Oktibbeha group looks to lure automaker

February 20, 2009

Tim Pratt -


STARKVILLE â€" An effort is under way in Oktibbeha County to make 1,700 acres of land off Highway 82 suitable for automakers or other large manufacturers. 


Jon Maynard, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Starkville Development Partnership, Thursday said he hopes to one day bring a large manufacturing operation to a site near the Highway 82 and Hickory Grove Road interchange. Much of the land is covered with trees. 


The Partnership already has commitments from landowners at the site looking to sell their properties, but must have an environmental and engineering study performed to determine if the properties are viable for industrial use, Maynard said. If the land can be used, the Partnership would begin negotiating prices with the property owners. 


Once the land is purchased, the Partnership would spend money to develop an infrastructure plan, and have the land certified as a Tennessee Valley Authority megasite. Maynard, meanwhile, will work hard to court potential businesses. 


“This (site) would be specifically for large manufacturing processes â€" your Toyotas and your Volkswagens â€" that size operation,” Maynard said, adding the project is still in the exploratory phase. “It’s an outstanding opportunity for us. This has the potential to be a real, world-class megasite.” 


Certified TVA megasites consist of properties deemed suitable for major automotive manufacturing. 




Camgian Microsystems 


Maynard talked about the project at the GSDP board of directors meeting, where he also discussed Camgian Microsystems’ recent acquisition of Cypress Semiconductor’s design center in Starkville. Cypress Semiconductor recently announced the closure of its Starkville facility, but the acquisition will allow Camgian to locate its headquarters there and hire 15 of Cypress’s 22 employees. 


To facilitate the acquisition and aid with employee retention, Cypress transferred all of the center’s hardware to Camgian and provided the company with two years of contract work, according to a statement released by the Mississippi Development Authority. 


Cypress was one of the first companies to set up shop in the Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Development Park, and has partnered with Mississippi State University on a number of research and development initiatives. 


Camgian conducts advanced research and technology development related to national security issues, including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. The company’s new 7,000-square-foot headquarters in Starkville will house its recently established advanced microtechnology division, which supports analog, digital and mixed signal chip design, as well as an electronics laboratory for chip prototyping and verification. 


“These are very high-wage jobs and this acquisition is particularly great news in the current softened economy, when job retention is a top priority,” Gov. Haley Barbour said in a statement. 


The Mississippi Development Authority has provided $100,000 for public building improvements for the project.