners have focused on growing and building the business and not on record keeping. With good financial records, a prospective buyer can readily verify earnings, key customers and suppliers, quality and age of assets, taxes, key employees, accounts payable, accounts receivable, inventory, and liabilities that will need to be assumed by the seller. Additionally, good financial records from the seller will assist the buyer in obtaining financing and can shorten the period to closing.

Gather Your Information

A sophisticated buyer will want to review at least the following financial information: • Income statements • Balance sheet • Asset list • Depreciation schedule • Tax returns • Accounts receivable and accounts payable reports • List of liabilities Many businesses lack current asset lists and depreciation schedules, making determination of book value more difficult. As a hopeful seller, it is important to take the time to review your asset list and depreciation schedule regularly, and to remove all equipment and other property that you no longer own. Your accountant can assist you in making these kinds of adjustments. In addition, you should review your inventory list; remove all outdated, expired and/or unsellable items and move these items to a liquidator. Accurate asset and inventory lists can greatly shorten the time involved in due diligence.

Tax Data

Tax returns and income statements will be key to establishing the value of your business. The buyer will likely want to analyze earning trends, various financial ratios, and working capital requirements, and will want to review profit and loss statements and tax returns for the past 5 years, along with accounts receivable and accounts payable. Meet with your accountant now to confirm that no adjustments need to be made for old and uncollectible accounts receivable and that all accounts payable are accurate, and prepare a list of business debts with copies of all related documents.

Other Assets

Although financial due diligence plays a significant role in assessing a business’s value and risks, a buyer will also want to assess other risks. Buyers are increasingly concerned with intellectual property issues – such as whether the seller has the exclusive right to use all key trade names and has obtained trademark protection for such use. Licenses for software use also are becoming increasingly important.

Key Contracts and Agreements

In addition, a buyer will want to review all key contracts and leases. Make sure you have copies of all key contracts and leases and that renewals and extensions are in place. If the buyer will be asked to assume these contracts and leases, the buyer will want to verify with the contractor and the lessor that the agreements are in effect and that there are no unpaid sums due or other defaults thereunder.

Real Estate Assets

If your business owns real estate and the sale or lease of said real estate will be part of the transaction, then assemble all deeds, title insurance policies, surveys, appraisals, and environmental reports. Having all of these from the start can greatly expedite the due diligence process. Most of these items should have been obtained in connection with any bank financing of any real property, and you may need to request copies of these documents from your bank. If the business has owned the real estate for a long period and has not undergone any recent financing, it is a good idea to obtain a current title search on the property, so that there is time to correct any issues before the buyer enters the picture.

Unexpected Risks

Many sellers find it difficult to understand that buyers are more worried about risks they do not know about or that they are unable to obtain full information about, than the problems that they do have full knowledge about. If the buyer can understand the scope of the risk, he can quantify it. Whether the risk involves potential or pending litigation, an environmental or other permitting issue, or an employee matter, there are many ways a buyer can obtain protection from these risks, and continue with the transaction if full disclosure is made. Be straight-forward with your buyer. Providing the information that you have as quickly as possible and in an organized fashion will help a buyer quickly assess the risks involved in an unexpected issue. In addition, discuss any known risks with your advisors now so that a plan to address existing risks can be developed early and provided in anticipation of the buyer’s request.

The Value of Being Prepared

To obtain the highest value for your business and to facilitate a smooth sale, prepare for the due diligence process prior to entering into the sale process. Do not underestimate the need to assemble your information and your team of competent professionals to help you review the information prior to communicating with potential buyers. The process may be cumbersome and time consuming, but for those who plan early, there can be significant rewards at the end. Jamie Planck Martin is Senior Counsel at Taggart, Rimes & Graham, PLLC in Ridgeland, Mississippi, and has been advising clients in the purchase and sale of businesses for over 25 years.

Spring & summer 2015

and on conducting a realistic analysis of available cash flow and profits immediately following the closing.


Manufactured in Mississippi


Conference Center & Workforce Training

• Meeting/Banquet Space • Catering Services • Guest Rooms • Golf Course

• Outdoor Challenge Course • Customized Programs • Interactive Training • Teamwork and Leadership


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Raymond, MS


Manufactured in Mississippi 26

“When people come in as customers, they often become friends. They are not just a number like in other parts of the country. I’m interested in their business. We get involved and work as a team.�



UPM is an inventor’s wonderland. Their services include CAD design, tool and die work, creating die molds, injection molding, CNC milling and lathing, mold repairs, and full production and assembly of products. From CNC equipment to the electronic discharge machine, which uses an arc cutter and graphite bits to atomize metal to any shape from 1/3000th of an inch away, the machine shop is fully equipped to customize

Spring & summer 2015

Downtown Jackson, Mississippi is home to many businesses. One particularly interesting business is United Plastic Molders, Inc. (UPM). UPM is a design and manufacturing company focused on custom molded plastics. UPM is able to take a concept from a napkin drawing to final product, all inhouse. From CAD design to custom molding and injection to warehousing and distribution — you dream it and UPM can create and produce it. And the creation process is more than impressive.


metal ingots and blanks into any needed shape. Four hundred tons of force are required to hold the in-house created metal injection molds in place while they are injected with molten plastic at 1,500 to 2,000 pounds per square inch. If you love being in a shop, then this is a shop to visit.


Manufactured in Mississippi 28

Before partners were bought out and the name was changed to United Plastic Molders, Inc. in 1978, the company was called United Die Molding, and was established in 1972. Now owned by Bill Hoge, who also serves as president of the company, UPM is run by three generations of Hoges. Bill’s son, Cam Hoge, serves as general manager and runs the plant, whose operations support three shifts of molding production. Bill’s grandson, Tucker Hoge, runs the fishing division, which began with a single prototype eight years ago and now features multiple products, many with patents. The flagship product, patented in 2001, is expected to sell 120,000 units in 2015.

Additionally, many employees are like family at UPM. The shop foreman, Robert Singletar has been with UPM, and UPM’s preceding company, for 39 years.


Invention is welcome at UPM, which works with designers, inventors, and entrepreneurs. Over the years, many of their clients eventually became partners. UPM ultimately bought out some of those partners, so that today, UPM now produces and distributes many of its own product lines. Says Hoge, “Everyone has an idea and there are lots of people with patentable ideas.


Innovation is a big part of UPM’s company culture, process, and best practices, from the way products are engineered to incorporating the latest materials. One new material that the company has worked with recently is a plastic called “Thrive,” a cellulose fiber-reinforced thermoplastic that has a tensile strength over 100 times greater than plastics traditionally used in injection molding. Research and development work with Thrive has already yielded improvements to existing products and enabled design work that was not possible with traditional plastics. Customers with conceptual-stage ideas find advantage in working with UPM. Designs can be engineered both on the computer and with working prototypes using the fully equipped machine shop. The flexibility of utilizing visual design, plus onsite prototyping, can both speed up the process and improve the quality and concept of the final product. Says Bill Hoge, “Rather than having a large engineering group, we do a lot of trial-and-error engineering in the shop and are able to more efficiently work out the kinks in product designs.” This process can ultimately reduce prototyping costs.

Mississippi Manufacturing

Bill Hoge expresses a special pride in being a Mississippibased manufacturer, and in the way the members in the manufacturing community treat each other. Says Hoge, “We have all good folks in manufac-

turing in Mississippi. In our association (Mississippi Manufacturers Association), all of the big guys are in with the little guys. As a group, we all address issues together and find ways to help.” Hoge is proud to be part of an economy that actually “makes something.” Says Hoge, “Professions like manufacturing, agriculture, and mining all produce tangible products and make up the base of the economy. Everything else is a created service ultimately supported by that base.” A lot of UPM’s business is based on trusted relationships backed by work ethic. Says Hoge, “When people come in as customers, they often become friends. They are not just a number like in other parts of the country. I’m interested in their business. We get involved and work as a team.” When it comes to workforce, Hoge is succinct: “People in Mississippi are not afraid to work.”

Strength in Community

United Plastic Molders is an important part of Mississippi’s manufacturing community. From a culture of innovation to a Mississippi work ethic to the connection of family and friends working together to earn a living “building things,” this company embodies much of what we as a state hold in high esteem.

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The success of the idea ultimately has to do with dollars. Can it make money?”



THATplace We came to as a company and returned from as a team. This is the place where we learned that Janet’s spike is as sharp as her business sense. Everything was right there for us – meeting spaces, the beach, golf, restaurants – so we could focus on strategizing, and really getting to know each other. We can meet anywhere, but this is the place where we can connect.

Manufactured in Mississippi 30

+1 877 705 6641 • • • #HiltonSandestin #ThatPlace

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

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Manufactured in Mississippi


(NMTC) financing can create as much as a twentyfive percent (25%) subsidy for their project costs, many of our manufacturing clients initially ask, “Where is the catch?” While NMTC transactions involve a competitive marketplace for allocation and pose a somewhat daunting task, borrowers who reach financial closing are greatly rewarded.

In most cases, the NMTC program utilizes geographic qualification based on the census tract location of the project. In other words, the first step to learning whether your project qualifies for NMTCs is to determine the location of the project and whether or not it is located in a “qualified census tract.”

Qualifying census tracts have either (i) a poverty rate of at least 20%, or (ii) a median family income below 80% of the greater of (a) the statewide median family income, or (b) the metropolitan area median income. While a census tract will qualify if it meets one of the above criteria, most CDEs that receive credits commit to serve areas of higher distress, which include (a) census tracts with a median family income less than 60%; (b) census tracts with poverty rates greater than 30%; (c) census tracts with unemployment rates at least 1.5 times the national average; (d) census tracts located in counties not contained within a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA); and (e) projects serving Targeted Populations. In fact, over 70% of NMTC investments have been made in highly distressed areas.

The NMTC program was enacted as part of the Community Renewal and Tax Relief Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-554, 113 Stat. 2763) and is designed to encourage new private sector investments in low-income communities (LICs). NMTCs are allocated by the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) NMTC financing can Fund, a bureau within the be used for real estate United States Department BY ANNA WATSON acquisition, site prep, of the Treasury that runs the substantial rehab, new NMTC program, under a competitive application process. construction, tenant build-out, equipment, and soft costs. Corporate taxpayers may participate in the NMTC program by receiving a credit against federal income taxes for makTypically, projects need to have costs of at least $5 miling qualified equity investments (QEIs) in designated Comlion in order to attract adequate interest f rom CDEs munity Development Entities (CDEs). The credit received and Investors. In a typical transaction, an Investor provides is equivalent to thirty-nine percent (39%) of the QEI, an equity investment into a special-purpose entity (Investment Fund) in exchange for 100% of the membership interests. A and is is utilized over a seven year period (five percent third party or affiliate lender provides a loan (the Leverage (5%) for the first three (3) years and six percent (6%) Loan) to the Investment Fund. This debt/equity combination for the four (4) remaining years). QEIs may be leveraged generates sufficient funds for the Investment Fund to make with various types of secured debt (e.g., conventional lending its QEI as a capital contribution to a CDE. The applicable or bond financing) or affiliate debt, which allows the tax credit credit allowance for the benefit of the Investor is calculated investor (the Investor) to receive tax credits on the equity/ based upon the QEI. debt combination. The resulting subsidy to a project generated from the monetized NMTCs can amount to as much as CDE(s) use the proceeds of the QEI to make loans to a twenty to twenty-five percent (20% - 25%) of the total cost of qualified active low-income community business (QALICB). the project. The NMTC program has proven to be an effecThe loans are generally structured to mature or be refitive means of rebuilding economically distressed communinanced in seven years, and can be subordinate to senior ties, and new and rehabilitated projects are being developed throughout the country as a result, including manufacturing debt as necessary. The “A” loan usually mirrors the terms of facilities, schools, retail centers, office buildings, and hotels. the Leverage Loan. The “B” loan (which is derived from the

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Most medium- to large-scale manufacturing projects require a combination of various incentives to fill a variety of financial gaps. Today’s traditional capital sources are not sufficient for project costs without a tremendous amount of developer equity. Obtaining certain subsidies, credits, or grants in connection with these economic development projects can often be the financial difference maker for an otherwise viable project. Upon learning that New Markets Tax Credit


Manufactured in Mississippi


tax credit equity less CDE fees) is generally at a below-market interest rate, with favorable terms such as full or partial loan forgiveness. Both loans are interest-only during the sevenyear compliance period. The QALICB uses the proceeds of the loan to finance all or a portion of the project.

Typically, projects need to have costs of at least $5M in

order to attract

adequate interest from CDEs and Investors.

The maximum amount of state credits that can be generated from a single project is $2.4 million, or $800,000 per year. Purchase prices vary depending on the current market, but generally speaking, borrowers can expect (assuming a maximum project cost of $10 million) to generate an additional $1.2 million of subsidy.

Anna H. Watson is an attorney in Butler Snow’s Public Finance, Tax Incentives and Credit Markets Group. She focuses her practice on Municipal Bonds, New Markets Tax Credits, Public Finance and Economic Development Incentives.

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In addition, many projects financed in Mississippi utilize the Mississippi Equity Investment (New Markets) Tax Credit Program, which was created as a “piggyback” credit to the NMTC program. This state credit is a credit against income or insurance premium taxes in an amount equivalent to twenty-four percent (24%) of the QEI, and it is utilized over a three-year period (eight percent (8%) per year).

In summary, the NMTC is a non-refundable tax credit designed to encourage private investments in eligible LICs. As a general rule of thumb, the resulting subsidy to a project generated from the use of NMTCs can amount to as much as twenty to twenty-five percent (20% - 25%) of the total cost of the project. In other words, every dollar generated in equity from the NMTC is a dollar saved for the project borrower. Since NMTCs provide a substantial current and long-term subsidy to the construction and operation of a project, every medium- to largescale manufacturing project should consider the NMTC program as an alternative source of financing.


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Manufactured in Mississippi



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Manufactured in Mississippi


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Economic Development in Mississippi Mississippi has been at the forefront of state-level economic development in the United States since the mid-1930’s, which saw the passage of the Balance Agriculture with Industry Act in the Mississippi legislature. Developing the state economy continued to be a primary goal of both governors and legislatures, and eventually the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) was created to oversee this development. MDA, an agency of the executive branch, is the Mississippi state governmental arm tasked with economic development in the state. Thanks to a unity of vision throughout all levels of Mississippi government, it is a top priority of this state to nurture and develop growth opportunities for business. The MDA plays a crucial role in this equation, acting as intermediary between companies and all levels of state government and local entities. The ultimate goal: meeting the business needs of companies, communities, and our state. The MDA assists and encourages economic development in many ways, including attraction of new businesses, retaining (and growing) businesses already located in the state, and seeing to the various needs of businesses in areas like workforce development and entering new markets.

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Attracting New Businesses to Mississippi When Nissan began looking in the US for potential locations to construct a new automobile manufacturing plant, the notion that they might land in Mississippi was considered a distant dream by many. Nothing like that had happened before, but undaunted, the MDA went to work. They displayed one of the skills required to deal with a project of this size: facilitating negotiations between a company (in this case, Nissan) and the local groups they needed to work with in order to make the unlikely a real possibility. MDA worked with parties crucial for cementing a deal: state and local government agencies and private-sector companies, including utilities and engineering firms. In the end, agreements were reached, and the project moved ahead, much to the eventual satisfaction of all involved. Securing the Nissan plant finally gave Mississippians the belief that we could compete for major manufacturing projects on a national level, and helped pave the way for later projects like Toyota and Yokohama. One of the better-known activities of the MDA is exemplified by the Nissan plant: attracting new business to the state. The job of MDA, in this regard, is to be proactive in seeking out companies and individuals to tell them about what Mississippi has to offer. MDA does this in many ways and on multiple levels — reaching out to individual businesses, prospecting at trade events and business gatherings, working with site location consultants, and communicating in business circles about the new things going on in Mississippi that might benefit companies and their employees. One area of life (and work) in Mississippi on which MDA is able to focus is cost benefit, since national studies show that you get more for your dollar in Mississippi. Perhaps the largest single competitive advantage to locating in Mississippi is speed to market. MDA coordinates with state and local governments, private industry, and communities so that every-

Retention and Growth: MDA and Existing Businesses A lesser-known focus of MDA is helping businesses already established in Mississippi to grow and attract more resources. A large percentage of the economic growth over the last several years in the state has actually come from the expansion of existing businesses. Related, MDA also works to help retain businesses already located in the state. MDA facilitates this retention and growth largely by doing the same things that help attract new businesses to the state — facilitation, project management, and team building. Whether a business needs help developing their workforce, funds for expansion, agreements with various government groups, local groups, or utilities, MDA offers assistance. MDA poses the same question to all potential business partners: “What can we do for you? What do you need to continue be-

ing successful and to grow?” The MDA Trade Division offers a major opportunity for businesses to grow, though it tends to be one of the programs that is less well known. The Trade Division works to help businesses trade and sell internationally, on the world stage. There are many potential barriers to setting up agreements for sales overseas: relationships, language, culture, and international law/standards. MDA has resources to help overcome all of those barriers, ranging from in-house experts all the way to grants to assist with travel. Trading internationally helps strengthen our local businesses, since businesses that sell around the world tend to pay high wages to their employees, and also to be more profitable and resilient.

“What can we do for you? What do you need to continue being successful and to grow?”

Workforce Development: Overcoming Perceptions Businesses are often unsure about how to address employee training both on a large scale and a more general level, especially when relocating a business like a large-scale manufacturer that needs employees with a certain skill set. MDA helps them get this done.

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one can work together and have projects online on incredibly short timeframes. This teamwork and project management have made MDA invaluable in bringing new projects and development to Mississippi.


Manufactured in Mississippi


MDA answers that question with a resounding “Yes!” Fortunately, in business circles, the negative perception of workforce development has been dampened by the success of such businesses as Nissan, Toyota, and Paccar Engine Company. Mississippi is now a proven entity. To back up assurances that qualified employees are available for companies, MDA has a Workforce Development Division, tasked to ensure that training is available to companies for their employees. The MDA Workforce Development Division works to connect businesses with local training resources, like the WIN Job Centers and community colleges. One of the primary solutions is for MDA to connect the business with a local community college, and then help develop and implement a specific curriculum to prepare people to apply for jobs in that particular field. The new Yokohama plant in West Point, MS, is a great ex-

ample of the success of the MDA Workforce Development Division, and, in fact, of the MDA plan and execution in general. When Yokohama and MDA first began discussions, the company stated that they were essentially considering virtually every area in the U.S. as a potential plant site. With a coalition of expert partners, multiple trips to Japan, and eager local groups working together, the Yokohama plant in Mississippi became a reality. Now it will be online making tires later in 2015, phase I of IV planned development phases for the plant. On the workforce development front, MDA helped facilitate a plan that now has East Mississippi Community College offering a Basic Manufacturing Skills Certification program to help train people who are qualified for application at the new plant. A d d i t i o n a l l y, MDA has been successful helping facilitate and implement training programs for GE Aviation, Paccar Engine, and other companies that are relocating to or expanding in Mississippi. Moving Mississippi Forward Economic development remains a major priority for people in every level of government in the state of Mississippi, and the Mississippi Development Authority is working tirelessly to help educate people about the value of doing business in our state. Developing our economy takes teamwork. MDA works to facilitate, connect, and manage to help get major (and not so major) projects off the ground and running.

MDA has been successful helping work out training programs for GE Aviation, Paccar Engine, and other companies that are relocating or expanding in Mississippi.

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Perceptions and preconceived notions matter. They impact decision making on every level. It is common knowledge that Mississippi is not always highly regarded in areas like workforce and education. But companies considering coming into the state need to know that qualified workers can be found in sufficient supply for their businesses. MDA has as a special project answering that often-posed question, “Does Mississippi have a workforce that is qualified to do the work?”


Manufactured in Mississippi



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Manufactured in Mississippi


It’s hard to read much about information technology, analytics, and business intelligence without hearing the term “Big Data.” Unfortunately, it’s grown into such an amorphous term that it doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. Is Big Data something that manufacturers should focus on? What is it, and how will it drive more profitable business?

What is Big Data?

Let’s start with the most common definition. In 2001, Doug Laney of Meta Group (now Gartner) used “3 V’s” to describe the effect of Big Data: • Increasing Volume: The amount of data coming in • Increasing Velocity: The speed of the data coming in and going out, and • Increasing Variety: The data types and sources. The definition has changed slightly over the past 14 years, but the essentials are still captured by those 3 V’s. The diagram below depicts the many types and volumes of data that most businesses deal with:

• Manufacturing equipment has sensors that monitor quality and safety during manufacture, as well as conditions such as temperature, pressure, tolerance, etc. • Goods — incoming materials and outgoing production — have RFID tags or barcodes which are tracked as they move through your business and become part of larger assemblies. • Some manufactured items collect data post-sale and transmit the data back to the manufacturer. The volumes and the variety of data types qualify this as Big Data. Now that you know you have it, so what? Does it have any value to your

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Chances are that your manufacturing enterprise manages big data every day:


business apart from the original purpose for which it was collected? Should it be kept and, if so, for how long? Should it be organized and added to other business data that you collect, such as your list of customers or your financials?

Capturing Big Data

A common mistake in working with Big Data is isolating it, and believing that it must either be kept separate from other data, or be physically combined with other data in order to deliver business value. Too often, the focus is on the “Big” part, rather than the “Data” part. Isolating Big Data from the rest of your enterprise data leads to program development and technology adoption that work well for only a very limited number of use cases.

If you’re not able to logically integrate Big Data into your environment today, and if your business users don’t have access to it, or can’t access it using the tools they’re familiar with, then you’re surely losing ground to your competitors who can. Putting Big Data to Use

Since isolating Big Data reduces its accessibility and value, how should you put it to use? Begin by considering how to incorporate Big Data into your overall data architecture. A sound data architecture accounts for many different types of data, often stored and retained in different locations and for different periods, while providing access to a variety of users and tools for analyses. Your data architecture should also provide you with methods to move, manage and access data. This is referred to as a Unified Data Architecture, and the diagram below helps to illustrate the key components:

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It’s useful to think of your data architecture as a factory — one that ultimately is producing information that can be analyzed and used to deliver value to your business. Let’s examine the Unified Data Architecture using the metaphor of an Information Factory.

Data Paths

A manufacturer’s factory begins by receiving a variety of raw materials, parts, and assemblies from a variety of sources. As these materials are received, they are tracked, stored, and managed. They are moved to areas in the factory where they can be readily accessed during the manufacturing process. Likewise, data coming into an Information Factory needs to be kept somewhere, managed, and tracked, and this is done in the “Data Platform.”

Maintaining Data Sources

Some data may enter the factory already joined to other data – just as assemblies like a motor enter a manufacturer’s facility. It probably doesn’t make sense to break this data apart, and in the same way, it probably doesn’t make sense to pre-assemble individual bits of data, such as the output from sensors, into groupings of data. As much as possible, the data platform should be able to receive the raw materials – or data – in the form in which it arrives.

Data Warehousing

The “Data Warehouse” is the assembly line of the business. If you manufacture automobiles, then the assembly line combines multiple parts and assemblies using a predefined series of steps and procedures in order to deliver the finished product. The Information Factory uses the data warehouse to assemble various pieces of data in order to deliver information to your business users. Each time the warehouse produces a piece of information, the user of that information has a degree of confidence that its accuracy today is the same as it was yesterday or last month — because that information was produced by a predefined set of steps and processes. The data warehouse is designed to handle these operationalized requests

failures in assembled systems back to an individual component, and to know exactly which customers have those parts in the units they’ve purchased.

Data Discovery

The Big Deal

The Discovery Platform is essentially the Research and Development department of the Information Factory. The R&D group in a manufacturer will consider how to modify its assembly line to deliver new products that meet the desires or requirements of its consumers. Consideration is given to whether new raw materials need to be sourced, and how best to bring everything together in a way that minimizes cost and maximizes value. The R&D group also builds prototypes prior to moving production to the assembly line. In the Information Factory, the Discovery Platform is the place where new questions are asked; where new types of analytics are developed. The Discovery Platform is a fast fail kind of environment. Many things are tried, but not all are successful. Once a new question or analytic is developed, and it’s clear that it delivers value to the business, it is then moved to the “assembly line” or Data Warehouse, in order to be delivered in a predictable way to the consumers of the information.

The ultimate goal of your Information Factory should be to enable any question to be asked against any data by any qualified user at any time. Identifying Your Data Analysis Goals

The ultimate goal of your InformatioThe ultimate goal of your Information Factory should be to enable any question to be asked against any data by any qualified user at any time. Looking at data in this holistic way, rather than partitioning it by type and source, allows high-value questions to be asked. Consider the benefit of being able to analyze service problems to identify clusters of issues, and proactively contact consumers without the need to issue a recall. Or being able to isolate

So, is Big Data a Big Deal? It can be, especially when it is part of your Unified Data Architecture, and your business users have the ability to include it in analytics. If all you are doing is creating unique environments for your data and isolating access to it, it will do little more than create expensive sandboxes that deliver very little return to the business. If you’re not able to logically integrate Big Data into your environment today, and / or if your business users don’t have easy access to it, then you’re surely losing ground to your competitors who can. Properly capturing your data, warehousing it, and making it available to your employees, using tools they are familiar with, empowers them and your company to make real-time, informed, valuable decisions. How does your company handle its Big Data?

Terry Allen is a long-time thought leader in Data Warehousing and a southern regional sales director and executive level consultant for Teradata.

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Data Architecture

for information, and can do so in a very efficient way, handling a high volume of requests and delivering results in a guaranteed way.


Manufactured in Mississippi


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Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi — Blue Springs, Mississippi

Success in today’s marketplace requires a competitive advantage – and companies are finding that advantage in Mississippi. The state’s higher education network provides a robust platform for building continued business success in the advanced manufacturing sector. Low energy rates, lean operating costs, nationally ranked speed of permitting and a highly skilled workforce create a winning formula for global companies to thrive. That’s why Toyota, GE Aviation, and Northrop Grumman are choosing Mississippi.











Expansion Solutions Magazine, 2013

© Mississippi Development Authority 2015

Manufactured in Mississippi


Area Development Magazine, 2014

Discover all the possibilities at


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Manufactured in Mississippi



A few of Mississippi's shining stars

• Nissan Motor Company The Mississippi plant was established just over 10 years ago and now manufactures over 340,000 vehicles per year. Mississippi is the only state in the U.S. to manufacture the Murano. Nissan employs 7,000 Mississippians to manufacture their products here in the state. • Ingalls Shipbuilding The Ingalls Shipbuilding Mississippi manufacturing facility is home to some of the most advanced naval shipbuilding in the world, including DDG 51 destroyers and National Security Cutters for the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. • Toyota Motor Corporation In February 2015, the new Toyota plant in Blue Springs, Mississippi, manufactured their 500,000th Corolla. The new plant produced 180,000 Corollas in 2014 and met their half-million benchmark faster than any Toyota plant in the U.S. • Airbus Helicopters Columbus, Mississippi, is home to the Airbus Helicopters manufacturing facility. Airbus Helicopters manufactures a dozen helicopter models and supplies both commercial clients and the U.S. Army. They also

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Governor Phil Bryant, Mississippi’s 64th governor, has a sincere passion for growing business in Mississippi and pride in being a part of this great state. If you have heard Governor Bryant speak on the issue of business and manufacturing, you have witnessed his enthusiasm. Says the governor, “Not only is Mississippi home to advanced manufacturing and research and development, our manufacturing industry is at an all-time high for growth and vitality.” In Mississippi, manufacturing is considered a cornerstone industry. According to Jay Moon, president of the Mississippi Manufacturers Association, it is estimated that 12% of jobs in Mississippi are in manufacturing, and as many as 33% of Mississippi jobs are directly or indirectly related to manufacturing. It is an industry that has always been successful and important to the state and the state economy. This is a perspective embraced by our governor, who states very matter-of-factly, “Manufacturing drives the economy. It always has and it always will.” That recognition influences political and private direction. And, when a state has a governor who is dedicated to business development, and manufacturing in particular, the level of support can be impactful. Governor Bryant is ever-ready with many facts that demonstrate the strength of the manufacturing industry in Mississippi. in fact, with an industry this strong, it is not difficult to come up with a very long list. Here are a few of those facts.


manufacture the AS350 B3, known as the helicopter that conquered Mount Everest. • Stark Aerospace Stark Aerospace is the manufacturer of cutting edge unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) used for national defense. They feature a 100,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Columbus, Mississippi.

Coming soon to Mississippi

• Yokohama Tire Corporation The new West Point, Mississippi Yokohama plant is scheduled to be complete and begin production in October 2015, and plans to hire 500 employees. This plant will be the first greenfield site in North America for the company. Yokohama chose Mississippi for its new facility after a review process that included 28 states and close to 3000 locations.

for the workforce. States Bryant, “The ninth grader of today is the workforce of tomorrow.”


One approach pursued in Mississippi is to promote research by connecting major manufacturers with targeted university research programs in joint ventures. This pursuit provides several advantages including: • Improving products • Training a research and development capable, advanced workforce • Providing vertical integrity to the research programs Says Bryant, “GE Aviation opened a 300,000-square-foot assembly plant in Batesville, Mississippi and entered into a research partnership with the Southern Miss School of Polymers and High Performance Materials where they innovated the use of polymer components in jet engines and significantly reduced their weight, translating into lower fuel requirements and reduced maintenance costs.”

"I love the quality of life and the hospitality of the people. I love Mississippi."

A Manufacturing Friendly Environment

Mississippi is committed to creating an environment conducive to nurturing its manufacturing industry. Currently Mississippi boasts being a leader in the country by achieving: • 6th in the nation for overall costs • 5th in the nation for permitting speed • 4th in the nation in being tax friendly In a state where manufacturing is central to the economic portfolio, it only makes sense that there are structured, strategic initiatives designed to maintain a world-class environment.


One critical element for the success of any manufacturing company, new or existing, is workforce. To that end, Mississippi has several initiatives in place to ensure an able workforce today, and in the future.

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• Using unemployment reserves to invest $24-26 million per year in workforce training. • The implementation of the Work Force One program, which is dedicated to developing tailored educational programs in partnership with manufacturers and community colleges to bring new workers up to speed on specific skill sets for existing jobs. Instruction and curriculum development is provided by both the colleges and the manufacturers to ensure that students graduate “job ready.” • A push on Science, Technology, English, and Math (STEM) in schools to prepare up-and-coming generations


Being tax friendly reduces overall production costs in manufacturing and is a significant attractor to manufacturing companies in choosing locations. Mississippi has several initiatives to create a tax-friendly environment, including: • Cutting taxes • Working on eliminating the franchise tax


The backbone of most manufacturing industries is the energy used to produce their products. Mississippi offers significant advantage in its energy profile including: • One of the nation’s lowest energy costs at 5-7 cents per kilowatt hour, compared to the average cost of 20-25 cents experienced in many states • An abundant natural gas supply and a transportation system to make it available to businesses statewide


A healthy manufacturing economy depends on a climate that provides the resources and advantages needed by the industry today, as well as keeping up and preparing for the needs of manufacturing tomorrow. Says Bryant, “The technology and workforce requirements have experienced tremendous change in just the last 10 years. For example, in automobile manufacturing, the technology involved in the Murano produced by our Nissan plant is now as advanced as aircraft technology.”

Mississippi Advantage

Mississippi also has the additional advantage of, as Bryant calls it, a “quality of life” workforce that is dedicated and generational. That is, Mississippi is blessed with a workforce that

“shows up on time. Does a good day’s work. Goes to church on Sunday. And helps out on their kids’ game team.”


Governor Bryant is a native Mississippian who has risen to governor. Not surprisingly, he feels strong sentiment for his home state. Says Bryant, “I love the quality of life and the hospitality of the people. I love Mississippi.” In Mississippi, we have a governor who supports our healthy and growing manufacturing industry, and is personally vested in the well-being of the industry for the benefit of the state. That is a partnership worth paying attention to and investing in for the betterment of the state, the citizens, and the entire industry of manufacturing in Mississippi.

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Three key essential areas of expertise in nearly every manufacturing today are: • Robotics • Computerization • Vertical Integration Those essential areas help guide research direction, partnerships, and educational initiatives to ensure the stability of the industry across the state.


Manufactured in Mississippi



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Manufactured in Mississippi


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If you have been receiving mysterious notices from Google warning you that your website is not mobile friendly, you are not alone. The notice subject line may read “Fix mobile usability issues found on” These notices have been going out for months to owners of websites that have Google Webmaster Tools integrated into their site. Google is warning users, not just that their websites are not built for today’s mobile devices, but that those websites will soon be penalized in Google searches from mobile devices. When we were first able to view websites on our telephones, it was amazing. We were so excited by our newfound technology and its possibility, that we were able to overlook the challenges.

The Challenge of Mobile Website Viewing It was not long before we became annoyed and frustrated as we tried to navigate websites designed for large computer screens on the relatively tiny screens available on our phones. There was a lot of scrolling, pinching, and expanding on the screen in the attempt to navigate the large spaces, tiny text, and expanding menus. The advent of tablets, also considered mobile devices, helped, but they were still a bit small and did not fix our small-screen issues on phones.

Mobile Traffic Is Significant and Growing

Despite the challenges of viewing websites on mobile devices, people have continued to use them more and more. Today, estimates range, but commonly report that 30-50% of users are accessing websites from mobile devices. Google has recognized the importance of mobile devices and the usability challenges they present. The dominant search engine provider has announced that beginning April 21, 2015, if your website is not “Mobile Friendly,” it may be getting penalized in search rankings from mobile devices. Further, Google has made vague predictions that a day may come soon when they host an entirely different search index and algorithm for searches conducted from mobile devices.

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Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the hottest invented industries this century. Everyone wants to show up first in search results. Google is the clear search industry leader, with approximately 65.4% of all US search requests. Yahoo is third and has recently grown to 11.8% of search market share after brokering a deal with Mozilla. Google’s industry dominance continues in mobile search, where they hold an astonishing 84% of market share.

Google Dominance

Professionals who optimize sites for SEO must focus on Google due to Google’s dominance in search market share. That means that the vast majority of optimized sites have been optimized for Google search, since the professionals who optimize sites tend to do so for Google. Trailing search engine companies must also include, as best they can, Google rules in their algorithms if they hope to properly rank sites optimized for Google in their search engines. In search, the world revolves around Google, so Google guides the industry.

Google Leads the Way for Better User Experience

Google has a very specific goal in search. Google is trying to provide the most accurate search results possible for any given user. To that end, Google screens out sites that try to game the system and get undeserved higher rankings. The details of their search engine algorithm are a tightly kept trade secret to prevent SEO optimizers from gaining undeserved advantage for sites they manage. They also provide public rules for optimizing sites, encouraging website owners and their managers to follow prescribed best practices so that Google can properly rank their sites.

The Move to Isolate Mobile

Since the “search and explore” Internet experience is fundamentally different for computer users and mobile device users, both in screen format and often in context (searching on the go versus searching at your desk or on a laptop in a settled position), Google is reflecting that in the search results. Their goal is simply to provide the best search results for the user. And, if the user is searching from a mobile device, that is going to be a considered factor.

Optimizing Your Website for Mobile

There are two mainstream ways to make your site “friendly” for mobile devices: the independent mobile version and the more recently popular sites featuring “responsive” designs.

The Independent Mobile Version

For years now, there has been a practice in place of building alternative websites optimized for mobile viewing. The browser actually checks to see if the user is coming to the site from a mobile device, and if so, it displays (serves) the independently created mobile version of the site. This requires a completely separate build of the website, designed specifically for mobile devices. Often these sites feature less, and more focused, content. The idea is to provide the content that is most important for mobile users in a format that is more user friendly. A big item on that short list of featured content is a “push to dial” phone number: a real convenience for those who access the

Single Platform Users’ Share of Total Digital Population

Source: comScore Media Metrix Multi-Platform, U.S., Age 18+, Mar 2014 - Mar 2015 25.0%





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In March of 2015, the number of users who use only mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) to access the Internet overtook the number of users who use only desktops to access the Internet. This marks another major milestone for the adoption of mobile device use in the United States.

The Responsive Website

Responsive designs for websites use the same website and content for both mobile and desktop devices. The difference between these sites and traditional site designs is that responsive designs feature a rule set that alters the way the site is displayed based on the screen size of the user. Rather than shrinking the site so that it fits on a smaller screen, content is often stacked on smaller devices that do not have the horizontal space available to desktop screens. The smaller the device, from tablet size to phone size, the more stacking that occurs, typically without significant shrinkage of graphics. Menus and other functions are often condensed and even feature alternative layouts to better fit the smaller formats.

Choosing Your Mobile Format for SEO

Having a separate, independent mobile site will satisfy the immediate Google requirement to be mobile friendly. For now, the regular (desktop version) site will still be indexed by Google as usual, and any work put into optimizing a site for search engines will still benefit the site in search results — whether from a mobile device or a desktop computer. However, if and when Google follows through and creates a separate search index for mobile devices, it may look only at the version that is designed for mobile devices. So an independent mobile version of the site will have to have to duplicate the complete content of the desktop site to index properly. A

responsive design has the benefit of actually using the same physical site files and will still benefit from all of the content they provide, whether from a desktop search or a mobile search. One site. One set of content to manage.

Take Action

Google has not officially announced the launch of a separate search index for mobile. It did announce the need for all websites to have mobile friendly sites by April 21, 2015, when “mobile friendly” will be used as a ranking factor for those searching from mobile devices. The time to make sure you are prepared for mobile devices is now, or you may begin missing out when it comes to all of the users (typically 30-50% and growing) searching for and using your site from mobile devices. Contact your qualified website provider to discuss your options for mobile. If you don’t have a mobile friendly site, your rankings may already be depressed, and you’ll want to rectify the situation as soon as possible. Check with your provider as soon as you can, particularly if they manage multiple sites. Undoubtedly providers are already busy updating sites for customers who have realized that their sites are not indexing as well for mobile search traffic since April 21st. Bryan Carter is the President and Owner of Think Webstore in Ridgeland, Mississippi, and author of business publications.

Spring & summer 2015

site from a phone.


Manufactured in Mississippi


Set sail for success with Mississippi Power.

As a former sailing Olympian, John Dane III could have dropped anchor anywhere in the world. As CEO of Gulf Coast Shipyard Group, he chose Mississippi – where we provide the power his company needs to manufacture all manner of vessels that sell and set sail around the globe. Whether yours is an established business or a startup, already in Mississippi or elsewhere, we’ve got the southeast quarter of the state primed for your next endeavor or expansion.

• Leading-edge Power Grid • Clean Energy and Diverse Fuel Sources • Highly Skilled Workforce • Relentless Innovation • 12 Certified Sites • Competitive Rates • Ongoing Rate Stability

Call 800.528.5196 and let our team of professionals help you find the right home for your business. Learn more at

Spring & summer 2015

Like CEO John Dane.



Leadership is a Choice

The Mississippi Manufacturers Association (MMA) has had the benefit of exceptional leaders providing a united voice for manufacturing in Mississippi for over 60 years. In recent tenures, leaders have been chosen in part for their demonstration of manufacturing leadership excellence with specific, successful manufacturing companies in Mississippi. Jay Moon, who has served as President and CEO for the MMA since 2002, was chosen for different credentials — in particular, his economic development experience.

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A History of Ambition and Diversity in Economic Development

Jay Moon has had his eye on economic development and international affairs since his undergraduate career. Moon earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations and a Masters degree in Public Administration from the deeply southern, highly-ranked program at the University of Georgia. After completing his academic degrees, Moon served in the administration offices of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the Georgia Secretary of State He then joined

the Legislative Research Commission for the state of Kentucky, where he was granted the title of Kentucky Colonel, the highest title of honor bestowed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Moon then moved to Mississippi, where he became the Director of Community and Economic Development in the office of Building and Planning for the city of Gulfport. His next career evolution brought him to Jackson, Mississippi, where he was recruited to the role of Deputy Director for the Mississippi Development Authority. It was in that role that Moon was the lead project manager in charge of bringing Nissan to Mississippi, a $1.5 billion deal. Says Moon, “I was raised in a life of public service. I have always wanted to have a career in government or public service.”

Life Experience

Moon’s father was a career Navy man, and their family lived in several locations in the states, and internationally, while he was raised. Some the places he has called home include Florida, Illinois, Georgia, Virginia, Kentucky, Mississippi,

Caracas, and Venezuela. Moon’s upbringing and career path gave him a perspective on people that transcends borders and cultures. His unusually rich life experience has been an obvious advantage.

Leadership is a Passion

Today Jay Moon leads the MMA. The organization represents more than 2,200 manufacturers and associate members and is the most recognized voice in manufacturing in the state. Moon serves as the chairman of the Mississippi Workforce Investment Board, chairman of the State Longitudinal Data System board, and chairman of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership. He also serves on the board of the Japan-America Society of Mississippi and on the board for the University of Mississippi’s Center for Manufacturing Excellence.


One of the roles of the MMA is to predict and track key strategic trends in manufacturing for Mississippi. Moon mentions three areas the MMA has taken specific interest in supporting. 1) Onshoring and Reshoring A draw to Mississippi by offshore companies who are attracted to the southeast due to lower energy rates and offsets in labor costs. 2 )Heightened Emphasis on Skilled Labor The need for a nationally competitive, certified labor force with skills and training instantly recognized in any part of the country. 3) A Strengthening in the Automobile Industry Growth in both manufacturing and parts supply.


Moon points out that Mississippi is a state of higher standards. Says Moon, Mississippi is a place of integrity. It is the people of Mississippi that make the difference. There is a sense of pride in where we live. We are people who back up what we say and are willing to be held accountable for our actions. We are people that understand value.

Through dedication and smart, hard work, Moon has helped Mississippi demonstrate its value in manufacturing to the state, to the nation, and to the international community. And, according to Jay Moon, “We are just getting started.”

Spring & summer 2015

In manufacturing, we are job creators. We are community builders. We are makers of things. We positively affect the lives of people that may never know our names.


MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST COMMUNITY COLLEGE A state leader in workforce training and community education.

• Nationally Recognized • Excellent Instruction • Academic & University Parallel Programs

• Flexible Schedules • Career & Technical Programs • Nine Convenient Locations • Affordable Costs

START with Gulf Coast...FINISH with Confidence! Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College is an Equal Opportunity Employer and welcomes students and employees without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age or qualified disability. For further information, contact the Equal Opportunity Officer at a Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Center, Campus, or the District Office. Compliance is coordinated by the Vice President for Administration and Finance, Perkinston Campus, P. O. Box 609, Perkinston, Mississippi 39573, telephone number 601-928-5211.

Our Mission:

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Take care of our customers

• Traditional, Online, Short-term & Weekend Classes • Workforce Training & Community Education

We serve the people of the Valley

to make life better.

• • • •

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.

Spring & summer 2015

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:



Email: Web:

Wheelchairs and Accessory Products

Fishing and Boating Products

Safer Automatic Locks

Poultry Products

Classail International

Diversified Products

Tool and Die Products

Manufactured in Mississippi 74

Mold Building and Repair Solid Works 3-D Prototype Samples

The Fish Grip

Boat Models

Plastic Injection Molding

Medical, Fishing, Hunting, Automotive, Golf, Poultry, Models, Custom Jobs, Assembly, Packaging, Shipping

105 E. Rankin Street • Jackson, MS 39201 Ph. 601-353-3193 • Toll: 800-890-5113 • Fax: 601-353-8069



Over the past 30 years Viking has become synonymous with the epicurean lifestyle, developing professionally styled and featured products for every major appliance category. Even though our products ship around the world, Viking has always stayed true to its roots in Greenwood, Mississippi. The Viking range was born here, and our decision to set up shop and more importantly, keep shop in our hometown is a testament to the value of our roots and the commitment we have to building Viking products in Mississippi. Visit us at VIKINGRANGE.COM

Spring & summer 2015



Manufactured in Mississippi



Spring & summer 2015


Franchise Tax During the 2015 legislative session there was finally a movement among the political leadership to do away with the franchise tax. The franchise tax is defined by the MS Department of Revenue as “a tax imposed on corporations for the privilege of doing business in the State of Mississippi.” The estimated annual cost is $220 million, $45 million of which is paid by manufacturers. Lt. Governor Tate Reeves announced a tax cut plan in February that included a 10-year phase out of the franchise tax. The possibility for major tax reform during the 2015 regular legislative session officially ended on Monday, March 23, when the House failed to reconsider the vote by which House Bill 1629 failed. The House was unable to reach the threefifths threshold required to concur with amendments to the bill, which the Senate passed the previous week. With little likelihood of enough Representatives changing their votes on this legislation, House leadership allowed the bill to die on the calendar. While the defeat of this critical tax reduction package was disappointing, MMA is encouraged with how close we came to phasing out the onerous franchise tax. Franchise tax elimination will remain a top priority as we move through this year’s election season and look toward the 2016 legislative session. Tax Credit for Hiring Veterans On March 29, the House and Senate approved the conference report on House Bill 33 unanimously. HB 33 provides a $2,000 per year tax credit for up to five years for companies that hire veterans that meet certain requirements. The total amount of state funds that can be used for this credit is capped at $1 million. Omnibus Bond Bill Senate Bill 2906 was the vehicle chosen to capture all of the bonded projects that the legislature chose to fund. In addition to major bond funding for universities and community

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colleges, the legislation also contained bond funding for projects critical for manufacturers: • $20 million for upgrades at the state-owned shipyard in Pascagoula, operated by Ingalls Shipbuilding. • $5M million for capital expenditures for a new product line at Viking Range in Greenwood. • $4.2 million to match federal disaster assistance which will help rebuild the Winston Plywood & Veneer facility in Louisville. • $20 million for MS Development Authority’s ACE fund, which is used to make grants to economic development projects. Railroad Improvements Funds were authorized for the Mississippian Railway between Amory and Fulton ($2.6 million) and the Rail Authority of East Mississippi ($1 million).


Patent Infringement The Governor signed House Bill 589 on March 28. This new law will protect companies from frivolous patent infringement claims, made by entities commonly known as “patent trolls.” The bill also includes protections for manufacturers that are lawfully protecting their intellectual property rights. HB 589 contains a 3-year repealer, which will require the legislature to revisit this issue in a few years if the federal government does not pass comprehensive patent reform.


The Legislature adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 637, which urges the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to withdraw their Clean Power Plan under Section 111(d) of the federal Clean Air Act. While this resolution is not legally binding, it puts the legislature on record as opposing the proposed rule, and offers potential legal and administrative recourse if the plan is not withdrawn.


Like all states, Mississippi is currently facing a major infrastructure problem. With more fuel efficient cars on the road, less people driving due to rising fuel prices, and the increasing cost of construction materials, the gas tax has become a declining source of revenue that is no longer able to meet our funding needs. Over the past year-and-a-half, elected officials have met with interested parties to discuss the best long-term solution for Mississippi. MMA has been active at these meetings, and has maintained the position that our state’s transportation infrastructure is a critical component to robust economic development and therefore a comprehensive solution must be reached. HB 1630 was a bond bill that passed the legislature during the 2015 session and authorized $200 million in bonds for road and bridge repair. Off the top, $18 million is set aside for MDOT to construct a bridge over the railroad in Vicksburg, and $20 million will be deposited into the State Aid Road Fund. The remaining $162 million will be used to repair and replace deficient bridges on the MDOT system, with preference being given to bridges in gaming counties. The rest of the bridges are to be fixed according to a list of deficient bridges compiled by MDOT as of July 1, 2015. The National Bridge Inspection Standards set by the Federal Highway Commission are used to determine the list of deficient bridges. A bond sinking fund is also created for the purpose of paying the debt service on these revenue bonds. MMA supported this bill throughout the process, and recognize this as a good first step towards dealing with the looming infrastructure issues that face our state. All indications are that a greater focus will be given to transportation and infrastructure issues next session, and the MMA staff will continue to be a part of these discussions. Workforce development is one of the top concerns for manufacturers across Mississippi. The ability to recruit and train skilled workers is absolutely necessary for companies to succeed. As such, MMA regularly works to increase funding for workforce training as well as enhancing training opportunities. This session there was legislation that would establish the Mississippi Works Fund. The 0.2% that employers currently pay in unemployment taxes would be transferred to the Mississippi Works Fund for the next two years. This would generate an estimated $25 million a year to this new fund. There would be no increase in unemployment insurance premiums, and this would not negatively impact the Unemployment Trust Fund. Due to an inability of opposing sides to agree on a compromise, this bill died during conference. The MMA will continue to support any proposed legislation that would help create a more robust workforce in Mississippi, attracting better paying and higher skilled jobs, and making our state a destination for economic development activities. Kelly Wright is the Associate Director of Government Affairs for the Mississippi Manufacturers Association.

Spring & summer 2015

Workforce Development


WHEN YOU INTERVIEW A REGIONS SBA S P E C I A L I S T, press them for big ideas on small business lending. You won’t find us at a loss when it comes to suggesting ways to help your business grow. So ask us the tough questions.

1 I understand Small Business Administration (SBA) loans require as little as 10% down. Is that true?

2 What are the advantages of an SBA loan for a business like mine?

3 Can I get extended repayment terms with an SBA loan?

4 Is Regions a preferred SBA lender? What makes it one? Your Regions SBA Specialist can help you determine the best loan for your situation. So interview a Regions SBA Specialist today to learn how we can move your business forward.

Jason Duren | Business Banking Relationship Manager | 601.605.5581

Manufactured in Mississippi 80

Š 2015 Regions Bank. All loans and lines subject to credit approval. | Regions and the Regions logo are registered trademarks of Regions Bank. The LifeGreen color is a trademark of Regions Bank.


Spring & summer 2015


How to Power Economic Development M OR E T HA N



9,000 JOBS



and 24,000 in the South over the past 5 years

to community and nonprofit organizations over the past five years



800 miles of commercially navigable waterways, 28 rail systems

4 foreign trade zones, no warehouse tax on exports



to qualify industrial sites as development-ready

in the U.S., and rates well below the national average



Unlock the potential of your business with the tools, resources and people you need, by partnering with

Manufactured in Mississippi 82

the South's leading corporate force for economic development.


For Mississippi sites, properties and profiles, visit: A message from Entergy Mississippi, Inc. Š2014 Entergy Services, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Spring & summer 2015

Manufactured in Mississippi



are specifically designed to improve your company’s overall profitability and to help advance industry in Mississippi. MPI will work with you to either tailor the content and format of our courses to the specific needs of your organization or to create entirely new courses to better serve your goals.

COURSES WE OFFER INCLUDE High Performance Composites Lean Manufacturing Injection Molding Extrusion



Spring & summer 2015

Physical and Analytical Testing 3D Printing and Laser Scanning Workforce Development Research and Development and Commercialization Support


The source of employee benefits. Proudly serving small and large employers for four decades. Life & Health

Dental & Vision

Disability Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi

Manufactured in Mississippi 86 • (601) 948-1222


Š2015 Yokohama Tire Corporation

Spring & summer 2015

Yokohama is proud to be opening our first commercial manufacturing plant in Mississippi. We look forward to building upon our legacy of performance, quality and durability from our new home in the heart of the South.


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

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.

Manufactured in Mississippi 88

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

UMMC Healthcare. Tomorrow. Every day.

His nearest medical specialist is a minute


UMMC Telehealth brings care closer to home.


Spring & summer 2015

See a doctor. When you’re ill, that’s the first step to getting better. But for too many Mississippians, it’s a hurdle. Over half of Mississippi counties are medically underserved. So UMMC’s Center for Telehealth merges medicine and technology to deliver vital personal healthcare to every corner of the state. Using Internet video technology, UMMC doctors diagnose and treat patients remotely. This goes beyond basic checkups. Telehealth offers 35 medical specialties, including cardiology, neurology, emergency medicine and dermatology. Instead of impossibly long drives, patients can now have direct access to care in medical facilities, businesses and schools statewide. UMMC has become a national model for telehealth services. But what really matters is the 500,000 patients we’ve helped right here at home. Learn more at


©2015 UMMC

and Counting ... Thank you, Toyota Mississippi team members, suppliers and the Northeast Mississippi community for all your hard work. Together we are building high quality vehicles at

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record pace.

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