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Mississippi Power’s Economic Development team recently hosted its annual familiarization tour of Stennis Space Center and the Gulf Coast. The event showcased the Gulf Coast’s aerospace assets and the company’s service area to twelve businesses and site selection consultants. Gov. Phil Bryant, along with several community partners and guests, were in attendance.

The event included a tour of Northrop Grumman Ship Systems and a full day tour of the Stennis Space Center. Guests also had an opportunity to learn about the certified industrial sites in this region. The group visited businesses, such as Aerojet Rocketdyne and Lockheed Martin, to learn more about onsite opportunities and data centers and were also treated to a videoconference with Apollo astronaut Fred Haise.

“We are fortunate to have such great assets and resources in our service area. It’s our department’s charge to ensure that businesses and industries all over know that southeast Mississippi is an ideal place to expand their business efforts because of these assets as well as a ready workforce,” said Melissa Morel, Economic Development representative, who coordinated this year’s event.

“We know that because of our team’s hard work and dedication, our guests left with a greater understanding of our service area and the benefits we can bring to their business,” said Steven Dick, Economic Development manager. “We’ve already had a few guests to schedule return visits. They now know that Mississippi can compete with the best in the aerospace industry and we’re steadily growing.”


Mississippi Power’s Economic Development department has announced two more Project Ready™ industrial sites within a newly designated 1,100-acre development at John C. Stennis Space Center, adding to the nine other Project Ready™ sites that underwent certification in 2016.

The park contains two locations for industrial development, including a 250-acre industrial park configuration and a 150-acre large industrial site option.

“Mississippi Power is committed to partnering with companies that are interested in the many economic advantages offered by locating their operations in our state,” said Economic Development Director Brian Useforge. “Enterprise Park is designed to promote industrial development partnerships within Stennis. It offers two industrial site locations that are versatile. This Project Ready™ designation provides prospective companies with a clear path to development, which greatly reduces time, money and risk in their eyes. The certification helps us to better market this unique asset in our service territory.”

The additions at Enterprise Park add to the company’s portfolio of properties that are development ready and thoroughly vetted for use.

“The development would house multiple users within the site,” Useforge said. “We’ve clearly defined the infrastructure needs and met the criteria for these sites. It’s part of our approach as to what companies we want to attract to the area, and what their presence here will do for our economy.”

Along with Stennis, the company is partnering with the Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission on these Project Ready™ sites.

“It’s been a great relationship,” said Don Beckmeyer, Stennis Space Center strategic business development manager. “Thanks to this partnership, we’re set up to bring in companies to look at Stennis and show them what we have to offer. These sites offer unique logistical advantages for potential businesses.”

Last year, Mississippi Power’s Economic Development department worked with Stennis in hosting a group of international visitors to promote potential unmanned system opportunities and business partnerships.

“We’re looking for high-tech type companies that could either fit within NASA’s mission or other local defense and military operations,” Beckmeyer said. “Specifically, these sites could house aeronautics companies or commercial businesses wanting to manufacture and assemble products, including those that produce unmanned aerial or underwater craft. There could also be opportunities for academic institutions as well.”

Janel Carothers, Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission chief development officer, said the area’s diversity of industries combined with the two Project Ready™ sites should work as even more incentive for businesses to come to South Mississippi.

“Businesses like Lockheed Martin and Aerojet Rocketdyne are already here,” Carothers said. “Those, combined with playing on the national asset that is Stennis, definitely makes these sites attractive. This project would be a heavy lift for us, so we’re thankful to Mississippi Power for this partnership.”

Mississippi Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO), produces safe, reliable and environmentally responsible energy for nearly 188,000 customers in 23 southeast Mississippi counties. Mississippi Power ranked first in the Southeastern Electric Exchange’s 2016 Safety Performance Reports and is consistently recognized as an industry leader in reliability, customer service and safety. Visit our websites at and, like us on Facebook, and follow us on TwitterLinkedInGoogle+ and YouTube.




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After the mass destruction Hurricane Katrina left 10 years ago, volunteers from all over the country poured into the Mississippi Gulf Coast to provide much-needed help.

In the case of volunteer Sam Yardumian from Pennsylvania, Mississippi Power crews got to return the favor when Hurricane Sandy struck his neighborhood in 2012.

Among those displaced after Katrina were firefighters who had been forced to evacuate before the storm and whose homes were destroyed by the storm. Groups of firefighters from all across the country paid their own expenses to serve one week at a time at the West Hancock Fire Rescue in Pearlington.

One group from Pennsylvania even sent a fire engine to Waveland in 2005 loaded with much needed supplies.

“We had our local lettering guy letter it with Waveland, so that when it arrived it was theirs,” said volunteer Greg Jakubowski, who is currently the principal and chief engineer of Fire Planning Associates, Inc. in Washington Crossing, Pa.

In 2007, Jakubowski volunteered in Pearlingnton and even drove the fire engine his department had donated to the fire department in Waveland.

“We flew into New Orleans and the flight attendant commented on the number of people onboard wearing fire department shirts. She asked if we were going to a convention and we told her we were headed to Mississippi to volunteer our firefighting services for a week,” said Jakubowski, who supervised the volunteers during his visit. “When we landed they announced that we were onboard and our mission. We got a standing ovation from the other passengers. I remember feeling very proud.”

Over the next week, the crew would put out 2 – 3 fires a day and go to the site of several vehicle accidents.

One accident in particular stands out.

“Two pickup trucks collided, causing one to overturn on I-10 just at the exit to Stennis Space Center,” Jakubowski said. “There was a baby in the overturned truck hanging upside down in his car seat. Luckily, he was uninjured and was put in the arms of an 18 year-old rookie fireman who had no experience with children. Today, that rookie is in Beirut, Lebanon, working security for the United States government.”

Another of the volunteer firemen, Sam Yardumian, spoke of work they did to make the firehouse more habitable and to get the fire chief’s vehicle in better shape.

“We had received donations from some of the local businesses back home. We weren’t sure what we would do with the money, but when we got to the firehouse in West Hancock, we decided to use it to make repairs to the fire chief’s SUV.”

When Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast in 2012, Mississippi Power crews drove north and assisted in restoring power to several areas, including Yardumian’s neighborhood near Philadelphia, Pa.

“Where I live in Pennsylvania, we weren’t affected as badly as others in New Jersey,” said Yardumian. “We did have massive power outages though. The day our power came back on, there were several Mississippi Power trucks on one of the streets behind my house and I drove over to thank them. I remember telling them I had volunteered in Hancock County following Hurricane Katrina, and they thanked me. The people I met in Mississippi while I was there and the crews who came to help us after Sandy were very nice.”

As a member of the Edison Electric Institute’s mutual assistance network, Mississippi Power crews participated in 10 storm restoration efforts in 2012, earning the company EEI’s Emergency Assistance Award for its “tremendous support” in restoring power after June windstorms and Hurricane Sandy.


The Mississippi Economic Development Council recently announced that Hancock County’s SpaceX won the 2014 Community Economic Development Award.

Mississippi Power’s Economic Development Representative Melissa Morel was recognized for her work on this project.

Mississippi Power Economic Development team members, the Mississippi Development Authority, and the Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission were among the agencies that worked together to locate SpaceX operations at Stennis Space Center. Space X tests Raptor methane rocket engines at the facility.

“Our staff works with local and state economic development partners to expand local industry and recruit new industry to our service territory, creating jobs and a new tax base,” said Mississippi Power Economic Development Manager Steven Dick. “We’re committed to developing the economic potential of Mississippi and our local communities.”

The CEDA program recognizes exceptional contributions of communities in the State of Mississippi for business retention and expansion; business recruitment; community development; and community involvement.

After economic development partners recruited SpaceX to visit Hancock County and inspect the dormant E-2 test stand at Stennis, SpaceX partnered with NASA for test stand upgrades. The renovations transformed the facility into an advanced high-pressure component test complex.