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16 SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2020 The Dispatch T www.cdispatch.

com SALUTE TO INDUSTRY

Salute to Industry Sunday, May 31, 2020

Photo courtesy of Steel Dynamics Inc.


2 SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2020 The Dispatch T www.cdispatch.com SALUTE TO INDUSTRY SALUTE TO INDUSTRY The Dispatch T www.cdispatch.com SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2020 15
14 SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2020 The Dispatch T www.cdispatch.com SALUTE TO INDUSTRY SALUTE TO INDUSTRY The Dispatch T www.cdispatch.com SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2020 3
Kerby Building Materials Orman’s Welding & Fabrication Southern Reel
Golden Triangle Manufacturers Directory Starkville • 662-323-8021
Products: Industrial/commercial metal
Employees: 170
West Point • 662-494-9471
Products: Conveyor/conveying equip., misc.
general purpose machinery mfg.
Starkville • 662-324-3636
Products: Injection molding, extrusion, cable and
wiring packaging, plastic spools, plywood reels
Ace Decoy Anchors, LLC Columbus Marble Works, Inc. General Machine Works Long Branch Co., Inc. Employees: 24 Employees: 35
West Point • 662-494-5092 Columbus • 662-328-1477 West Point • 662-494-5155 West Point • 662-494-8860 Paccar, Inc. Southwire Company
Products: Decoy duck anchors, targets, etc. Products: Marble, granite monuments and Products: Machining, milling and tool repair Products: Structural steel fabrication Columbus • 662-329-6703 Starkville • 662-324-6600
Employees: 176 mausoleums Employees: 3 Employees: 8 Products: Diesel engines Products: Copper building wire, power cable
Airbus Helicopters, Inc. Employees: 64 Glenn Machine Works, Inc. Mississippi Precision Cast Parts, LLC Employees: 600 Employees: 261
Columbus • 662-327-6226 Datco International Columbus • 662-328-4611 Columbus • 662-245-1155 Peco Foods Stark Aerospace, Inc.
Products: Helicopter mfg. and assembly Columbus • 662-327-3995 Products: Crane rentals, rigging, steel fabrication, Products: Investment casting and foundry West Point Columbus • 662-798-4075
Employees: 180 Products: Tack cloth for automotive industry, lint industrial supplies Employees: 19 Products: Poultry cutting and distribution Products: UAVs
Akzo Nobel/Nouryon free wipers and wiping Employees: 160 Mississippi Steel Processing, LLC Employees: TBA Employees: 46
Columbus • 662-240-8633 Employees: 5 Harcos Chemicals, Inc. Columbus • 662-327-3150 Rempel Roto-Cast Company Sqwincher Corporation
Products: Sodium chlorate, hydrogen peroxide DPM Fragrance West Point • 662-494-5998 Products: Steel fabrication West Point • 662-494-1094 Columbus • 662-328-0400
Employees: 100 Starkville • 662-324-2231 Products: Distributor and producer of industrial Employees: 71 Products: Plastic products mfg. Products: Electrolyte replacement beverage
American Power Source Products: Candles and fragranced wax chemicals Monroe-Tufline Manufacturing Co. Employees: 5 Employees: 70
Columbus • 662-328-2173 Employees: 176 Employees: 350 Columbus • 662-328-8347 S&N Wood Products Sturgis Mat Company Inc.
Products: Military BDUs Dutch Maid Equipment Co. Industrial Fabricators Products: Agricultural and dirt moving equip. Columbus • 662-328-0140 Sturgis • 662-465-8879
Employees: 98 Columbus • 662-328-3813 Columbus • 662-327-1776 Employees: 45 Products: Wood pallets and skids Products: Pipeline draglines and crane mats
Aurora Flight Sciences Products: Fabrication of car wash equip. Products: Custom fabricating, sandblasting for steel Motion Industries Employees: 8 Employees: 70
Columbus • 662-328-8732 Employees: 10 and metal buildings Columbus • 662-328-8041 Steel Dynamics, Inc. Trimjoist Corporation
Products: Unmanned aerial vehicles, other aviation Ecolab Microtek Medical Inc. Employees: 14 Products: Industrial parts Columbus • 662-245-4267 Columbus • 662-327-7950
Employees: 10 Products: Sheet metal Products: Floor systems
related products Columbus • 662-327-1863 International Papers (CMF)
Employees: 68 Products: Disposable medical products Columbus • 662-243-6934 Mount Vernon Mills, Inc. Employees: 850 Employees: 45
B&M Pole Company Employees: 154 Products: Modified paper Columbus • 662-328-5670 Southern Ionics Valmet
Products: Textile, waistbands, slitting West Point • 662-494-3055 Columbus • 662-328-3841
West Point • 662-494-5092 Electric Motors Sales & Service Employees: 100
Employees: 32 Products: Inorganic chemical mfg. Products: Paper mill roll covering and
Products: Fishing poles, bait, accessories Columbus • 662-327-1606 International Papers Nammo Talley Employees: 350 reconditioning
Employees: 10 Products: Electric motors, control, pumps, air (Columbus Cellulose Fibers)
compressors, related products Crawford • 662-272-6111 Southern Lure Co. Employees: 109
Baldor Electric Company Columbus • 662-434-4000 Products: Shoulder mounted rockets Columbus • 662-327-4548 Xeruim
Columbus • 662-328-9116 Employees: 25 Products: Pulp and lightweight coated paper Employees: 1 Products: Fishing lures Starkville • 662-323-4064
Products: Large industrial electric motors Ellis Steel Company Employees: 324 Navistar Defense Employees: 10 Products: Papermaker’s felt
Employees: 271 West Point • 662-494-5955 Janesville Acoustics
Products: Fabricated metal mfg. West Point • 662-494-0098 Southern Outdoor Technologies Employees: 220
Columbus Brick Company Columbus • 662-327-0756 Products: Defense vehicles West Point • 662-495-1050 Yokohoma Tire Manufacturing, LLC
Columbus • 662-328-4931 Employees: 150 Products: Acoustical and thermal fiber insulation Employees: 200 Products: Hunting blinds and stands West Point • 800-423-4544
Products: Face and common brick Flexsteel Industries, Inc. Employees: 100 New Process Steel Employees: 311 Product: Commercial tires
Employees: 80 Starkville • 662-323-5481 Southern Pharmaceuticals Corp. Employees: 668
Products: Commercial seating, office/instructional Johnston Tombigbee Furniture Columbus • 205-281-8345
Columbus Machine & Welding Works Mfg. Co. Products: Steel fabrication Columbus • 662-327-2060
Columbus • 662-328-8473 Employees: 180 Employees: 41 Products: Compounding of medications (nebulizers)
Columbus • 662-328-3346
Products: Fabrication welding and machine works Garan, Inc. Products: Bedroom, motel furniture Employees: 13
Employees: 20 Starkville • 662-323-4731
Products: Toddler/infant fleece clothing Employees: 180
Employees: 140
4 SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2020 The Dispatch T www.cdispatch.com SALUTE TO INDUSTRY SALUTE TO INDUSTRY The Dispatch T www.cdispatch.com SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2020 13
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Peco Foods could have 500 jobs by 2022 Redefining industry during crisis
The construction of a par-fry How local businesses are retooling their models to help fight the COVID-19 crisis
facility is still on time BY BEN PORTNOY “You know, for me, when they
bportnoy@cdispatch.com call me for hand sanitizer we just
BY TESS VRBIN

P
tvrbin@cdispatch.com erched above the check-in make it for them for free. At the
desk at Belle’s Nail Bar in end of the day, that’s what it’s all

T
he Peco Foods chicken processing plant in West Starkville sits a one liter about. Right?”
Point will add more than 200 jobs to its existing pump bottle of hand sanitizer. A And while the sanitizer solu-
44 when the addition of a par-fry facility is com- vibrant green color, the sooth- tions have flown off the proverbi-
plete. Par-frying (short for partial frying) is the first step in Photos courtesy Peco Foods, Inc. ing goop has taken a different al shelves at Belle’s, mask-making
the frying process and the food is frozen, packaged and The Peco Foods facility in West Point has 44 employees, but by 2022 it will likely have 300 in the main plant and 200 form than its widely produced in the Golden Triangle has also
distributed afterward. in the par-fry plant currently under construction. The 185,000 square-foot facility is located on 37 acres of land at the clear-counterpart. And while its developed into a logical and
The plant is still new to the Golden Triangle; construc- former Americold freezer facility on West Church Hill Road. appearance has been slightly quick switch for a number of
tion began in 2018 and full operations started in June Townsend said. than 7,000 people at 13 locations in Mississippi, Alabama modified, the protective slime has local businesses.
2019. The $40 million investment included $3 million in “Our top priority is the health and safety of our team and Arkansas. It has seven locations in Mississippi — become the most popular item Upon President Donald Ben Portnoy/Dispatch Staff
state funding. flowing out of the establishment Trump’s inauguration, the nation’s Belle’s Nail Bar was honored as
members, (and) we look forward to finishing up construc- West Point, Brooksville, Canton, Sebastopol, Philadelphia, the 2020 Business of the Year
Golden Triangle LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins said in tion and beginning our hiring process later this year,” he Lake and Bay Springs — ranging from processing plants to that earned 2020 Business of the 45th commander-in-chief raved
about a return to the manufac- in Starkville. Owner Aaron Weiss
2018 that the plant will have a total of 300 jobs by the said. hatcheries and feed mills. Year in Starkville. has produced homemade hand
time it has been open for three years. All Peco employees companywide are wearing face The West Point facility is a further processing plant, “That’s what it’s all about, turing process of decades past. sanitizer and helped distribute
The 185,000 square-foot facility is located on 37 acres masks at all times and their temperatures are checked meaning it produces “value-added products like chicken trying to help the community,” Following the President’s wishful Gwendolyn Gray’s masks to help
of land at the former Americold freezer facility on West before entering the facilities. The company has staggered nuggets and breaded filets” rather than plain processed Belle’s owner Aaron Weiss told thinking, Sturgis resident Gwen- the community.
Church Hill Road. The par-fry expansion began in late shift and break times to minimize interpersonal contact meats. The further processing plant in Brooksville em- The Dispatch. “The community dolyn Gray — who previously
2019 and will add about 130,000 square feet. Construc- and has been cleaning and sanitizing all surfaces more ploys 275 people, and all seven Mississippi locations have always helps us and has always owned a garment factory in the feed on her cell phone.
tion on the par-fry expansion has continued during the frequently. about 3,600 employees. been there for us. So that’s just 1990s — renewed her license on Thinking on the subject,
COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, plant manager Jordan Headquartered in Tuscaloosa, Peco employs more our way of trying to help and give Omega Industries within the past Benton conceived the idea to
back to them.” four years. create washable masks from the
With Mississippi governor Tate Working with the Southern fabric she had in her store to help
Reeves leaving establishments Foundation, one of Gray’s recent those on the front lines of the
like Belle’s closed due to their manufacturing projects included COVID-19 crisis. Photo courtesy of Mary Lou Benton
“non-essential” nature, Weiss is securing donated material to cre- Selling her product for $1.50 Crystal Rutherford from Southern Designz sewing masks during COVID
one of a number of local business ate book bags for students ahead compared to the $2.50 she 19 business shut down.
owners adapting their stores to of the 2019 school year. But with spends making them to ensure
help the community in its ongo- schools stalled and local residents health care workers could easily and we know it’s because people But with COVID-19 continuing
ing bout against the COVID-19 in need of facial protection, Gray afford them, she hoped to distrib- are scared, and they’re desper- to put a strain on the healthcare
pandemic. has repurposed her machinery to ute between 100 and 150 masks. ate.” industry, his lab at Mississippi
Having already stocked the help stitch masks for free distri- As of Saturday, Benton and Ruth- “We know we’re doing the State promptly shifted into helping
alcohol needed to produce hand bution in the community with the erford have received over 6,000 right thing because we want to convert ventilators from battery
sanitizer due to its use in the help of Weiss. orders and another 200-400 are do the right thing and it’s coming powered models to automatic
beauty business, Weiss said the “I wanted to just do what I rolling in daily. from my heart because I wanted current power — allowing them
cleansing solvent was an easy could do to help out,” she told And while Benton and Ruther- to make sure everyone was safe,” to be plugged into the wall.
alternative to manicures and The Dispatch. “All I wanted to do ford’s efforts have been matched she continued. “At the same time, Working in conjunction with
pedicures. Advertising through is just help the situation.” with overwhelming generosity we’re not bringing in any mon- Taylor Machine Works, Wallace’s
the “Starkville Strong” Facebook Like Gray, Mary Lou Benton and appreciation, there remains a ey and we still have to keep the group of mechanical engineers
group, he and his wife make the and her daughter Crystal Ruth- faction of folks that are impatient. lights on and pay the rent at the were given 250 ventilators to
sanitizer at home before meeting erford have found quick work in Working 14 hour days to produce shop and stuff. We pray about it convert. Spending their first day
customers outside Belle’s or at adjusting their Columbus-based as many masks as possible, back- every night.” on the job deciding how to re-
spots of their convenience to pass printing operation, Southern orders take time to fill. But with configure the machines, the team
Designz, into a mask-making anxiety and fear creeping into the completed 48 ventilators.
off the product in an attempt to
keep the community healthy. factory of sorts. Closing their shop public psyche, the mother-daugh-
From lightning strikes to Laboring long into the night,
In addition, Weiss placed a due to shelter in place orders ter duo has experienced their ventilator conversions music ranging from country
basket in front of his store in from Mississippi government share of irritated customers as Paul B. Jacob High Voltage to rock to instrumental blared
which patrons can drop off or officials, Benton worked herself they fight to keep their business Laboratory manager David Wal- around the assembly line in the
pick up food donations for those into a frenzy trying to keep busy afloat. lace’s normal routine generally lab as Wallace’s team rounded
struggling financially through the at home. Lying in bed one night “The community has been an revolves around lightning strikes, out the project with 162 convert-
pandemic. after shuttering the shop, stories outpour of appreciation,” Benton millions of volts of AC power and, ed ventilators on their third day
“Honestly, I mean, that’s just of health care workers’ needs for said. “And of course that gets us in his own terms, “blowing up
the least we can do,” he said. masks graced the social media through the cussing out we get... stuff.” See REDEFINING, 6
6 SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2020 The Dispatch T www.cdispatch.com SALUTE TO INDUSTRY SALUTE TO INDUSTRY The Dispatch T www.cdispatch.com SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2020 11

Redefining
Continued from Page 5
of work. Three days later,
another 48 units arrived from
University of Mississippi Med-
ical Center and were convert-
ed in short order.
While the ventilator project
asked long hours of its par-
ticipants, Wallace hoped the
project and the diverse group
of engineers behind it would
help show the community
how people of different back-
grounds could come together
and help one another in a
trying time.
“You had to look at my
group,” he said. “When you
like to talk about diversity,
I had kids from Iran; I had
kids from Bangladesh; I had
undergrad students, graduate
students; I had a professor in
here working; I had the IT guy
here — his wife was here.
So it was a diverse group of
Photo courtesy of David Wallace Photo courtesy of David Wallace
people that came together
Moinul Shahidul Haque is building the switch Kazi Nishat Tasnim is mounting the switch and Photo courtesy of David Wallace
and we had a great time.” assembly. power port into the ventilator. Ventilator before and after the conversion.
10 SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2020 The Dispatch T www.cdispatch.com SALUTE TO INDUSTRY SALUTE TO INDUSTRY The Dispatch T www.cdispatch.com SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2020 7

Best of both worlds: Economic experts say solar projects


are good for environment and industrial development
BY ISABELLE ALTMAN
ialtman@cdispatch.com

G
olden Triangle Development
LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins said
over the last two decades, he’s
worked with about 20 companies looking
to bring solar farms to Lowndes, Oktibbeha
or Clay counties. Until recently, those com-
panies — barring the odd two-megawatt
solar farm located near a substation - have
been unsuccessful.
“They never hit,” Higgins said.
But that’s starting to change - in the
Golden Triangle and throughout the rest of
the Tennessee Valley and the country.
“I see a greener energy in the future of
our country and the TVA,” said Tennes-
see Valley Authority spokesperson Scott
Fiedler. “Nearly 60 percent of all the en-
ergy we generate right now is carbon free.
That includes not only our renewables, but
also nuclear power.”
Earlier this year, Tennessee Valley Au-
thority awarded a contract to Florida-based
renewable energy company Origis Energy
to build a 200 megawatt solar facility on
1,900 acres in Lowndes County just west
of the Infinity Megasite. The facility, which
Photo courtesy Origis Energy
will also have the capability of storing
Florida-based renewable energy company Origis Energy has built solar energy facilities near Hattiesburg, shown in this courtesy pho-
about 50 megawatts, is expected to begin to, and has announced it will build another in Lowndes County, which is expected to begin producing power in 2022. Origis represen-
producing energy for TVA in 2022. tatives, as well as representatives from the Tennessee Valley Authority and Golden Triangle Development LINK, say solar and other
But economic experts hope Origis will forms of renewable energy are economic drivers as well as being good for the environment.
be the first, rather than the only, such proj-
ect in the Golden Triangle. our carbon-free generation, you’ve just gins said — the “Walmarts of the world” “Those companies are now in the process
Higgins said the LINK is currently work- eliminated over half of your carbon when are increasingly interested in renewable of further sourcing their equipment, raw
ing with three or four other solar compa- you’re using TVA electricity.” energy as well. material and services from suppliers that
nies whose representatives have varying Higgins and Fiedler said one industry “The big box retailers, the big compa- support the same sustainability goals and
degrees of interest in locating a project in where companies are particularly inter- nies, are getting more and more conscious energy procurement strategies. This trig-
the area. One of those companies is specif- ested in solar energy is hyperscale data about their carbon footprint,” he said. gers a widespread waterfall of interest from
ically looking at about 2,000 acres each in centers from major tech companies, which “They want to be kind to the environment. the commercial and industrial markets to
Oktibbeha and Clay counties. The supervi- provide hundreds of jobs to the area where They want to use renewable power. You’re look for regions in our nation with excel-
sors in those counties have passed notices they’re built. Both Google and Facebook starting to see big box retailers or bigger lent availability of additional renewable
of intent to issue fee-in-lieu agreements, are currently building such centers in Ala- businesses ‘I want solar power. I want wind energy resources.”
which would exempt the company from bama, though some construction has been power. I want renewable power.’” Fiedler says TVA wants to be one of
paying property taxes for a certain number temporarily halted due to the COVID-19 More than 70 percent of Fortune 500 those regions.
of years in exchange for a fee paid to the pandemic. companies have published sustainabili- “TVA is a leader in solar energy and
county, if the company decides to build a “We are starting to recruit and see hyper ty goals pledging to offset their carbon we’re always looking for additional sourc-
facility there. data centers,” Higgins said. “And they use footprint with renewable energy sources, es, not only to make the environment or
Fiedler said the benefits to solar and a lot of power, it’s the one single thing they according to Johan Vanhee, Origis’ chief our communities a better place to live
other forms of renewable energy are more use a lot of. And the thing that they want commercial officer and chief procurement through a lower environmental impact but
than environmental — they’re economic. is they desire renewable power […] They officer, in an email from Origis spokesper- also to drive jobs and investment into the
“What we’re seeing is businesses and want to be able to tell their customers, their son Glenna Wiseman to The Dispatch. Tennessee Valley,” he said. “So we get the
industries not only have profitability goals, clients, their stockholders that they’re buy- “They are looking to source their energy best of both worlds: we get a good place to
they have sustainability goals,” he said. ing new-to-the-world, renewable power.” needs from new renewable energy gener- live and we get high-paying jobs.”
“Once you move into a TVA territory, with But hyperdata centers aren’t alone, Hig- ation facilities,” Vanhee said in the email.
8 SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2020 The Dispatch T www.cdispatch.com SALUTE TO INDUSTRY SALUTE TO INDUSTRY The Dispatch T www.cdispatch.com SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2020 9

Airbus rises in uncertain times


Airbus expects to meet helicopter production deadline for US Army
as well as Customs and Border Protection despite pandemic
BY GARRICK HODGE
ghodge@cdispatch.com

D
espite the pandemic caused by
COVID-19, Airbus’ Columbus fa-
cility is still on schedule to meet
its helicopter production requirements on
time. 
Romain Trapp, President of Airbus
Helicopters and head of the company’s
North American Region, told The Dispatch
he fully expects Columbus’ Airbus plant to
produce 16 Airbus H-125 helicopters for
U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The
agreement, announced by the company
in late January, specifies that deliveries of
the aircraft will start later this year. These
helicopters will be equipped with infrared
detection systems, thermal imaging camer-
as, night-vision goggles, hoist capabilities
and loudspeakers.
“Around 75 percent of the work we do
Photo courtesy of Airbus Helicopters
in North America is in support of critical
Airbus expects to produce 16 H-125
helicopter missions, including emergen-
Photo courtesy of Ryan Mason helicopters, like the one shown here, to be
cy medical services, law enforcement Two UH-72 Lakota helicopters fly near the Statute of Liberty. Airbus will produce 15 of used for U.S. Customs and Border Protec-
agencies, infrastructure companies, and these light utility helicopters for the U.S. Army. tion.
key governmental and military custom-
ers such as the U.S. Army and National
Guard, Customs & Border Protection,
‘Around 75 percent of the work we do in North America is in promised priority.”
In addition to the H-125’s, the Columbus
and U.S. Coast Guard,” Trapp said. “All
of whom are performing helicopter flights
support of critical helicopter missions, including emergen- Airbus plant will produce an additional 15
UH-72 Lakota light utility helicopters for
that the country relies on right now. This cy medical services, law enforcement agencies, infrastruc- the U.S. Army. 
unprecedented and evolving COVID-19 United States Sen. Roger Wicker,
situation has indeed changed the way that ture companies, and key governmental and military custom- R-Miss., originally announced the Army’s
we are currently working, as we adapt our Lakota contract with Airbus in early March,
operations to keep our employees safe so ers such as the U.S. Army and National Guard, Customs & a deal with an initial obligation of $61.3
they can continue to work to support our
customers.”
Border Protection, and U.S. Coast Guard.’ million and one that could be worth up to
$122.6 million total.   
Romain Trapp
Columbus’ Airbus facility, one of four “This is excellent news for the skilled
President of Airbus Helicopters and head of the company’s North American Region
Airbus locations in America, has nearly manufacturers in Columbus who build the
200 employees and typically produces up Lakota helicopter,” Wicker said in a news
to 80 aircrafts a year, but Trapp said the mised, though.  will be required to work in confined cir- release. “As our military works to develop
demand to produce H-125’s has created “The health and safety of our employees cumstances, that adequate stocks of hand the next generation of helicopter pilots, the
the need for several dozen more jobs at the will always be our number one priority,” sanitizer are available.”  Lakota will be there to help. Mississippians
Golden Triangle plant.   Trapp said. “In Airbus facilities across the Trapp added Airbus has implement- can be proud of that legacy.”
In a normal setting, each employee U.S., stringent health and safety practices ed mandatory temperature testing for all The Lakota contract runs through August
at the Columbus facility contributes to and measures have been implemented to employees working in facilities and has of 2022. Trapp said he expects Airbus to
specific work stations: mechanical assem- protect the health and safety of our em- allowed select workers to work remotely.   fulfill the contract on time. 
bly, installing wiring, navigation systems ployees, based on guidance from the CDC “We have implemented staggered shifts “Our facilities in Columbus are a key
and safety testing. Airbus, an international and applicable local authorities. We are for those on-site in order to reduce the production site for Airbus Helicopters, and
company with almost 25,000 employees in ensuring that workstations are rigorously number of people in any given area at one we are proud of the work we do building
total, has had to take precautions to ensure cleaned and disinfected multiple times a time,” Trapp said. “The health and safety of helicopters in the United States for the en-
the health of its workers is not compro- day, that masks are available for those who our people remains our overriding, uncom- tire North American region,” Trapp said. 
8 SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2020 The Dispatch T www.cdispatch.com SALUTE TO INDUSTRY SALUTE TO INDUSTRY The Dispatch T www.cdispatch.com SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2020 9

Airbus rises in uncertain times


Airbus expects to meet helicopter production deadline for US Army
as well as Customs and Border Protection despite pandemic
BY GARRICK HODGE
ghodge@cdispatch.com

D
espite the pandemic caused by
COVID-19, Airbus’ Columbus fa-
cility is still on schedule to meet
its helicopter production requirements on
time. 
Romain Trapp, President of Airbus
Helicopters and head of the company’s
North American Region, told The Dispatch
he fully expects Columbus’ Airbus plant to
produce 16 Airbus H-125 helicopters for
U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The
agreement, announced by the company
in late January, specifies that deliveries of
the aircraft will start later this year. These
helicopters will be equipped with infrared
detection systems, thermal imaging camer-
as, night-vision goggles, hoist capabilities
and loudspeakers.
“Around 75 percent of the work we do
Photo courtesy of Airbus Helicopters
in North America is in support of critical
Airbus expects to produce 16 H-125
helicopter missions, including emergen-
Photo courtesy of Ryan Mason helicopters, like the one shown here, to be
cy medical services, law enforcement Two UH-72 Lakota helicopters fly near the Statute of Liberty. Airbus will produce 15 of used for U.S. Customs and Border Protec-
agencies, infrastructure companies, and these light utility helicopters for the U.S. Army. tion.
key governmental and military custom-
ers such as the U.S. Army and National
Guard, Customs & Border Protection,
‘Around 75 percent of the work we do in North America is in promised priority.”
In addition to the H-125’s, the Columbus
and U.S. Coast Guard,” Trapp said. “All
of whom are performing helicopter flights
support of critical helicopter missions, including emergen- Airbus plant will produce an additional 15
UH-72 Lakota light utility helicopters for
that the country relies on right now. This cy medical services, law enforcement agencies, infrastruc- the U.S. Army. 
unprecedented and evolving COVID-19 United States Sen. Roger Wicker,
situation has indeed changed the way that ture companies, and key governmental and military custom- R-Miss., originally announced the Army’s
we are currently working, as we adapt our Lakota contract with Airbus in early March,
operations to keep our employees safe so ers such as the U.S. Army and National Guard, Customs & a deal with an initial obligation of $61.3
they can continue to work to support our
customers.”
Border Protection, and U.S. Coast Guard.’ million and one that could be worth up to
$122.6 million total.   
Romain Trapp
Columbus’ Airbus facility, one of four “This is excellent news for the skilled
President of Airbus Helicopters and head of the company’s North American Region
Airbus locations in America, has nearly manufacturers in Columbus who build the
200 employees and typically produces up Lakota helicopter,” Wicker said in a news
to 80 aircrafts a year, but Trapp said the mised, though.  will be required to work in confined cir- release. “As our military works to develop
demand to produce H-125’s has created “The health and safety of our employees cumstances, that adequate stocks of hand the next generation of helicopter pilots, the
the need for several dozen more jobs at the will always be our number one priority,” sanitizer are available.”  Lakota will be there to help. Mississippians
Golden Triangle plant.   Trapp said. “In Airbus facilities across the Trapp added Airbus has implement- can be proud of that legacy.”
In a normal setting, each employee U.S., stringent health and safety practices ed mandatory temperature testing for all The Lakota contract runs through August
at the Columbus facility contributes to and measures have been implemented to employees working in facilities and has of 2022. Trapp said he expects Airbus to
specific work stations: mechanical assem- protect the health and safety of our em- allowed select workers to work remotely.   fulfill the contract on time. 
bly, installing wiring, navigation systems ployees, based on guidance from the CDC “We have implemented staggered shifts “Our facilities in Columbus are a key
and safety testing. Airbus, an international and applicable local authorities. We are for those on-site in order to reduce the production site for Airbus Helicopters, and
company with almost 25,000 employees in ensuring that workstations are rigorously number of people in any given area at one we are proud of the work we do building
total, has had to take precautions to ensure cleaned and disinfected multiple times a time,” Trapp said. “The health and safety of helicopters in the United States for the en-
the health of its workers is not compro- day, that masks are available for those who our people remains our overriding, uncom- tire North American region,” Trapp said. 
10 SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2020 The Dispatch T www.cdispatch.com SALUTE TO INDUSTRY SALUTE TO INDUSTRY The Dispatch T www.cdispatch.com SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2020 7

Best of both worlds: Economic experts say solar projects


are good for environment and industrial development
BY ISABELLE ALTMAN
ialtman@cdispatch.com

G
olden Triangle Development
LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins said
over the last two decades, he’s
worked with about 20 companies looking
to bring solar farms to Lowndes, Oktibbeha
or Clay counties. Until recently, those com-
panies — barring the odd two-megawatt
solar farm located near a substation - have
been unsuccessful.
“They never hit,” Higgins said.
But that’s starting to change - in the
Golden Triangle and throughout the rest of
the Tennessee Valley and the country.
“I see a greener energy in the future of
our country and the TVA,” said Tennes-
see Valley Authority spokesperson Scott
Fiedler. “Nearly 60 percent of all the en-
ergy we generate right now is carbon free.
That includes not only our renewables, but
also nuclear power.”
Earlier this year, Tennessee Valley Au-
thority awarded a contract to Florida-based
renewable energy company Origis Energy
to build a 200 megawatt solar facility on
1,900 acres in Lowndes County just west
of the Infinity Megasite. The facility, which
Photo courtesy Origis Energy
will also have the capability of storing
Florida-based renewable energy company Origis Energy has built solar energy facilities near Hattiesburg, shown in this courtesy pho-
about 50 megawatts, is expected to begin to, and has announced it will build another in Lowndes County, which is expected to begin producing power in 2022. Origis represen-
producing energy for TVA in 2022. tatives, as well as representatives from the Tennessee Valley Authority and Golden Triangle Development LINK, say solar and other
But economic experts hope Origis will forms of renewable energy are economic drivers as well as being good for the environment.
be the first, rather than the only, such proj-
ect in the Golden Triangle. our carbon-free generation, you’ve just gins said — the “Walmarts of the world” “Those companies are now in the process
Higgins said the LINK is currently work- eliminated over half of your carbon when are increasingly interested in renewable of further sourcing their equipment, raw
ing with three or four other solar compa- you’re using TVA electricity.” energy as well. material and services from suppliers that
nies whose representatives have varying Higgins and Fiedler said one industry “The big box retailers, the big compa- support the same sustainability goals and
degrees of interest in locating a project in where companies are particularly inter- nies, are getting more and more conscious energy procurement strategies. This trig-
the area. One of those companies is specif- ested in solar energy is hyperscale data about their carbon footprint,” he said. gers a widespread waterfall of interest from
ically looking at about 2,000 acres each in centers from major tech companies, which “They want to be kind to the environment. the commercial and industrial markets to
Oktibbeha and Clay counties. The supervi- provide hundreds of jobs to the area where They want to use renewable power. You’re look for regions in our nation with excel-
sors in those counties have passed notices they’re built. Both Google and Facebook starting to see big box retailers or bigger lent availability of additional renewable
of intent to issue fee-in-lieu agreements, are currently building such centers in Ala- businesses ‘I want solar power. I want wind energy resources.”
which would exempt the company from bama, though some construction has been power. I want renewable power.’” Fiedler says TVA wants to be one of
paying property taxes for a certain number temporarily halted due to the COVID-19 More than 70 percent of Fortune 500 those regions.
of years in exchange for a fee paid to the pandemic. companies have published sustainabili- “TVA is a leader in solar energy and
county, if the company decides to build a “We are starting to recruit and see hyper ty goals pledging to offset their carbon we’re always looking for additional sourc-
facility there. data centers,” Higgins said. “And they use footprint with renewable energy sources, es, not only to make the environment or
Fiedler said the benefits to solar and a lot of power, it’s the one single thing they according to Johan Vanhee, Origis’ chief our communities a better place to live
other forms of renewable energy are more use a lot of. And the thing that they want commercial officer and chief procurement through a lower environmental impact but
than environmental — they’re economic. is they desire renewable power […] They officer, in an email from Origis spokesper- also to drive jobs and investment into the
“What we’re seeing is businesses and want to be able to tell their customers, their son Glenna Wiseman to The Dispatch. Tennessee Valley,” he said. “So we get the
industries not only have profitability goals, clients, their stockholders that they’re buy- “They are looking to source their energy best of both worlds: we get a good place to
they have sustainability goals,” he said. ing new-to-the-world, renewable power.” needs from new renewable energy gener- live and we get high-paying jobs.”
“Once you move into a TVA territory, with But hyperdata centers aren’t alone, Hig- ation facilities,” Vanhee said in the email.
6 SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2020 The Dispatch T www.cdispatch.com SALUTE TO INDUSTRY SALUTE TO INDUSTRY The Dispatch T www.cdispatch.com SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2020 11

Redefining
Continued from Page 5
of work. Three days later,
another 48 units arrived from
University of Mississippi Med-
ical Center and were convert-
ed in short order.
While the ventilator project
asked long hours of its par-
ticipants, Wallace hoped the
project and the diverse group
of engineers behind it would
help show the community
how people of different back-
grounds could come together
and help one another in a
trying time.
“You had to look at my
group,” he said. “When you
like to talk about diversity,
I had kids from Iran; I had
kids from Bangladesh; I had
undergrad students, graduate
students; I had a professor in
here working; I had the IT guy
here — his wife was here.
So it was a diverse group of
Photo courtesy of David Wallace Photo courtesy of David Wallace
people that came together
Moinul Shahidul Haque is building the switch Kazi Nishat Tasnim is mounting the switch and Photo courtesy of David Wallace
and we had a great time.” assembly. power port into the ventilator. Ventilator before and after the conversion.
12 SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2020 The Dispatch T www.cdispatch.com SALUTE TO INDUSTRY SALUTE TO INDUSTRY The Dispatch T www.cdispatch.com SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2020 5

Peco Foods could have 300 jobs by 2022 Redefining industry during crisis
The construction of a par-fry How local businesses are retooling their models to help fight the COVID-19 crisis
facility is still on time BY BEN PORTNOY “You know, for me, when they
bportnoy@cdispatch.com call me for hand sanitizer we just
BY TESS VRBIN

P
tvrbin@cdispatch.com erched above the check-in make it for them for free. At the
desk at Belle’s Nail Bar in end of the day, that’s what it’s all

T
he Peco Foods chicken processing plant in West Starkville sits a one liter about. Right?”
Point will add more than 200 jobs to its existing pump bottle of hand sanitizer. A And while the sanitizer solu-
44 when the addition of a par-fry facility is com- vibrant green color, the sooth- tions have flown off the proverbi-
plete. Par-frying (short for partial frying) is the first step in Photos courtesy Peco Foods, Inc. ing goop has taken a different al shelves at Belle’s, mask-making
the frying process and the food is frozen, packaged and The Peco Foods facility in West Point has 44 employees, but by 2022 it will likely have 300 in the main plant and 200 form than its widely produced in the Golden Triangle has also
distributed afterward. in the par-fry plant currently under construction. The 185,000 square-foot facility is located on 37 acres of land at the clear-counterpart. And while its developed into a logical and
The plant is still new to the Golden Triangle; construc- former Americold freezer facility on West Church Hill Road. appearance has been slightly quick switch for a number of
tion began in 2018 and full operations started in June Townsend said. than 7,000 people at 13 locations in Mississippi, Alabama modified, the protective slime has local businesses.
2019. The $40 million investment included $3 million in “Our top priority is the health and safety of our team and Arkansas. It has seven locations in Mississippi — become the most popular item Upon President Donald Ben Portnoy/Dispatch Staff
state funding. flowing out of the establishment Trump’s inauguration, the nation’s Belle’s Nail Bar was honored as
members, (and) we look forward to finishing up construc- West Point, Brooksville, Canton, Sebastopol, Philadelphia, the 2020 Business of the Year
Golden Triangle LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins said in tion and beginning our hiring process later this year,” he Lake and Bay Springs — ranging from processing plants to that earned 2020 Business of the 45th commander-in-chief raved
about a return to the manufac- in Starkville. Owner Aaron Weiss
2018 that the plant will have a total of 300 jobs by the said. hatcheries and feed mills. Year in Starkville. has produced homemade hand
time it has been open for three years. All Peco employees companywide are wearing face The West Point facility is a further processing plant, “That’s what it’s all about, turing process of decades past. sanitizer and helped distribute
The 185,000 square-foot facility is located on 37 acres masks at all times and their temperatures are checked meaning it produces “value-added products like chicken trying to help the community,” Following the President’s wishful Gwendolyn Gray’s masks to help
of land at the former Americold freezer facility on West before entering the facilities. The company has staggered nuggets and breaded filets” rather than plain processed Belle’s owner Aaron Weiss told thinking, Sturgis resident Gwen- the community.
Church Hill Road. The par-fry expansion began in late shift and break times to minimize interpersonal contact meats. The further processing plant in Brooksville em- The Dispatch. “The community dolyn Gray — who previously
2019 and will add about 130,000 square feet. Construc- and has been cleaning and sanitizing all surfaces more ploys 275 people, and all seven Mississippi locations have always helps us and has always owned a garment factory in the feed on her cell phone.
tion on the par-fry expansion has continued during the frequently. about 3,600 employees. been there for us. So that’s just 1990s — renewed her license on Thinking on the subject,
COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, plant manager Jordan Headquartered in Tuscaloosa, Peco employs more our way of trying to help and give Omega Industries within the past Benton conceived the idea to
back to them.” four years. create washable masks from the
With Mississippi governor Tate Working with the Southern fabric she had in her store to help
Reeves leaving establishments Foundation, one of Gray’s recent those on the front lines of the
like Belle’s closed due to their manufacturing projects included COVID-19 crisis. Photo courtesy of Mary Lou Benton
“non-essential” nature, Weiss is securing donated material to cre- Selling her product for $1.50 Crystal Rutherford from Southern Designz sewing masks during COVID
one of a number of local business ate book bags for students ahead compared to the $2.50 she 19 business shut down.
owners adapting their stores to of the 2019 school year. But with spends making them to ensure
help the community in its ongo- schools stalled and local residents health care workers could easily and we know it’s because people But with COVID-19 continuing
ing bout against the COVID-19 in need of facial protection, Gray afford them, she hoped to distrib- are scared, and they’re desper- to put a strain on the healthcare
pandemic. has repurposed her machinery to ute between 100 and 150 masks. ate.” industry, his lab at Mississippi
Having already stocked the help stitch masks for free distri- As of Saturday, Benton and Ruth- “We know we’re doing the State promptly shifted into helping
alcohol needed to produce hand bution in the community with the erford have received over 6,000 right thing because we want to convert ventilators from battery
sanitizer due to its use in the help of Weiss. orders and another 200-400 are do the right thing and it’s coming powered models to automatic
beauty business, Weiss said the “I wanted to just do what I rolling in daily. from my heart because I wanted current power — allowing them
cleansing solvent was an easy could do to help out,” she told And while Benton and Ruther- to make sure everyone was safe,” to be plugged into the wall.
alternative to manicures and The Dispatch. “All I wanted to do ford’s efforts have been matched she continued. “At the same time, Working in conjunction with
pedicures. Advertising through is just help the situation.” with overwhelming generosity we’re not bringing in any mon- Taylor Machine Works, Wallace’s
the “Starkville Strong” Facebook Like Gray, Mary Lou Benton and appreciation, there remains a ey and we still have to keep the group of mechanical engineers
group, he and his wife make the and her daughter Crystal Ruth- faction of folks that are impatient. lights on and pay the rent at the were given 250 ventilators to
sanitizer at home before meeting erford have found quick work in Working 14 hour days to produce shop and stuff. We pray about it convert. Spending their first day
customers outside Belle’s or at adjusting their Columbus-based as many masks as possible, back- every night.” on the job deciding how to re-
spots of their convenience to pass printing operation, Southern orders take time to fill. But with configure the machines, the team
Designz, into a mask-making anxiety and fear creeping into the completed 48 ventilators.
off the product in an attempt to
keep the community healthy. factory of sorts. Closing their shop public psyche, the mother-daugh-
From lightning strikes to Laboring long into the night,
In addition, Weiss placed a due to shelter in place orders ter duo has experienced their ventilator conversions music ranging from country
basket in front of his store in from Mississippi government share of irritated customers as Paul B. Jacob High Voltage to rock to instrumental blared
which patrons can drop off or officials, Benton worked herself they fight to keep their business Laboratory manager David Wal- around the assembly line in the
pick up food donations for those into a frenzy trying to keep busy afloat. lace’s normal routine generally lab as Wallace’s team rounded
struggling financially through the at home. Lying in bed one night “The community has been an revolves around lightning strikes, out the project with 162 convert-
pandemic. after shuttering the shop, stories outpour of appreciation,” Benton millions of volts of AC power and, ed ventilators on their third day
“Honestly, I mean, that’s just of health care workers’ needs for said. “And of course that gets us in his own terms, “blowing up
the least we can do,” he said. masks graced the social media through the cussing out we get... stuff.” See REDEFINING, 6
4 SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2020 The Dispatch T www.cdispatch.com SALUTE TO INDUSTRY SALUTE TO INDUSTRY The Dispatch T www.cdispatch.com SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2020 13
14 SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2020 The Dispatch T www.cdispatch.com SALUTE TO INDUSTRY SALUTE TO INDUSTRY The Dispatch T www.cdispatch.com SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2020 3
Kerby Building Materials Orman’s Welding & Fabrication Southern Reel
Golden Triangle Manufacturers Directory Starkville • 662-323-8021
Products: Industrial/commercial metal
Employees: 170
West Point • 662-494-9471
Products: Conveyor/conveying equip., misc.
general purpose machinery mfg.
Starkville • 662-324-3636
Products: Injection molding, extrusion, cable and
wiring packaging, plastic spools, plywood reels
Ace Decoy Anchors, LLC Columbus Marble Works, Inc. General Machine Works Long Branch Co., Inc. Employees: 24 Employees: 35
West Point • 662-494-5092 Columbus • 662-328-1477 West Point • 662-494-5155 West Point • 662-494-8860 Paccar, Inc. Southwire Company
Products: Decoy duck anchors, targets, etc. Products: Marble, granite monuments and Products: Machining, milling and tool repair Products: Structural steel fabrication Columbus • 662-329-6703 Starkville • 662-324-6600
Employees: 176 mausoleums Employees: 3 Employees: 8 Products: Diesel engines Products: Copper building wire, power cable
Airbus Helicopters, Inc. Employees: 64 Glenn Machine Works, Inc. Mississippi Precision Cast Parts, LLC Employees: 600 Employees: 261
Columbus • 662-327-6226 Datco International Columbus • 662-328-4611 Columbus • 662-245-1155 Peco Foods Stark Aerospace, Inc.
Products: Helicopter mfg. and assembly Columbus • 662-327-3995 Products: Crane rentals, rigging, steel fabrication, Products: Investment casting and foundry West Point Columbus • 662-798-4075
Employees: 180 Products: Tack cloth for automotive industry, lint industrial supplies Employees: 19 Products: Poultry cutting and distribution Products: UAVs
Akzo Nobel/Nouryon free wipers and wiping Employees: 160 Mississippi Steel Processing, LLC Employees: TBA Employees: 46
Columbus • 662-240-8633 Employees: 5 Harcos Chemicals, Inc. Columbus • 662-327-3150 Rempel Roto-Cast Company Sqwincher Corporation
Products: Sodium chlorate, hydrogen peroxide DPM Fragrance West Point • 662-494-5998 Products: Steel fabrication West Point • 662-494-1094 Columbus • 662-328-0400
Employees: 100 Starkville • 662-324-2231 Products: Distributor and producer of industrial Employees: 71 Products: Plastic products mfg. Products: Electrolyte replacement beverage
American Power Source Products: Candles and fragranced wax chemicals Monroe-Tufline Manufacturing Co. Employees: 5 Employees: 70
Columbus • 662-328-2173 Employees: 176 Employees: 350 Columbus • 662-328-8347 S&N Wood Products Sturgis Mat Company Inc.
Products: Military BDUs Dutch Maid Equipment Co. Industrial Fabricators Products: Agricultural and dirt moving equip. Columbus • 662-328-0140 Sturgis • 662-465-8879
Employees: 98 Columbus • 662-328-3813 Columbus • 662-327-1776 Employees: 45 Products: Wood pallets and skids Products: Pipeline draglines and crane mats
Aurora Flight Sciences Products: Fabrication of car wash equip. Products: Custom fabricating, sandblasting for steel Motion Industries Employees: 8 Employees: 70
Columbus • 662-328-8732 Employees: 10 and metal buildings Columbus • 662-328-8041 Steel Dynamics, Inc. Trimjoist Corporation
Products: Unmanned aerial vehicles, other aviation Ecolab Microtek Medical Inc. Employees: 14 Products: Industrial parts Columbus • 662-245-4267 Columbus • 662-327-7950
Employees: 10 Products: Sheet metal Products: Floor systems
related products Columbus • 662-327-1863 International Papers (CMF)
Employees: 68 Products: Disposable medical products Columbus • 662-243-6934 Mount Vernon Mills, Inc. Employees: 850 Employees: 45
B&M Pole Company Employees: 154 Products: Modified paper Columbus • 662-328-5670 Southern Ionics Valmet
Products: Textile, waistbands, slitting West Point • 662-494-3055 Columbus • 662-328-3841
West Point • 662-494-5092 Electric Motors Sales & Service Employees: 100
Employees: 32 Products: Inorganic chemical mfg. Products: Paper mill roll covering and
Products: Fishing poles, bait, accessories Columbus • 662-327-1606 International Papers Nammo Talley Employees: 350 reconditioning
Employees: 10 Products: Electric motors, control, pumps, air (Columbus Cellulose Fibers)
compressors, related products Crawford • 662-272-6111 Southern Lure Co. Employees: 109
Baldor Electric Company Columbus • 662-434-4000 Products: Shoulder mounted rockets Columbus • 662-327-4548 Xeruim
Columbus • 662-328-9116 Employees: 25 Products: Pulp and lightweight coated paper Employees: 1 Products: Fishing lures Starkville • 662-323-4064
Products: Large industrial electric motors Ellis Steel Company Employees: 324 Navistar Defense Employees: 10 Products: Papermaker’s felt
Employees: 271 West Point • 662-494-5955 Janesville Acoustics
Products: Fabricated metal mfg. West Point • 662-494-0098 Southern Outdoor Technologies Employees: 220
Columbus Brick Company Columbus • 662-327-0756 Products: Defense vehicles West Point • 662-495-1050 Yokohoma Tire Manufacturing, LLC
Columbus • 662-328-4931 Employees: 150 Products: Acoustical and thermal fiber insulation Employees: 200 Products: Hunting blinds and stands West Point • 800-423-4544
Products: Face and common brick Flexsteel Industries, Inc. Employees: 100 New Process Steel Employees: 311 Product: Commercial tires
Employees: 80 Starkville • 662-323-5481 Southern Pharmaceuticals Corp. Employees: 668
Products: Commercial seating, office/instructional Johnston Tombigbee Furniture Columbus • 205-281-8345
Columbus Machine & Welding Works Mfg. Co. Products: Steel fabrication Columbus • 662-327-2060
Columbus • 662-328-8473 Employees: 180 Employees: 41 Products: Compounding of medications (nebulizers)
Columbus • 662-328-3346
Products: Fabrication welding and machine works Garan, Inc. Products: Bedroom, motel furniture Employees: 13
Employees: 20 Starkville • 662-323-4731
Products: Toddler/infant fleece clothing Employees: 180
Employees: 140
2 SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2020 The Dispatch T www.cdispatch.com SALUTE TO INDUSTRY SALUTE TO INDUSTRY The Dispatch T www.cdispatch.com SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2020 15
16 SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2020 The Dispatch T www.cdispatch.com SALUTE TO INDUSTRY

Salute to Industry Sunday, May 31, 2020

Photo courtesy of Steel Dynamics Inc.

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