Friday, September 28, 2018

Washington County Economic Alliance announces new manufacturing facility in Greenville, Mississippi

Washington County Economic Alliance announces new manufacturing facility in Greenville, Mississippi
Nufarm to invest $20M and create 68 jobs at new facility.

Greenville, MS - Washington County Economic Alliance (WCEA) is proud to announce Nufarm Americas Inc. on Tuesday, August 21, 2018, announced expansion of their North American manufacturing operations with the dedication of a new facility in Greenville, Miss. The announcement took place in Greenville with executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority Glenn McCullough, Congressman Bennie Thompson, Washington County Board of Supervisors President Carl McGee, mayor of Greenville Errick Simmons, Nufarm group executive of supply chain operations Elbert Prado, and Nufarm regional general manager Brendan Deck in attendance.
“Nufarm is an established, well-respected company within the agriculture sector, with farmers around the U.S. and the world relying on its products to protect not only their crops, but their livelihoods, as well,” said MDA Executive Director Glenn McCullough, Jr. “MDA, together with the city of Greenville and the Washington County Economic Alliance, is proud to assist Nufarm as it locates in our state and creates dozens of new career opportunities in the Mississippi Delta.”
Through working this project from the beginning of 2018, WCEA executive director Cary Karlson noted the positive community engagement Nufarm prioritizes within its communities: “This partnership with Nufarm creates a huge economic accomplishment for Greenville and Washington County. Nufarm is a company that places community first, and I am proud that they will now be a part of our community here.”
Additional internal capacity will allow Nufarm to respond to market realities and support their customers. This is largely driven by supplying key products to the southeastern U.S. region from Greenville and leveraging recent Nufarm investments in global supply chain planning and distribution tools to optimize the network. 
“This is truly a plant for our customers,” says Brad Hyman, vice president of crop protection for Nufarm in the U.S. “Our customers needed a consistent, high-quality and efficient supply of our product to the southeastern U.S. region, and this new plant allows us to accomplish that with more success and flexibility than ever before.”
The facility will support Nufarm’s growing herbicide and cotton portfolios with state-of-the-art formulation and packaging operations. The 16-acre site was selected after an extensive review throughout the Mississippi River Delta region, and it features an existing 104,500-square-foot facility which will be fully renovated to suit Nufarm’s manufacturing needs.
“We appreciate the partnership created between Nufarm, the City of Greenville and the State of Mississippi and look forward to becoming a member of the Greenville community,” says Tom Lyons, vice president of supply chain and operations. “Nufarm Greenville will be a perfect complement to our other outstanding facilities, delivering safe, high-quality capacity for the North American market.”
Nufarm plans to establish the new plant with a two-part approach. Phase one will feature the hiring of a core team for the establishment of engineering, process equipment and technology infrastructure. Phase two will include the hiring of 30-50 additional skilled workers over five years, building and property upgrades, and further technology and infrastructure investments. Renovation is set to begin soon with commercialization planned for summer 2019.
“As a leader in the agriculture industry, Mississippi is proud to welcome Nufarm as the state’s newest business partner. From Greenville, Nufarm will employ the Mississippi Delta’s skilled workforce to manufacture its crop protection products and ensure their timely delivery to Nufarm’s customers throughout the Southeast,” Gov. Phil Bryant said. 
The success of this investment will continue to count on strategic partnerships with the City of Greenville, state of Mississippi and key suppliers. Nufarm and the WCEA look forward to Building a Better Greenville Together!
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About Nufarm Americas
Nufarm Americas, Inc. is a subsidiary of Nufarm Limited, a manufacturer, supplier and marketer of crop protection products based in Australia. Nufarm is recognized as one of the leading agricultural and turf chemical manufacturers in the world. Nufarm Americas, Inc. formulates products that serve the agricultural, professional turf, vegetation management and forestry markets in the United States.

About Mississippi Development Authority:
Mississippi Development Authority is the state’s lead economic and community development agency. MDA focuses on new business recruitment, existing business expansion, workforce training, and tourism promotion. For more information, visit MDA’s website at

Mars Food Celebrates 40 Years in Greenville, Mississippi

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant Marks Occasion with the Producers of UNCLE BEN’S and SEEDS OF CHANGE
GREENVILLE, MISS. (Sept. 25, 2018) – Mars Food North America, maker of UNCLE BEN’S® and SEEDS OF CHANGE® products, today celebrated 40 years of operation in Greenville, Miss. The company marked the occasion with a celebratory ceremony for Associates and local dignitaries including Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, Greenville Mayor Errick Simmons and Greenville Public School District Superintendent Dr. Janice Page.
Opened in 1978, the facility is the third largest employer in Greenville, with more than 180 full-time associates, and produces UNCLE BEN’S® dry rice and ready-to-heat rice pouches and SEEDS OF CHANGE® ready-to-heat rice pouches. Mars Food has invested nearly $200 million into the site over the last 40 years, most recently investing $30+ million between 2014 and 2018 and creating 25 new jobs in its manufacturing and research and development operations. Today, the facility is zero waste to landfill, covers 80 acres with more than 250,000 square feet of space, and it produces 100,000 tons of rice annually, making it the largest Mars Food factory in the world.
“Our operations in Greenville are essential to both the success of our business as well as our efforts to deliver on our purpose of ‘Better food today. A better world tomorrow,’” said Mars Food Greenville Site Director Don Cornett. “We are proud of the progress we’ve made over the last four decades and are excited to continue investing in our talented Associates and the community of Greenville, who make milestones like these possible.”
The Greenville facility has been active in the community for many years, supporting organizations like Extra Table, local food banks, Blessings in a Backpack and the Mars Food community garden. To commemorate the 40th anniversary, today, Mars Food’s organic SEEDS OF CHANGE® brand presented a donation of $40,000 to the Greenville Public School District to establish sustainable gardening programs.
"We are thrilled about the opportunities that this donation will create," said Dr. Janice Page, Superintendent of the Greenville Public School District.  "The support of Mars will continue to have a tremendous impact in our community. With this sustainable gardening program, our students will learn about the benefits and mechanics of growing their own food and how to eat healthier diets. Students will also be able to share with others of all ages within our district and within our community.”
Governor Bryant and Mayor Simmons met many of the Greenville facility’s Associates throughout the day, including two that are Greenville natives.  Lucy Whitley started at the factory 27 years ago and is a member of the site’s Inbound Receiving team with a passion for people and safety.  The Governor also met Mike Jones, the director of operations who started as a fork truck operator 21 years ago.
“For 40 years, Mars Food has helped fuel the growth of Greenville and the broader Mississippi Delta region by providing jobs, investing in the community and being an important partner to the state of Mississippi,” said Governor Bryant. “We’re honored to share this milestone with Mars Food in Greenville and hope to celebrate many more.”
For more information about Mars Food North America and its manufacturing facilities, visit

Monday, August 13, 2018

New Workforce Scholarships and Grants for Opportunity Youth and Employers in Washington County

The Washington County Economic Alliance is now able to support the pipeline of hiring though workforce grants targeted at future employees and employers. Please visit our website if you would like to learn more. 
ACT WorkKeys Job Profiling

ACT WorkKeys Youth Scholarship Youth Workforce Training Scholarships

Washington County Economic Alliance breaks ground on a multi-million dollar, 84-room, Tru by Hilton in Greenville, MS.

Greenville, MS – The Washington County Economic Alliance (WCEA) is pleased to announce a groundbreaking ceremony for the development of a Tru by Hilton in Greenville, MS. Through a development partnership of the Chawla and Retzer familes, the new hotel will bolster 84 rooms through a multi-million dollar investment. This project will be built at 600 Rayner Rd. in Greenville, MS off of Highway 1 South, behind The Skin Institute. Construction has commenced at the property, and the hotel is scheduled to open May 2019.
“This is an exciting announcement to be taking place in Greenville and Washington County,” said Cary Karlson, executive director of the WCEA. “This project is a true example of community and development partnerships, and I applaud the Chawla and Retzer family for their continued investment in our community.”
To celebrate the beginning of construction for this project, a groundbreaking event was held on the future hotel site at 600 Rayner Rd., Greenville, MS 38701 on August 10, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. United States Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi was honored guest and speaker at the event.
“The Retzer family has long admired what the Chawla's have built in Washington County and the Mississippi Delta,” said developer Michael Retzer. “We're thrilled about this partnership, and look forward to bringing the Delta a vibrant new hotel concept with Tru by Hilton.”
"We hope this is the first of many developments between the Chawla family and Retzer family in the Mississippi Delta,” proclaimed developer Suresh Chawla. “Both families share a strong love for Washington County and the surrounding area."
The construction of a new hotel in Greenville is another example of recent investment in the community which aims to bolster the quality of life for residents.
“The City is pleased to announce that this multi-million dollar investment will add to over $90 million dollars in local, state, nonprofit, and federal investments here in the City of Greenville in the past 2 years,” said City of Greenville Mayor Errick Simmons. “The hotel and lodging industry is a critical component of our local economy. Hotels are catalysts for increased revenue, opportunity, and wages for residents and commercial growth for our area. We commend the City Council and Board of Supervisors for their vision and leadership in this effort.”

About Tru by Hilton:
Tru by Hilton is a game-changing midscale hotel brand providing a simplified and spirited approach that is grounded in value for business and leisure travelers. The brand is modern and functional, offering social connectivity with reimagined public spaces, including an open lobby comprised of four areas where guests can work, play, lounge, and eat. Designed to appeal cross-generationally, guests enjoy complimentary amenities, including a free Build Your Own ‘Top It’ breakfast with hot items, coffee, and tea; smaller, more modern, and efficiently designed guestrooms with a rolling desk and oversized windows for natural light; a multifunctional fitness center; and fast Wi-Fi. Premium snacks, light meal options and single-serve wine and beer are available for purchase at the 24/7 “Eat. & Sip.” market. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits. Learn more at or, and connect with Tru by Hilton on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Washington County Economic Alliance recognized regionally for their Our Story marketing campaign

Southern Economic Development Council honors the Washington County Economic Alliance with an Award of Merit for the 2018 Community Economic Development Awards (CEDA).

Greenville, MS – The Washington County Economic Alliance (WCEA) was presented with an Award of Merit by the Southern Economic Development Council (SEDC) at their 2018 Annual Meeting held earlier this month in Mobile Alabama. The WCEA won this recognition in the “Thinking Outside the Box” category for their Our Story social media campaign.

“We are excited to receive this recognition from SEDC. There are 1000 members in SEDC and the WCEA was one of 5 organizations to win this award,” acknowledged Cary Karlson, Executive Director of the Washington County Economic Alliance.
WCEA’s Our Story social media campaign, at its heart, is to raise community awareness and to lead the charge for positive community attitude. The campaign runs across multiple social media platforms and uses videos and images to highlight the positive community assets of people, places, events, and employers. The branding of each post contains the hashtag #OurStoryWashCo.
“Through social media analytics, we can quantify that the posts are being seen, and we believe the posts are creating new narratives for the community to share and be proud of,” said WCEA project manager Will Coppage.
Another component of the campaign is the Our Story Video Contest. The contest runs through October 1, 2018. Residents of Washington County are asked to create videos/movies under two minutes in length that show “why they love Washington County.” Prizes for best video and most shared video will be awarded, with the two prize packed consisting of a Canon Rebel and a Go Pro camera package. To learn more and submission details, visit Winners will be announced in November during the WCEA’s Community Christmas Crawl.
About the 2018 CEDA Awards:
In 2006, SEDC started a new program to recognize outstanding communities in our region for their efforts in advancing the economic viability of their community through economic and community development programs. The awards recognize exceptional projects/programs of communities for efforts in the areas of Business Retention and Expansion, Business Recruitment, Community Development and Community Involvement. Entries are judged based on innovativeness, transferability, community commitment and leverage, and measured objectives.
About the “Thinking Outside the Box” Category:
A marketing piece, campaign, event or other related economic development activity that clearly demonstrates originality, uniqueness, creativity, and/or use of leading edge technologies (including social media).
About SEDC:
Tracing our roots to the fall of 1946, the Southern Economic Development Council is the oldest and largest regional economic development association in North America. We have members in 17 states in the American South, including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kansas,
Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
SEDC is a non-profit, 501 (c)(6), membership organization governed by a Board of Directors and Executive Committee. One director is elected by each member state to serve with elected officers on the Board of Directors. Our office is located in Atlanta and managed by a professional staff.
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Cary Karlson
Executive Director


Friday, May 4, 2018

Lyla Jane is my Spirit Animal

They are only young once. I had to freeze this picture of Lyla Jane forever. The tattoo was done by Nary at 3rd Eye Gallery in Dallas, TX.

University of Oklahoma - Economic Development Institute - I Graduated

I am happy to announce that I completed my tract for the Univ. of Ok Economic Development Institute. I was able to fast track the program and complete it in 1 year and a half, instead of the full three years. I am planning to sit for my CEcD Exam in 2019.