Copiah County is very fortunate to be in a good spot in terms of economic development/job creation. Through the efforts in large part of Copiah County Economic Development District over the past 18 months, a couple of new industries are either up and running or close to it in the county’s industrial park in Gallman.
McNeely Plastics, which is now occupying the facility formerly operated by MMI, opened up shop in late summer/early fall. McNeely is a “diversified distributor of plastic packaging” according to their website (http://www.mcneelyplastics.com/index.php/why-mcneely/about-us). One of their main partners, Shannon Watts, was a classmate of mine at Copiah Academy. Watts and his team worked closely with Arthur Lee Evans, Jr., Executive Director of Copiah County Economic Development District and the organization’s executive board to bring the expansion to Gallman. So far, several dozen jobs have been created there, with even more planned as business opportunities arise.
Another success of the district’s tenacious capability is the Gulf Coast Renewable Energy project in the former Universal building on the south side of the industrial park. GCRE’s management team began the process of converting the old electrical component plant into a facility that will manufacture wood pellets, mostly to be shipped to markets overseas and utilized as fuel and a heating source. At least another 25 higher paying jobs are coming once the conversion is made and a source for raw materials is solidified.
These existing industries in Copiah County are thriving, as well, and are the county’s major private employers: Advance Auto Parts Regional Distribution Center; Sanderson Farms Processing, Production and Feed Plants; Axiall; Blain Companies Sand and Gravel; DG Foods Poultry Processing; ABB, Inc., Industrial Controls; Metaline Products, Inc.,; Community Construction, Inc.; API Technologies; Plum Creek Timber; and, Copiah Forest Products.
These industries provide the means to a higher quality of life for their thousands of employees, and indirectly create thousands jobs and commercial opportunities in our towns and communities. Yep, even this newspaper is dependent upon–and much appreciative of–a strong industrial sector, here.