Tags Posts tagged with "economic development"

economic development

From left, Mississippi Power’s Joy Saucier is with Columbia Mayor Justin McKenzie, Long Beach Community Affairs Manager Jenny Levens, Waveland Mayor Mike Smith, Mississippi Power’s Rob Robinson, Moss Point Mayor Mario King, and Clarke County Supervisor Mickey Long.

Three mayors, a county supervisor and a community affairs manager from Mississippi Power’s service territory recently participated in the True South Basic Economic Development Course at the University of Southern Mississippi thanks to the Chuck Ueltschey scholarship program.

Mayors Mario King of Moss Point, Mike Smith of Waveland and Justin McKenzie participated in the four-day course along with Clarke County Supervisor Mickey Long and Jenny Levens, community affairs manager in Long Beach.

The scholarships are in memory of Ueltschey, who died in 2015 shortly after retiring from 44 years of service at Mississippi Power.

“Chuck’s legacy of leadership carries on through these scholarships,” said Senior Community Development Representative Joy Saucier. “He was a mentor to many across the state, spending much of his career in community and economic development. This is a way to honor Chuck’s memory and his commitment to making a better Mississippi.”

The True South course provides a solid foundation for the fundamentals and practice of economic development. The scholarships are offered for municipal and county elected officials.

The 50 participants in the class came from across Mississippi as well as Texas and Oklahoma and included economic development practitioners, elected officials, county planners and graduate students.

Mississippi Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO), produces safe, reliable and environmentally responsible energy for nearly 187,000 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 www.mississippipower.com and www.mississippipowernews.com, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube.


Gulfport, Miss. – Mississippi Power’s Economic Development department has been ranked as one of Site Selection magazine’s “Top 10 Utility Economic Development Teams in the United States.”

The department’s participation in corporate facility projects, job creation and renewable energy projects in south Mississippi were specifically highlighted by the magazine.

“Economic development is truly a team effort, and this recognition is a result of a tremendous effort by every member of our team and our partners across the state,” Mississippi Power President and CEO Anthony Wilson said. “Our team has more than 125 years of collective economic development experience and they are playing an important role in Mississippi’s future.”

This is the second time since 2008 that Site Selection has recognized Mississippi Power’s Economic Development department in its annual ranking.

In 2016, the department added a workforce development representative to better understand and promote south Mississippi’s skilled workforce to new and existing industry. The department also reviewed and certified nine industrial sites as Project ReadyTM across the company’s 23 county service territory last year.

“Our department’s mission of fostering economic growth and creating jobs in the communities we serve has remained the same for more than 90 years,” Mississippi Power Economic Development Director Brian Useforge said. “Building and strengthening relationships with state and local economic development agencies has prepared our communities to attract potential business partners and respond quickly to their needs.”

Mississippi Power’s Economic Development department partnered with several agencies to organize the Mississippi Aerospace and Defense Symposium, aimed at showcasing the many aerospace and defense assets in south Mississippi. The department also continued to aggressively market the state of Mississippi in partnership with the Mississippi Development Authority’s statewide recruiting initiative, One Mississippi.

“Mississippi Power’s Economic Development team was involved in the announcement of more than 2,300 jobs and nearly $1 billion in potential capital investment in 2016,” MDA Executive Director Glenn McCullough said. “If a business is interested in locating or expanding in southeast Mississippi, the team at Mississippi Power will be a tremendous resource to help bring new career opportunities to Mississippians.”

Site Selection magazine is the top-rated U.S. publication covering facility planning and economic development.

Mississippi Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO), produces safe, reliable and environmentally responsible energy for nearly 187,000 customers in 23 southeast Mississippi counties. Mississippi Power ranked first in the Southeast Electric Exchange’s 2016 Safety Performance Reports in all categories in which it participates – fossil/hydro generation, transmission and distribution, corporate and support, and total company – and is consistently recognized as an industry leader in reliability, customer service and safety. With nearly 105 megawatts of approved solar energy capacity, Mississippi Power is the largest partner in providing renewable energy in the state of Mississippi. Visit our websites at mississippipower.com and mississippipowernews.com, like us on Facebook, and follow us on TwitterLinkedInGoogle+ and YouTube.



Gulfport, Miss. – Mississippi Power’s Economic Development department is certifying nine industrial sites across the company’s 23-county service territory as Project ReadyTM.

The Project Ready program identifies sites with industrial-quality capacity for water, sewer, natural gas and electrical infrastructure to meet the stringent demands of industrial customers.

“Decision timelines for companies looking to expand or relocate continue to get shorter,” Mississippi Power Economic Development Director Brian Useforge said. “Site certification helps prepare the communities we partner with on economic development projects to respond to the rapid requests that site location consultants and business owners are now making.”

Mississippi Power’s Economic Development department retained Goldsmith Strategy to set standards for infrastructure and site due diligence to better align these locations with current site selection trends.

“The Project Ready designation will allow the communities we serve to showcase these properties as ‘shovel-ready’ sites,” Mississippi Power President and CEO Anthony L. Wilson said. “This designation will drive interest in south Mississippi and position the region to attract more jobs and create a better quality of life for us all.”

Site certification means the location has gone through a rigorous pre-qualification process. The land owners, price, infrastructure and site characteristics are all clearly identified at a certified site.

Nine locations in six southeast Mississippi counties – George, Harrison, Jackson, Jones, Lauderdale and Marion – are being recognized as Project Ready.

“The local economic development organizations we team up with made significant investments to meet all of the certification requirements,” Useforge said. “Having available sites ready for market is a necessity today, and our partners have shown a total commitment to staying competitive.”

Learn more about Mississippi Power’s Economic Development department and Project Ready by clicking here.

Mississippi Power’s Economic Development department was recognized in Site Selection’s annual Top Utilities in North America for Economic Development list in the Honorable Mention category in 2015 and 2016. The group was also recognized by Southern Business and Development magazine as one of the best utilities in Economic Development in the Mid-South for 2016.

Mississippi Power Project Ready – What They Are Saying:

Ken Flanagan – George County Community Development Director

“The name ‘Project Ready’ says it all. We now have both a 350-acre and a 75-acre location ready for an industrial project development. These sites have the power, passage, and most importantly, the partnerships needed for any size project.  The certifications were earned through a real team effort with the County, Mississippi Power, and Mississippi Export Railroad.  All of our utility partners contributed substantially to George County being awarded two Project Ready certifications.”

Jerry Frazier – Marion County Development Partnership President

“Site certification is one of the most important marketing tools for economic development and can help create a competitive advantage to leverage job creation and capital investment.  Marion County Development Partnership can now offer this competitive edge for companies that need to locate quickly.”

George Freeland – Jackson County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director

“The Jackson County Economic Development Foundation is pleased to receive Project Ready Certification on three sites and knows that our participation in the program raises our competitive edge. We appreciate the support of our well-established public-private economic development partnership in helping make our sites shovel-ready. Jackson County continues to be well-equipped to compete in the global market place and completing these certifications will reinforce that message.”

Ross Tucker – Jones County Economic Development Authority President

“By receiving the Project Ready certification, Jones County is taking great strides in accelerating its economic growth. The Economic Development Authority appreciates the partnership of Mississippi Power, Dixie Electric and Cooperative Energy to complete the steps necessary in obtaining this certification.  Jones County has prepared the premier site of the Pine Belt for Mississippi’s next prospect.”

Clay Williams – Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport Executive Director

“Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport is pleased to have a Project Ready certified site adjacent to its airfield and centrally located along the aerospace corridor, making it an advantageous location for potential aerospace and aviation related developments.”

Mississippi Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO), produces safe, reliable and environmentally responsible energy for more than 186,000 customers in 23 southeast Mississippi counties. Mississippi Power earned the 2015 ReliabilityOneTM Award for outstanding midsize utility for excellence in storm restoration and recovery efforts as well as being a leader in reliability, customer service and safety. Visit our websites at mississippipower.com, mississippipowerED.com and mississippipowernews.com, like us on Facebook, and follow us on TwitterLinkedInGoogle+ and YouTube.


Gov. Phil Bryant speaks at the recent grand reopening ceremony of CertainTeed in Meridian.
Gov. Phil Bryant speaks at the recent grand reopening ceremony of CertainTeed in Meridian.

CertainTeed, a ceiling tile and acoustical wall panel manufacturing operation in Meridian, recently celebrated its grand reopening.

The plant had been in operation since 1941, but was closed in 2009 due to a slump in the construction market. Mississippi Power’s Economic Development and Marketing departments helped the company bring the facility back into service.

“Mississippi Power was a key component in the success of this project,” said Economic Development Director Brian Useforge. “We worked hand-in-hand with the various partners – the Mississippi Development Authority, the East Mississippi Business Development Corporation, and state and local officials – to walk CertainTeed and its consultant through the decision process from beginning to end. We helped eliminate hurdles to help them choose Mississippi once again.”

CertainTeed’s $24 million project will create 110 jobs.

The company is North America’s top brand of interior and exterior building products such as insulation, ceilings, roofing and other materials used in residential and commercial construction. Headquartered in Valley Forge, Pa., CertainTeed is a subsidiary of Paris-based Saint-Gobain, one of the top 100 industrial companies in the world with about 15,000 employees in its global operations.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Coast Division crews safely relocated a 23kV crossing over I-110 on Sunday to make way for construction on MGM Park.

The road closure (I-110 from Division St South to Highway 90) and planned outage was scheduled from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., but power was able to be restored to one of the affected customers, Four Points Hotel, by 8:40 a.m. The only other customer, a Verizon cell tower, was unaffected because of backup generators. The Biloxi Police Department performed traffic control while the work was being performed.

“This truly was a team effort with a lot of external parties helping make the project a success. We worked closely with the Mississippi Department of Transportation and Biloxi Police Department to coordinate the road closure,” Project Engineer Matt Ball said. “In fact, the project went so smoothly that we were able to safely move the line way ahead of the scheduled time allowing the customer to resume their normal operations sooner than anticipated.”

Approximately three crews (seven linemen and six bucket trucks) safely worked the project.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In late September, the Columbia Parachute Company announced it was expanding operations, making a $300,000 corporate investment, creating 26 new jobs and moving.

The company, which manufactures government parachutes, will occupy 11,000-square feet at an existing facility in the Marion County BusinessPlex, formerly known as the Columbia Training School.

“There is a tremendous amount of history associated with this facility,” District Manager Benny Prestridge said. “To see it get a facelift almost 100 years after it opened is very exciting for this part of the state.”

The Columbia Training School opened in 1918, two years after Gov. Theodore Bilbo emphasized the need for an industrial school for delinquent and wayward boys and girls. For nearly 90 years, the facility functioned as a part of the Department of Youth Services and then later in the Mississippi Department of Human Services.

The state ceased operations at the facility in 2008 and in September 2013, county officials approached Prestridge about Mississippi Power taking over the facility’s electrical distribution system. Prestridge and Customer Services Distribution Manager Paul Harrison began evaluating the system and determining the best approach for the company and the county.

“We mapped the system to determine its age and value,” Prestridge said. “In June of 2014 we signed an agreement to take ownership of the main body of the system which already had tenants ready to open for business. Then we started working on the parts of the system that needed to be upgraded.”

The transfer was completed in September 2014 with seven buildings now occupied and metered by Mississippi Power. In addition, 16 LED street lights were installed on the main road that winds through the 534-acre industrial park.

“These parks and available land place Marion County in a unique competitive position in seeking new businesses,” Jerry Frazier, Marion County Development Partnership president and Mississippi Power retiree, said. “The BusinessPlex has tremendous potential for a variety of activities and the way Mississippi Power treats customers only increases that potential.”

Stacy Lester, growth initiatives project manager, and Mark Weldy, industrial marketing specialist, worked with officials from the Columbia Parachute Company who were looking to expand, but also wanted to stay in Marion County.

“We supported Jerry’s team in the initial meetings and Mark helped design their electric service plan,” Lester said. “This project is a great example of several  groups putting the customers’ needs first.”

While this move is big news in and around Columbia, Prestridge believes it’s the beginning of a positive turn, economically speaking, for Marion County.

“Construction is scheduled to start in late December on the Pearl River Interpretive Plaza and the old New Orleans Furniture building, which closed several years ago, now has two new tenants on the property,” Prestridge said. “We’re excited about the future of the Marion County BusinessPlex and we’re hoping to have even more good news to report in 2015 and beyond.”