April 25, 2013 10:40:00 AM
Nathan Gregory - [email protected]
Area manufacturers and economic developers packed the East Mississippi Community College Mayhew Campus' Lyceum Center for the school's 24th Annual Salute to Industry.
Three categories of awards were presented to Golden Triangle industrial and community leaders for their efforts over the past year.
Best practices awards-- which are given to industries who demonstrate superior workforce training, management and business practices -- were given to West Point-based Royal Trucking Company, paper machine clothing product manufacturer Weavexx of Starkville and Nammo Talley of Columbus.
A special recognition award was given to the Tri-County Regional Development Steering Committee for their efforts to help establish the Golden Triangle Development Link. Committee members honored were: West Point Clay County Community Growth Alliance President Jackie Edwards; former Columbus Lowndes Development Link Chair Gordon Flowers; Oktibbeha County supervisor Marvel Howard; board president Jim McAlexander; retired Clay County Chancery Clerk Robbie Robinson; Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman and Oktibbeha County Economic Development Agency President Jack Wallace. Link CEO Joe Max Higgins was also recognized for his work with the committee.
EMCC Vice-President of Workforce and Community Services Raj Shaunak presented the director's award, presented to the manufacturer with the highest level of recognition through workforce training and excellence -- to commercial vehicle manufacturer Paccar. He mentioned the company has installed over 35,000 of its MX-13 engines in Kentworth and Peterbilt trucks since it began operation in 2010, racking up numerous accolades during its three years in business.
"Paccar Engine is a great partner to our community college and I understand that 29 percent of all Kentworth and Peterbilt heavy duty trucks are now carrying the MX-13 engine in them," Shaunak said.
Also on hand at the ceremony was Mississippi Development Authority Executive Director Brent Christensen, who spoke during his keynote address on objectives he's worked toward since assuming that role less than a year ago. While recruiting new industry to Mississippi is important, maintaining what the state already has is even more crucial, he said.
"The biggest part of what we do is work with what we've got in our communities in our state to make sure that those businesses and industries are happy, that they're growing, that they're getting the resources they need to be successful," Christensen said. "Something I'm really proud of is that everything we offer in terms of incentives, in terms of workforce programs, in terms of any support that you might offer a company that you might be attracting to this state is there for our existing industry as well."
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.