Manufactured in Mississippi || Summer 2017

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Training today’s workforce to create, build, and serve. 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 Dr. Stacy M. Carmichael, Associate Vice President of Administration, Perkinston Campus, P. O. Box 609, Perkinston, Mississippi 39573, telephone number 601-928-6672, email address



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Letter from the Editor Manufacturing supports one-third of the livelihoods in Mississippi. It is a part of our culture and a point of pride for the state. In this issue we hope you enjoy reading about invention, education, and leadership that span decades and have much to show for their dedicated efforts — raising generations of innovators and doers. Manufactured in Mississippi magazine is the first privately held Mississippi publication of its kind. Each edition focuses on important industry issues and topics, including state and national legislation, special interest pieces, and business profiles. Every issue is directly distributed to key elected officials, legislators, business leaders, industry leaders, and members of the Mississippi Manufacturers Association. If you have an important topic that you would like to see on the pages, or are interested in how you can have your company represented in the magazine, please contact our editorial or advertising staff. We trust you will find Manufactured in Mississippi an important read. – Bryan Carter Editor-in-Chief

Publisher P2 Publishers Editor-in-Chief Bryan Carter Contributing Editors Matthew Jackson, Kelsie Walters Visual Design Justin Maxwell, Chance Shelton Photography Chance Shelton, Bryan Carter Advertising Director Pam Sultan Manufactured in Mississippi is published by P2 Publishers. Reproduction of Manufactured in Mississippi magazine, in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited without written permission. We do not accept responsibility for any unsolicited materials and may not return them. All information in this magazine is taken from sources considered authoritative, but P2 Publishers cannot guarantee their accuracy. Inclusion of editorials, images, advertisements, or other materials in this magazine does not constitute an endorsement for products or services by the publisher. Expert editorials are provided by outside authors, and represent the expert opinions of those authors.

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Harnessing Change in Manufacturing Mississippi Manufacturers Association President and CEO Jay Moon Embraces Manufacturing Evolution



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Spartan Mosquito Eradicator New Mississippi Invention, the Spartan Mosquito Eradicator, Devastates Mosquito Populations Simply and Affordably

Hinds Community College Mississippi’s Largest Community College and Higher Learning Mid-Level Workforce Development Leader Celebrates Its Centennial Year

Mississippi’s Father of Polymer Science The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) Is Home to One of the Nation’s Leading Polymer Science Programs



Planning, Preparing, and Executing: Mississippi’s Historically Successful 2016


Social Media in the Manufacturing Sector: Using Today’s Trends for Tomorrow’s Successes

The Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) Completed an Amazing Year in 2016, One Which Was Historically Successful from Its Very Beginning.




Social Media for Business Is More About Relationships Than Anything Else




History abounds with technological revolutions, or time periods during which technology advances and ushers in new ways of doing things. Until recently, these periods typically encompassed at least a few years, but now it seems a new technological revolution happens weekly or even daily. As MMA President and CEO Jay Moon puts it, “the speed of change is accelerating.” Within the manufacturing sector, this age of continuous innovation is called advanced manufacturing, and it is rapidly transforming the world of manufacturing in a big way. The saying certainly holds true that change is the only constant.

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How can manufacturers in Mississippi keep up with all the changes? How can they compete with new, unfamiliar innovations overtaking old, familiar ones so regularly? A closer look at how Jay Moon and the MMA face these challenges shows that, by finding a balance between holding onto the past’s strengths and letting its weaknesses be replaced by better options, manufacturers can overcome the challenges of advanced manufacturing and even utilize them to their advantage.

been back on the rise for the past few years, however, and unLOOKING BACK derstanding why these ups and downs occur when they do is Timeless Business Strategies an essential part of preparing for the future. “Although it may seem contradictory, for a business model The most obvious factor in the rise and fall of manufacturing to withstand a barrage of new ideas and innovations, it must jobs is how susceptible manufacturing is to fluctuations in the first be built on the same foundation that has made businesses economy. Material, energy, labor, and other costs determine strong for years: people and truth.” This wisdom has grown how many people a company can afout of Moon’s own career experiences, ford to employ, so when these things which have taught him how important FOR A BUSINESS MODEL TO vary, so do jobs. Recent developments it is to be able to work with people — WITHSTAND A BARRAGE OF such as a significant increase in labor from colleagues to attorneys to legisNEW IDEAS AND INNOVATIONS, costs in many countries outside the lative officials — and how to identify IT MUST FIRST BE BUILT ON THE United States, the implementation the truth in a world overrun with data. SAME FOUNDATION THAT HAS of natural gas lowering energy costs, And he is not the only person at the MADE BUSINESSES STRONG FOR and the increased popularity of cusMMA who understands the value of YEARS: PEOPLE AND TRUTH. tomization have led to growth in lostability: five of his colleagues have cal manufacturing jobs. been working for the MMA for over 40 of the company’s 60 years, and one MOVING FORWARD of them has never held another job. Investing in relationships Once a business model is built on the firm foundation of with people and upholding the truth is an enduring recipe for lessons learned from the past, it needs to be able to adapt to a dedicated community. what Moon calls the innovative economy. Modern manufacturing is rife with disruptive technology, or developments that Understanding the Industry are completely transformative in their industry. Innovations An equally important way that understanding the past can like robotics, 3D printing, self-driving cars, voice assistants, help manufacturers tackle the future is by analyzing major and smart home accessories are just a few examples of the changes that have occurred in the field so far. A particularly types of advancements that multiply at an overwhelming rate well-known example of a huge change the manufacturing secand drive technological revolution. It’s extremely common for tor went through recently was the recession. The economic two innovations to join forces and form a third. Every technofailure that began in 2008 led to a significant decrease in logical disruption opens the door for more. manufacturing jobs in Mississippi. Manufacturing jobs have

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Embracing Change Choosing business strategies based on someone’s personal assessment of the market is risky and often unsuccessful, whereas predictive analytics save time and energy for both manufacturers and their customers. If local manufacturers offer the same modern convenience that big online companies do, they may have a competitive edge by offering high-quality products, faster shipping times or none at all, more convenient returns and exchanges, and an inviting, personal touch. Plus, local manufacturers can make themselves even more approachable through an active social media presence that highlights their community involvement and personality.

LEADING The biggest takeaways from Jay Moon’s career and business management style are to always remember the value of people and truth, to keep up with what’s happening in the manufacturing world and why it’s happening, and to be adaptable and willing to implement new innovations. It is possible for manufacturers in Mississippi to face the challenges of technological revolution head-on, making their business stronger than ever in the process. With the help of the MMA, Mississippi can take the advanced manufacturing world by storm.


Understanding Change The most important thing manufacturers can do to adapt is to understand the innovative economy. All too often, people subscribe to myths about technological advancements rather than investigating them for themselves. For example, the implementation of robotics into manufacturing worries a lot of people because statistics show that one robot replaces six human jobs. What these numbers fail to account for is that while robots phase out old jobs, they create new ones like industrial maintenance and data management. According to Moon, understanding and implementing data management is so essential that children should be learning about it in school. Data accumulates exponentially faster every day, so learning how to sift through it all to identify and prioritize what is important is a must. A great example of successful data management is predictive analytics, or the way online retailers track and gauge customers’ shopping and buying habits to personalize their shopping experience. Combined with the simplicity and convenience of ordering online, predictive analytics gives online retailers a major advantage over local venders.





New Mississippi invention, the Spartan Mosquito Eradicator, devastates mosquito populations simply and affordably. Two Spartan Mosquito Eradicators cover approximately one acre, last 90 days, and sell for about 20 dollars per pair.

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INSPIRATION FOR INVENTION One summer afternoon in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, a husband decided that he was not okay with his pregnant wife having to soak herself in bug repellent. He had cause to be worried about mosquitoes. West Nile disease was actively being spread by mosquitoes in Mississippi. Jeremy Hirsch, founder of Spartan Mosquito, began reading about mosquito control techniques being pioneered in Africa by the Gates Foundation and others. He had noted the criticisms of the solutions being temporary. In many cases, product duration was determined by the next rain since it washed the products away. Later, Hirsch watched a hearing in congress where a repellent company’s response to the Zika outbreak was to ramp up the manufacturing of its existing repellent to 24 hours a day (and sell more product). Keep in mind that repellents do not kill mosquitoes, they only hope to keep mosquitoes at bay. He thought to himself, “I can do better.” And, he did.



BAD NEWS FOR MOSQUITOES Out of frustration, and then inspiration, came innovation. After many months of researching and prototyping new device ideas, Hirsch invented the Spartan Mosquito Eradicator. This device stands to revolutionize the mosquito control industry world-wide. The Spartan Mosquito Eradicator attracts hunting mosquitoes by emulating attractors of their natural prey — animals and people. Once the mosquitoes feed, they die. Female mosquitoes feed just before they lay eggs, which means the breeding cycle is also broken. The result is a solution that decimates the mosquito population within the range of the devices, with two devices covering about an acre. This innovative concept stands to change the way people manage mosquitoes.

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SUCCESS CRITERIA According to Hirsch, the solution had to be effective, easy, affordable, long-lasting, and as safe as possible. The inventor created a device that only requires the user to add warm water and hang it in the shade. Studies show that the device, once activated, provides greater than 95% mosquito control for 90 days. To date, the device has been tested in both formal and informal environments from the swamps of Florida to the bayous of Louisiana, on the Mississippi coast, in the Mississippi delta, and even in a Zika control area. In every case, mosquito “hits” (mosquito bites or landings) are reduced to near zero, or zero, within weeks or even days. The biggest wins for the customer are the effectiveness and the price point, making it a product for the masses. Consumers get two units for around $20, which control approximately one acre and last 90 days. That is a fraction of the price of many mosquito control services and solutions.

Price point is also an advantage in taking the product to market. Hirsch says, “By bringing a product to market that is better than sprays, repellents, candles, and repellent services, at a price point that is a fraction of the cost of professional spray services, we have opened up the market. We just received approval to sell in 10 states, including our home state of Mississippi, and began sales the same day we received approval. The response has been overwhelming after only a week. The phones are ringing off the hook and the website traffic is outrageously high. People desperately want and need this product.” SOLUTIONS FOR SUCCESS Spartan has perfected two solutions. The first solution, available now in select states, uses sodium chloride as an active ingredient. As a result, they have the same basic active ingredients as sugar cookies. The second formula uses boric acid as the active ingredient and only contains a fraction of boron or boric acid content found in direct contact products such as eye washes, talcum powders, soaps, shampoos, and even Silly Putty®. This second solution is pending EPA approval


Place two units per square acre on your property. More than two units per square acre can be used. Ideal placement is in a corner in the shade, or along the property line.

before it can be sold to the public. The devices are also designed to not harm honey bees, addressing the important issue of bee protection for farmers and environmentalists.

ON A MISSION The devastation mosquitoes bring to families, loved ones, and people of all ages is happening now. The company goal is to help prevent the powerfully negative effects of mosquitoes on people in the United States, and in mosquito infested communities abroad as quickly as possible, and many government officials are supporting the product. POSITIONED TO SUCCEED This Mississippi manufacturer has found a way to help people with a device that works and is simple to use. They are positioned to corner the market with a product that addresses a common and serious problem, is easily accessible, and has a low cost point and simple distribution plan. They are rapidly taking orders and scaling their manufacturing.

Spartan Mosquito is a Mississippi business with a heartfelt mission and a strategy to succeed. Using the indicators of public response, market viability, critical demand, and accessible pricing, they are well positioned to be Mississippi’s next successful international, multimillion-dollar manufacturing company — and save lives in the process.

Spartan Mosquito is the manufacturer of the Spartan Mosquito Eradicator. The Spartan Mosquito Eradicator decimates mosquito populations easily and affordably, for about 20 dollars for three months for one acre — reducing mosquito bites and landings by 95%. Spartan Mosquito Eradicators are available for ordering online and expect to be in retail locations beginning in June 2017. For more information, visit


GETTING TO MARKET Spartan Mosquito is working diligently to make the Spartan Mosquito Eradicators widely available to the public in major retail outlets and to world health organizations, government organizations, and nongovernment organizations worldwide, but they have to go through all of the channels for approval both at home and abroad. Hirsch is attempting to get an early greenlight because mosquitoes are so dangerous and his product has ingredients at levels that have already been deemed safe by the EPA in other products. In the meantime, mosquitoes are carrying viruses, parasites, and diseases including the Zika virus, West Nile virus, and Malaria, and are actively transmitting them to people.


Training the Next Generation of Mississippi’s Skilled Workforce

More than 3,000 Skilled Graduates since 2014 from Over 75 School Districts Mississippi Scholars Tech Master is a new education program administered by the Public Education Forum of Mississippi — a foundation of the Mississippi Economic Council. This four-year program encourages students to take a career/technical course of study so that they are job-ready upon high school graduation — in both mind-set and skill-set. Students who have met the Tech Master performance benchmarks for career-readiness are recognized at graduation with a medallion and seals for their high school diploma and transcript. Mississippi Scholars Tech Master Curriculum Current MDE Career Pathway Track - Academic Course of Study: English (4 credits) Mathematics (3 credits)

• Algebra 1 • Math above Algebra 1 (Course has to be related to program of study)

Geometry (mandatory) Science (3 credits)

• Biology 1 • Two Courses Above Biology 1

Social Studies (3 credits) • American History • Government • Mississippi Studies

Computer (1 credit) Health or PE (1/2 credit)

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Electives (2 ½ credits) • Must take 4 CTE credits in the same area of your program of study*


• Must have 21 minimum credits – students can go the 21 or 24 credit route allowing time for internship • Non-negotiable

Additional Requirements: • 40 hours of community or volunteer service during high school • Minimum of 18 ACT Composite Score (Overall Score) or minimum 36 ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery Test) or Silver Level WorkKeys • 2.5 high school GPA on a 4.0 scale • 95% school attendance during high school years • No out-of-school suspension • Must attain a passing score, as established by the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) on the Mississippi Career Planning and Assessment System (CPAS2) or a passing score on an MDE-approved industry certification assessment Mississippi Scholars Tech Master must complete any remaining state-mandated high school graduation requirements. Dual credit courses are acceptable. *Flexibility to tailor courses to area of interest.

Contact MEC to learn more about how you can help support this program in your community. PO Box 23276 • Jackson, MS 39225-3276 601-969-0022 •

It pays to be hard-headed about safety.

Most workers who suffer head impact injuries are not wearing hardhats.* Don’t become one of them. Wear safety headgear.

*Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Jackson Campus-Academic/Technical Center

Jackson Campus-Nursing/Allied Health Center

Rankin Campus




Among the pillars of higher education and workforce development in Mississippi is Hinds Community College. Established in 1917, the institution is celebrating its 100th year of community inspired service. The exemplary community college is lead by its sixth president, Dr. Clyde Muse, who assumed the leadership role 39 years ago. Dr. Muse has since been dubbed the “Godfather of Community Colleges” by his contemporaries and colleagues.

Raymond Campus

Utica Campus

Vicksburg-Warren Campus


If you are driving along Highway 18 in Raymond, deep in the heart of Mississippi just beside the Natchez Trace, you will pass Hinds Community College. Seeing the main campus in person, driving past the campus football stadium and multitude of classroom buildings, administrative buildings, and student dorms, you may easily mistake the Raymond campus for a four-year university. The impression is earned.

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higher education funding, and real-world environments and resources with an invested student population to create one of the most successful, impactful set of programs in the country.

RETURN ON INVESTMENT Hinds Community College provides a return on investment for students, collaborating companies from the private sector, and Mississippi state taxpayers. Students who attend Hinds Community College can earn NOT YOUR AVERAGE COMMUNITY COLLEGE degrees and secure job offers in two years or less. Hinds is a place Hinds Community College proves that students can have a private industry can partner with academia to create programs full campus experience without attending a four-year university. that ensure job readiness from graduating and certified students. Students can pursue a two-year Associate of Applied Science It is a college that manufacturers, transporters, and raw material or Associate of Arts degree, take courses to transfer into a fourcompanies can depend on as a steady resource for skilled workers. year program, or earn career and technical certifications that As a partner and a resource, Hinds Community College is prepare them for entry into mid-level skilled jobs or serve as a a draw for new companies locating to Mississippi when workfoundation for higher-level workforce careers. force is one of their primary assets that dictates success for their Hinds Community College is the state’s fourth largest business and is a significant factor in choosing a location for higher learning institution. In addition to academics, the twotheir facilities. year college offers a full range of sports For the state, every dollar spent proprograms including football, basketball, HINDS COMMUNITY COLLEGE vides a return. According to the National soccer, softball, golf, baseball, tennis, and Strategic Planning and Research Center HAS BECOME AN INSTITUTION cheer. Their men’s baseball team went (nSPARC) at Mississippi State Universito the National Junior College AthTHAT EMPOWERS MISSISSIPPI ty in a report entitled “What is the Value letic Association College World Series YOUTH WITH THE PROMISE OF of Community Colleges to Mississippi in 2014. The most impressive achieveHONEST WORK AND WELLTaxpayers?,” in Mississippi, every dollar ment, however, for this institution is not PAYING CAREERS AND ITS of state funding in community college its outstanding campus and student-life delivers a $4.86 return to taxpayers. PRIVATE PARTNERS WITH A offerings that rival four-year colleges and universities. The most impressive CONTINUOUS STREAM OF FOLLOW THE JOBS — achievement of this college is in the ABLE WORKERS. INDUSTRIES AND PROGRAMS workforce-ready students it graduates Since its inception, Hinds Community year after year. College has geared its programs toward job sectors in need of workers. The community college was actually REAL WORLD IMPACT founded as an agricultural high school. Hinds Community College has one of the largest impacts Just 100 years ago, in 1917, the “Hinds Agricultural High on the mid-level workforce and the manufacturing resource, School” started with 117 students to develop graduates that would production, and delivery cycle in the state of Mississippi and go on to farm-related careers. Following World War II, there was a the southern region as a whole. As the fourth largest higher need for aviation mechanics and an aviation program was formed. learning institution in the state of Mississippi, Hinds ComAs part of that program, an airport was constructed. The John Bell munity College delivered over 3,100 workers to the workforce Williams Airport is still an active part of the campus. in 2016 (graduated 1,509 students and credentialed 1,615 stuToday, the John Bell Williams Airport airport offers diverse dents). Its accolades include being ranked first in the nation in aviation programs and is home to the college’s Unmanned Aerial community college programs, being ranked first in the nation Systems (UAS) program, the first program of its type in the region. for career technical programs, and exceeding the national avThe college also has an agreement with Delta State University for erage for college completion for first-time, full-time students. those individuals interested in obtaining a bachelor or doctorate Hinds Community College combines private partnerships,



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CROSSOVER LEADS TO INNOVATION Of particular interest is the crossover that is achieved between programs. While welding has obvious applications across industries — from shipbuilding to construction to auto making to general manufacturing — other program crossovers are synergistic. For example, Hinds Community College Agriculture Program and the Hinds College Drone Program partners with Mississippi State University’s Precision Agriculture Program to monitor agricultural interests from the air — interests such as crop progression, infestation monitoring, moisture monitoring, and yield monitoring. Says Dr. Stocks, “It is estimated, that in 2017, 80% of Hinds Community College Drone Technology will be applied in ‘precision agriculture’.” EXPERIENCED LEADERSHIP AND AN EQUATION FOR SUCCESS The President of Hinds Community College is Clyde Muse. He has served as president since 1978. Dr. Muse is known in the academic community for his deep knowledge base of the community college system, his decades of experience in all levels of education, his strategic planning, and his well-grounded advice to his colleagues. Muse began his career in public education in the 1940s. His career spans high school education to the apex of higher learning leadership. A Complete Life Cycle Approach replete with Efficiency Dr. Muse is well known for his strategic approach to leadership and program management. For four decades at Hinds Community College, Dr. Muse has promoted private partner-

ships, full life cycle curriculums, and program efficiencies, and today the college is a leader in all three categories. Private Partnerships Local private industry partners may provide equipment, funding for facilities, or contributions to curriculum. The result is that many industry programs include hands-on experience for students with the actual equipment they will use on the job, familiarity with real-life procedures, and the credentials required for an actual position with the partner company. Ultimately private industry partners benefit from a qualified, graduating workforce and often provide jobs for graduates. Among the Hinds Community College and academy partners are: PROGRAM


Diesel Technology Academy

Empire Truck, Stribling Equipment, and Hinds County

Truck Driving Academy


Riverbarge Program

Golden Barge, Smith Towing (Yazoo Towing), and Magnolia Marine

Agriculture Program

Farm Bureau, Mississippi Cattlemen’s Association, Mississippi Poultry Association, and Cal-Maine Foods

Full Life Cycle Curriculums Rather than focusing on a single segment in a manufacturing process, leadership has positioned the college to provide programs for all parts of the manufacturing life cycle, from resource allocation to final product delivery, including (based


degree in commercial aviation. Other career programs and course categories important to the manufacturing lifecycle in Mississippi include the Riverbarge Program, the Diesel Technology Academy, Truck Driving Academy, Agriculture, Welding, Sales, and Logistics. According to Dr. Chad Stocks, Vice President of Workforce Development and Career and Technical Education, the Agriculture program focuses heavily on the poultry and beef industries, and in 1991, Hinds County had more cattle than any other state east of the Mississippi River.


Manufactured in Mississippi


on industry) transportation, administration, sales and account management, parts sourcing, manufacturing, and maintenance. Program Efficiencies The programs offered by Hinds Community College are continually evaluated to ensure that current workforce needs are being met. Sometimes there are complete program changes, like the addition of the Drone Program. Other changes include efficiencies like the Diesel Technology Academy, which graduated about 16 students per year at its inception, and now has a staggered schedule that graduates up to 16 students every eight weeks. In the process the academy has also reduced class size, increased quality, and increased safety. A HIGHER LEARNING INSTITUTION MADE IN MISSISSIPPI It is appropriate that Mississippi is the home for Hinds Community College. Mississippi has an abundance of midlevel workforce opportunities for employees, and attracts manufacturers from around the world with its manufacturingfriendly business policies and its fully committed workforce. Hinds Community College has become an institution that empowers Mississippians of all ages with the promise of honest work and well-paying careers, and its private partners with a continuous stream of able workers. In today’s higher-learning culture that is fraught with higher costs and weakened job markets, it is inspiring to discover a choice that offers two-year programs and certification programs that shorten the time for education, decrease educational costs, and offers excellent opportunities for employment directly out of school by design.


Well done, Mississippi!


Manufactured in Mississippi


We make a lot of good things here. Like friends, neighbors and business partners. Georgia-Pacific employs over 1,700 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 $525 million in the state to improve safety, foster innovation and boost environmental performance. ©2017. Georgia-Pacific LLC. All rights reserved.


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



It is said that behind every great leader is a great partner. A partner that makes great sacrifices in the name and cause of that leader. A partner that demonstrates their commitment through their actions, putting the leader’s mission ahead of their own personal gains and interests. The same might be said for great university programs. Programs that would not have risen to greatness without champions that pledged their ambition and tenacity to ensure the program would not fail, and would, in fact, be elevated to join and lead alongside the world’s best programs in their category. For the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) Polymer Science Program, Dr. Shelby Thames is one of those champions.


The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) is home to one of the nation’s leading polymer science programs. It is also the home of Dr. Shelby Thames, a man who invested decades of his life, chose USM over a lucrative recruitment offer, and made a career out of creating a world-class polymer science program in the heart of Mississippi.


FATHER OF POLYMER SCIENCE IN MISSISSIPPI While Dr. Thames will generously give credit to peers and predecessors when asked about the university and the polymer science program, it is obvious that USM has recognized Dr. Thames in a most admirable way for his contributions. It is made obvious by the building that carries his name. It is made obvious by the street that bears his name. And, most surely, it is made obvious by his reputation and Mississippi’s polymer science origin stories as told by USM staff, academic peers, and business and community leaders. Dr. Thames will recount the tales of the teams and individuals that made the polymer science program at USM worldclass. Those teams will tell you how Dr. Thames inspired great action and never gave up on cause or direction. They will tell you that the program that is now world-renowned is on the map due in significant part to Dr. Thames. A LOGICAL BEGINNING Thames earned both his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry (1959) and Master of Science in Chemistry (1961) degrees at USM, where he also served as a chemistry instructor while a graduate student. He was invited to be a Fellow at the University of Tennessee, where he earned his Ph.D. in Chemistry in 1964. After receiving his Ph.D., Thames was invited to return to USM as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry. In doing so, Thames joined with Dr. James Scott Long and took his first steps into the growing world of polymer science.

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TUNG OIL LEGACY Dr. James Scott Long was leading the Pan American Tung Research and Development League (PATRDL) that was tasked with expanding the uses of tung oil, which was a strategic material during World War II for making rubber without using rubber trees. After the war, Mississippi had developed a large crop of tung trees and needed a new use for tung oil as a resource, which is harvested from pressed tung tree nuts. It happens that tung oil as a monomer has limited uses, but in polymerization it can be used in place of petroleum as a basic, fundamental source of raw material. Tung oil also has the benefit of being renewable and agriculture-based, which, especially in Mississippi, helps the farmer,

the economy, and the balance of agriculture with industry. PASSING THE TORCH Dr. Long became the Administrative President, and Dr. Thames was promoted to Vice President of Research for PATRDL. It was during this time that Dr. Thames dove headlong into polymer science, where he embarked on a selftaught journey of reading, research, and conducting experiments with a focus on emulsion polymerizations and solventborne polymerizations. His accomplishments and insights planted the seeds of a vision that would ultimately develop into a dedication and mission of creating a world-class polymer sciences program at the University of Southern Mississippi.

the closest “real” airport at the time, and picked up Dr. Alexander. As one might guess, Alexander had a very successful visit, and funding was offered. THE WRENCH AND THE FORK Polymer science was growing. Jobs were emerging, and a recruiter representing Deering Millikin, a growing textile company, reached out to Dr. Thames. As a result, Thames now had an Army contract in one hand and an offer to more

than triple his salary in the other. CLARITY AND VISION Thames and his wife, Shirley, had a heart-to-heart conversation regarding careers, family, support, and home. In the end, Thames credits his wife for releasing him from the ties and obligations that money so often imposes and giving him the gift of freedom to choose a path and career where he could follow his passions and do what he loved — to teach and further build upon

A SHOT IN THE ARM Still working with minimal resources, Dr. Thames concepted and typed up a proposal for polymer research for the U.S. Army on carbon paper, including a budget, and mailed it. To his surprise and delight, on a Tuesday, Thames received a call from Dr. Ben Alexander of the U.S. Army who said he was potentially interested in funding the proposal. However, Dr. Ben Alexander had not heard of any research being done in Mississippi and was not even sure that the university existed. At Thames’s insistence and invitation, Alexander agreed to travel to Mississippi and see the facility in person. Some days later, Dr. Thames drove to New Orleans,


A POLYMER SCIENCES PROGRAM IN THE MAKING Dr. Thames began exercising a dedication for his developing research in polymer science. He and a team of bright-minded graduate students that were recruited to assist were conducting regular research and pub“IF YOU ALWAYS PUT lishing results, IN 110% EFFORT, YOU while at the same WILL NEVER LOSE A time putting polyCLIENT.” mers to practical use in new prod- DR. SHELBY THAMES ucts and emerging industries. By the early 1970’s, Thames’s team had identified approximately 400 companies involved in polymer sciences that needed help. He was developing a market for their research, and they were submitting proposals to help fund research and advance the field of polymer sciences in Mississippi.


the foundation that was about to become the USM Polymer Science program. RECOGNIZING POLYMER SCIENCE USM now had funding, equipment, and a need for faculty. Polymer science was officially launched within the College of Science and a faculty member was added. Graduate funding was leveraged to employ graduate students to fill the ranks. In 1982, with instrumental help from Senator Thad Cochran in providing extensive federal funding toward the advancement of polymer sciences engineering, education, research, development, and commercialization, Dr. Thames was able to see his dream of establishing a technical center for polymer sciences in Mississippi come true by forming the Mississippi Polymer Institute. Since its inception, the institute has assisted hundreds of polymer science related companies

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A HISTORY OF DEDICATION Over many years, Dr. Thames was asked to fill multiple roles, all the while caretaking the growing polymer science program. His roles included Chairman of the Department of Polymer Science, Dean of the College of Science, Dean of the College of Science and Technology, Vice President of Administration and Regional Campuses, Executive Vice President, and President before finally returning to a full time role in polymer sci-



Manufactured in Mississippi


ences as a Distinguished University Research Professor, a position he loves dearly. During his tenure at USM, across his many positions, Dr. Thames has accrued a list of significant accomplishments. Among the ones he holds dearest are starting the Medical Technology Program, starting the Construction Technology Program, starting the Architectural Technology Program, starting the Criminal Justice Program, involving USM in groundbreaking collaborations including artificial heart work and biomaterials research, almost doubling university research funding to $102 million, and requiring every administrator to teach. But the accomplishment that is closest to his heart is his work in polymer science. Some of the most inspiring stories about Dr. Thames come from the faculty and staff at USM, particularly in the polymer sciences programs where you will find faculty that studied under Dr. Thames at one point in their academic career. A former interim director of the Mississippi Polymer Institute, Dr. Robert Thompson, says Dr. Thames, through his leadership and the work he has done, is an inspiration to both faculty and students. Dr. Monica Tisack is the Director of the Mississippi Polymer Institute. She studied under Dr. Thames as an undergraduate over 25 years ago and has returned to her alma mater. She still has fond memories of her years at USM and studying under Thames, and other highly respected faculty. Says Tisack, “It’s unusual to find someone with a vision that works that vision for the number of years Dr. Thames has, and has the tremendous impact we still benefit from. We should all aspire to accomplish as much as Dr. Thames.” She credits her current livelihood to the work Dr. Thames has done for the Polymer Sciences program and USM. ulty, and B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. graduates. Dr. Thames compares the evolution of the USM polymer science program to a three-stage polymerization reaction. Stage 1: Start or Don’t We started Stage 2: Propagation We put in lots of hard work Stage 3: Termination Now we have a thriving center for polymer science complete with a Ph.D. program

Dr. Shelby Thames officially retired after over 52 years of service. He still keeps an office at USM and still teaches polymer science. Says Dr. Thames of his fortuitous accomplishments in polymer sciences, academia, business, and politics,

“The harder I work, the luckier I get.” SUMMER 2017

PAST TO PRESENT Dr. Thames recalls the focus of the early days being the survival of the program, which was one of his incentives to stay. He recalls the work of Dr. McCane, who helped give the department a start and control over its own direction, as well as Dr. Lucas’s continued support. USM was the first to offer a Bachelor of Science in Polymer Science within its own department in the nation. Today, USM has in its polymer science resources the Polymer Institute, The Accelerator (to accelerate the growth of startup ventures), the School of Polymers and High Performance Materials, Ph.D. Fac-


L eading the Charge for Mississippi Manufacturers Ever y Day

Member ship Matter s A Voice in the State Legislature and U.S. Congress Publications and Information Unlimited Resources and Consultation Seminars and Training Courses H ealth, Dental, Vision, Accident, Critical Illness, Long-Term Disability, Short-Term Disability, Life Insurance, and TeleMedicine A+ Rated Workers’ Comp, Property, General Liability, and Auto Liability for State and Multistate Insurance Policies Member B eneet Ser vices Programs For More Information:

Visit Manufactured in Mississippi 34

Contact Shannon Hood

Marketing & Membership Manager 601-292-1127 601-292-

Jay C. Moon, President & CEO Mississippi Manufacturers Association


The Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) completed an amazing year in 2016, one which was historically successful from its very beginning. Glenn McCullough, Jr., executive director of the MDA, likes to stress that any success the MDA sees is not primarily beneficial for the agency, but most importantly, economic development helps all of Mississippi, especially her workers and citizens. 2016 IN REVIEW February 8, 2016, marked the single largest day for economic development and investment in Mississippi’s economy in the history of our state. On that day, Continental Tire and Topship announced developments in the state that totaled over $1.5 billion in combined capital investments and with plans to create around 3,500 new jobs in the state.

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The upward trend continued throughout 2016 with other investments like:

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Among the programs offered and supported by the MDA are:

Ambassadors Program • Southern Motion expansion in Baldwyn, $20 million capital In conjunction with 3 partners/sponsors (Entergy, Missisinvestment, 600 new jobs; sippi Power, and TVA), the MDA started its Ambassadors • Plum Creek Environmental Technologies expansion in West Program last March. The aim of the program is to help comPoint, $825,000 capital investment, 50 new jobs; munities learn how to best use the full extent of their local re• McNeely Plastics new operation in Hazlehurst, $6.5 million sources for community, economic, and industrial development. capital investment, 25 new jobs; To that end, the MDA went into 9 communities in 2016 with • Hol-Mac expansion in Bay Springs, $5 million capital investthe Program, inviting members of the communities to particiment, 40 new jobs; pate. The Program especially looks for participation from busi• BMSI new operation in Iuka, $6 million capital investment, ness leaders, elected officials, educa100 new jobs; tors, and other positions central to • ROCKFON new operation in ByTHE MDA CONTINUES DEVELOPING the life of the local community. halia, $42 million capital investWAYS TO HELP MISSISSIPPI Teams are formed in each comment, 90 new jobs; BUSINESSES GROW. FROM munity, and their training program • Premium Waters new operation in BRINGING IN NEW COMPANIES TO consists of studying principles and Hinds County, $20 million capital ASSISTING EXISTING BUSINESS responsibilities of leadership, lookinvestment, 42 new jobs; EXPANSION TO PLANTING NEW ing at ways to focus and help their • BPI Packaging new operation in LOCAL BUSINESSES, MDA IS local communities, and learning how DeSoto County, $8 million capital WORKING TO HELP ECONOMIC to enhance local economic developinvestment, 150 new jobs. DEVELOPMENT IN MANY AND ment. Each team undertakes a local VARIED WAYS. The list above is just a small samproject for the betterment of their pling of the new and expanding busicommunity, with an eye toward both ness that Mississippi was fortunate to economic and community developreceive in 2016. It was a watershed year for economic development. With the help of MDA guidance and partner assistance, the Ambassadors Program is helping locally driven commument, but all of that growth did not happen by chance. The nity improvement and economic development in Mississippi. state has been preparing for just such a year, and laying the groundwork for many more to come. MDA Entrepreneur Center McCullough was proud of the renewed focus the MDA is SUPPORTING OUR GROWTH In addition to programs like OneMississippi, Workforce showing for the state’s entrepreneurs. Mississippi is known as Development, and tourism development, the MDA continues a state where people take their passions and talents and turn developing specific ways to help Mississippi businesses grow. them into a career, and the Entrepreneur Center is helping people plan and launch their own companies. The MDA ofFrom bringing in new companies to assisting existing business fers many services through the Entrepreneur Center, including expansion to planting new local businesses, the MDA is working to help economic development in many and varied ways. classes and seminars, marketing assistance, financial guidance,

State Trade and Export Promotion Program (STEP) The demand for products made in Mississippi with growing, as demonstrated by our state exports growth of over 226% during the last decade. Mississippi products are getting exported at the highest rate ever. The MDA is poised to assist exports’ continued growth, and one way that happens is by helping more businesses begin exporting their products. The STEP program, funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration, helps Mississippi businesses begin the path to export by helping defray some of the costs involved. Reimbursements are available for a range of business activities aimed at getting into the export market, including travel costs for trade mission participation, market research, translation assistance, and business-to-business trips.

We cannot wait to see what a recap of 2017 will bring!


and more. At the end of the day, the MDA Entrepreneur Center is focused on helping offer guidance to Mississippians so their business ideas and ventures can be successful. By working with programs at the state’s institutions of higher learning, the MDA is also preparing the next generation to think in terms of entrepreneurship and community leadership. The MDA assists students at the Mississippi State University Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, for example, in developing their ideas into feasible business plans, considering where to look for capital, and starting businesses that will support their families and help both the state and local community. The MDA also works with the Trent Lott Center at USM, the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Ole Miss, and other programs throughout the state.

WHAT MIGHT WE SEE IN 2017? Entering 2017, the MDA is looking at a strong project workload. Though specific details will be announced as project agreements are finalized, McCullough was able to share that one big piece of 2017’s economic development includes working with many partners and potential partners from all over the globe to find potential locations in the state for new and expanding businesses. With a state leadership united behind growing the economy, the future continues to look bright for Mississippi. From expanding and training the workforce to attracting new investments to supporting entrepreneurs to growing existing businesses, Mississippi is focused on a mission. Economic development will continue to change and expand, offering upward possibilities to Mississippi-based companies and the people of the state.


Where Public Meets Private

Coming Together for The Betterment of All

The Madison County Economic Development Authority is a public entity that offers a broad array of economic development, business development, and corporate site location assistance services to new and expanding businesses and industry. The Madison County Business League & Foundation is a private, stakeholder-based support organization that works with business owners and decision makers to discuss topics that affect economic development. Together, we continue to build upon the economic development infrastructure of Madison County. We recognize and salute the industry and businesses for the contribution they make towards our quality of life.

135 Mississippi Parkway, Canton, MS 39046 601.605.0368 |

135 Mississippi Parkway, Canton, MS 39046 601.832.5592 |


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Begin at the beginning — social media refers to a fairly recent phenomenon wherein various platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) are established for individuals to interact online. Increasingly, businesses are also setting up profiles and interacting on the platforms. These sites, or social media platforms, are used for anything from mundane updates about people’s daily lives to serious business outreach and education.

EXPERT EA ARTICLE This Editorial is Provided

by an Industry Expert

Manufacturers increasingly have to analyze whether or not they need a presence on social media and exactly what that presence should look like. Is social media a trending fad that will fade, or a building movement that will impact how consumers interact with providers for many years to come?



GENERALIZATIONS: SETTING THE BAR There are some basic truths about social media and its use that go beyond specific business purposes. Understanding the way social media can, and should, be used by the business world is the first step to deciding how a specific company can optimize interactions on the various available platforms. Without this general understanding, any success you see is merely coincidental. The first major consideration for businesses considering the use of social media answers the question “what is the primary purpose of social media for a business?” Addressing the question means understanding the primary purpose of social media. Social media platforms are intended to be exactly what their name implies — places to be social. Individuals use social media to stay connected with one another, whether by sharing recipes and pictures of their children or sharing ideas and significant life events. If you post too much, people unfollow you. If you get too didactic, people unfollow you. Lose your interesting edge, and you risk a mass exodus of followers. In the modern world of 24 hours news cycles and immediate gratification, consumers have come to expect more of the companies that manufacture the products they use. An active social media presence makes your business available to the public, which is huge in today’s marketplace. Everyone wants to feel like they “know” you. Social media gives them that sensation. Additionally, based on the content you share, you can educate, demonstrate expertise, and build a level of trust based on relationship. Social media for businesses is more about relationships than anything else. Social media is NOT primarily an advertising or sales medium, at least not in the sense of traditional sales media. Rarely will you make direct sales on Facebook, for instance, but you can help set a tone for a meeting that might end in a bid or a contract or a crucial new hire. Most importantly, being (or seeming) available to the general public and building relationships is worth far more than any individual transaction. Everyone wants to work with a company that’s on top of

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things. Being active on social media shows that you know what’s going on in the world, but more importantly your content demonstrates that you are consummate professionals and absolute experts at what you do. This helps provide a level of comfort, a level of trust in the services and products you provide SPECIFICATIONS: FINDING YOUR AUDIENCE Once we understand the general impetus and movement of social media, then we get to the second major question, “how can/should my business best utilize social media platforms?” Firstly, every business using social platforms has two audiences — Google and people. The interactions between search engines like Google and being found online is a topic for an entire article on SEO and social media, so suffice it here to say that an active social media presence can help your rankings in search engines, helping your overall online presence in some important ways. Secondly, and more to the point, who are your human audiences and how do you reach them?

1 The General Public The most obvious, and non-specific, audience is the public at large. Any brand (company, manufacturer, product, etc.) has a public image. Connecting directly with the public is an ideal way to craft and manage brand reputation. By carefully choosing and planning social posts, engaging in meaningful representative interactions, and representing your company according to brand strategy in the public sphere, the overall public perception of your company can be radically influenced. Where might you find them: On any social media platform. 2 Potential Customers Since individuals are the primary users of social media, your customers will be present on the platforms by default. Whether you are providing goods directly to an end user, supplying in bulk to distributors, or looking at something altogether different, your audience will be on social media. By being exposed regularly to what your company represents, people in any position (average consumer to CEO) can come to know and relate to you. Where might you find them: This depends on the exact nature of your businesses. Consumer goods can be well represented on Facebook and Twitter; business facing goods and services are better represented on platforms like LinkedIn and Google+. 3 Potential Business Partners Potential partnerships are initiated in a wide range of ways, and many connections begin on social media platforms. Whether looking to discover a new product or niche, or for a partner to support an already flourishing undertaking, your presence on social media places your company in front of many potential partners for your business. Where might you find them: Again, this depends on the exact nature of your business. People tend to be present on platforms that closely align with their lifestyles — LinkedIn for white collar professionals, for example.

APPLICATIONS: THE RIGHT SOCIAL MEDIA PARTNER The third and final question, before trying your hand at the real world of social media interactions, is this — “do I need help, and how do I find the right help for my company?” Most manufacturing companies, because of the multitude of daily demands in the industry, will need assistance with social media, from choosing the platforms that are right for them to managing daily postings and responses to interactions. Unless your company wants to bring in someone full time for the position, finding the right partner is crucial for a presence that will benefit your company and brand.


4 Potential Employees Individuals spend increasingly more time on social media platforms. The use of these sites crosses age ranges, with the major discernable difference being the platform of choice for any given age group. Locating skilled workers for manufacturing jobs has become increasingly challenging over the last few years. Your potential employee pool is on social media today. Find them. Reach them. Impress them. Make them think, “I want to work for you!” Where might you find them: Everywhere. People need jobs, and companies need qualified employees, and these people can be found on any of the social media platforms available.


What are some qualities to look for in a social media partner? 1 Partnership You can assess a social manager’s general outlook from the first meeting. It is imperative that your social media partner be a true partner, working with you every step of the way for your success. Do they want to work with you, or for you? Do they take your goals and business seriously? Do they ask the right questions to fully understand your business in order to properly represent your products and brand on social media platforms? Do they offer continued consultation and evaluation of on-going efforts?

Maintaining an active and engaged social media presence in today’s online world is a must for practically every company, regardless of field or size. By understanding how to use it, who your audiences are, and choosing a good management partner, your company’s social media platforms can be a cost-effective and significant part of your total outreach and media strategy.

2 Flexibility Business can be a fast-paced world, and you need a social partner who can work with the ebbs and flows of your needs. Scheduling is crucial for a consistent social media presence, but spur of the moment announcements and even dramatic changes to set schedules happen. Will your social media partner have the flexibility to adapt to the ever changing needs of your company?

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3 Relevant Content Production At the heart of social media management is the content posted on the various platforms on a daily basis. Writing relevant content that draws the right kind of attention and spreads the right messages should be the cornerstone of a good social media partner — telling stories, asking questions, touting your other partners/clients. Does your partner do the necessary research? Can they produce and write the content you need, and your followers crave? 4 Reporting What are the reporting capabilities of the company you are considering? Can you get detailed numbers (followers, viewers, interactions) and analysis for all of your social media properties? Are they also able to integrate with your website, looking at how your social media activity may be driving leads and sales? Without serious, regular reporting, it is virtually impossible to see what type of impact your social media work is having for your brand.

Matthew E. Jackson is vice president of client services at Think Webstore, a media production and integrated marketing agency based in Ridgeland, Mississippi, dedicated to helping companies realize marketing, branding, social, and online strategies. Among his various duties at Think, Jackson manages all aspects of social media and social media marketing for clients of the agency. He has been invited to speak about the use of social media by businesses, and has previously authored articles on social media usage. In addition to working with Think, Jackson is married, a father, an avid reader, a busy freelance writer, and a regular contributor to multiple publications.




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Whether it’s as big as a battleship or visible only with a microscope, Mississippi manufactures it. If it’s going into outer space or coming in from overseas, Mississippians make it move. Companies collaborate with our respected community college system for workforce training and utilize the nationally recognized centers of excellence at our universities for research and development. Mississippi is building one success story after another. That’s why companies like Rolls Royce, SpaceX, Northrop Grumman, NASA, Huntington Ingalls, GE Aviation, Airbus Helicopters, Aurora Flight Sciences and Raytheon have operations in Mississippi.

Let us help write your success story in Mississippi.


© Mississippi Development Authority 2016

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