November 2017 Newsletter

35 Years of Success

In 1982, Caterpillar opened its flagship remanufacturing facility in Corinth, Mississippi, and started with 11 employees. Today, it is home to over 1,300 employees and supports another 400 agency workers and contractors. Caterpillar announced in 2015 that they would be moving their 3500 Engine Remanufacturing operation to Alcorn and Prentiss counties and promised to hire 45 new employees over a three year period. Instead, they have hired 75 new employees in just 14 months. To celebrate the 35th anniversary of Caterpillar in Corinth and the unveiling of the 3500 Remanufactured Engine, Cat hosted employees, executives and Mississippi state and local officials in their facility for an official ceremony.

Celebrating the 35th Anniversary of Caterpillar in Corinth

The event included a letter of support from Governor Phil Bryant, a video message from US Senator Roger Wicker, a speech from Mississippi Development Authority Executive Director Glenn McCullough, Jr. and a proclamation signed and presented by MS State Senators Rita Parks and JP Wilemon, Jr., and MS House Representatives Nick Bain, Tracy Arnold and Bubba Carpenter. Caterpillar Managing Director Trent Tippey praised the workforce in Alcorn County and Mississippi’s business friendly environment. General Manager of Caterpillar Remanufacturing, Bob Paternoga, applauded the Mississippi operation, and Tana Utley, VP of Caterpillar Large Power Systems Division, was in attendance showing support. Representatives from US Senator Thad Cochran’s office and Congressman Trent Kelly’s office were also present showing support and gratitude to Caterpillar for their investment in Mississippi.

Millennial Recruiting Millennials – Sara Beth Stockton

Sara Beth Stockton
Sara Beth Stockton

Corinth native Sara Beth Stockton’s professional career has had no shortage of twists and turns. After graduating from Mississippi State in 2003, she began her professional career in Memphis working for Yellow Book. After a year and a half, she decided to pursue other opportunities and took a sales position in Jackson, MS. Many of her friends lived in Jackson at the time so she jumped at the opportunity. She enjoyed Jackson but the sales job wasn’t exactly what she thought it would be. In 2005, she interviewed with Temp Staff in Jackson with intentions of finding temporary employment. Instead, she left the interview with a full-time job opportunity – recruiting for Temp Staff. For the next 5 years, she worked in a recruitment role for Temp Staff and then filled a similar role at Entergy. Recruitment was the perfect job for her. There was only one thing missing: the hometown feeling.

While in Jackson, she encountered some health issues and couldn’t find the personal care that she needed. She decided to come home to see a doctor in Corinth and was introduced to the wonderful work of Magnolia Regional Health Center. The generosity and personal touch of the doctors and staff blew her away.

As she returned to her work in Jackson, a friend of hers that worked at Magnolia called and let her know there was going to be a job coming open. The position? Recruiting physicians. This was her opportunity to return home and make an impact for Corinth. She interviewed and quickly got the job. Since moving back, she has found her love for her hometown has done nothing but continually grow. Naturally, recruiting physicians to live and work in the city she loves (and was recruited back to) is a perfect fit.

“I came back to Corinth not because of a family standpoint, but from a community standpoint. My church family, my work family, it feels like home.” When she coupled her recruiting skills with her passion for Corinth, success immediately followed. After seven years on the job, the hospital has successfully recruited doctors from across the country and has continued to grow. Her work has also been recognized on the state level, being named Top 50 Under 40 and Top 50 Business Women in Mississippi by Mississippi Business Journal.

When you step into her office, you immediately see her “recruiting board” on her wall. She lights up with excitement when talking about the medical students or residents that have committed to come to work at Magnolia when their terms are up. She’ll tell you which ones are from Corinth & Alcorn County and the reasons they’ve decided to return home for work. She’ll excitedly tell you how she’s recruited physicians from all over the country and what was the factor that sold them on locating here. “Corinth is so unique, you have to experience it for yourself to have the feeling.” She’ll tell you that if she can get a physician to come visit, the community sells itself. Once they get here, she hears overwhelmingly positive results. “People who aren’t from here are welcomed into these families and they feel at home.”

For the physicians moving in with families, she proudly says, “You feel safe here. Kids can still play in the front yard with the neighborhood kids. It makes you feel like you did when you grew up.” For millennials that still want the thrill of a big city weekend or an SEC football game, she quickly lets them know that Corinth affords them that opportunity. “Corinth is where you come to live. If you want to take a weekend trip, you can easily drive to Memphis, Nashville, Birmingham, Oxford and Starkville.”

A major facet of recruiting and retaining someone here, she says, is getting them involved in the community. Stockton has served as President of the Corinth Main Street Association, has been on The Alliance’s Executive Committee, Board of Directors and the Community Development Council. She notes that getting involved in the community not only builds pride in helping but also will help in retaining the talent we have here.

Sara Beth Stockton has found her dream job in recruiting people to live and work in her home town. The biggest secret to her success? She has lived it. She left but came back. Now she is devoted to helping others move in and feel right at home in beautiful Corinth, Mississippi.

Welcome to “The Silicon Holler”

Danny Bryson, Masterpiece Engineerin
Danny Bryson, Masterpiece Engineering

Masterpiece Engineering is one of over half of a dozen electronics manufacturing companies in Alcorn County, all of which can trace their origin back to ITT.

Born out of the Northeast Mississippi Business Incubator, Masterpiece Engineering has a story to tell of strength and perseverance. Danny Bryson’s professional career began as an entry level engineer, first working at Wurlitzer and then ITT. ITT, the powerhouse telecom manufacturing company, at one point employed over 2,000 people. In the early to mid 90’s, Bryson noticed the economy fluctuating. Electronics businesses were leaving for China. People were being laid off. Instead of waiting and seeing what would happen, he decided to take matters into his own hands.

In 1995, Danny Bryson started his own company, Masterpiece Engineering, which manufactured technology based software. What began in the local Business Incubator grew into being the first business to locate in what is now an industrial park that hosts Caterpillar, Kimberly-Clark and a Fed-Ex shipping center. Masterpiece Engineering has now evolved to focus on providing turnkey testing solutions to electronics manufacturers worldwide. They serve a “niche of a niche”, which has helped him come out of a difficult economy strong. When he started, he competed against more than 50 domestic businesses. Today, the number is less than 10. While many US businesses were leaving for China, he decided to remain.

When asked about the success of his company, he credits Alcorn County’s electronic history, the hard work ethic of his employees and the sophisticated product that they make. He’ll tell you that you’ll find some of the smartest people in the electronics industry right here. In his own words, he came here and found some “highly intelligent country boys” that knew their way around electronics. Citing the history of ITT and the electronics based industries that have stemmed from it, he says Alcorn County is destined to always be a player in this sector. “The electronics industry is part of what Corinth is.”

Bryson believes the local electronics strength is bound to become stronger, as his employees and the future workforce have grown up around technology. “Working at Masterpiece is an answer to the person that is technology based. Millennials grew up around technology and having technology based employment is an attractor to this generation that was raised on it.” He also notes that this strength is not only beneficial to the existing industries that focus on electronics manufacturing, but could be a driver for a potential new industry to locate in Alcorn County. “We develop sophisticated tools that can influence other technology minded customers to use and/or locate here.”

Bryson has said for years that the electronic corridor that stretches between Corinth, MS and Huntsville, AL is an advantage that doesn’t get enough attention. The Silicon Valley might be located in California, but, in Danny Bryson’s words, we have “The Silicon Holler” right here on that 110 mile stretch down US Highway 72. With the historical strength of electronics and technology here, he just may be right.

Lieutenant Governor Reeves Praises Mississippi, Corinth & Alcorn County

Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves visited Corinth and Alcorn County on October 11. It was a pleasure for The Alliance to host him in our board room and give an update on recent progress and activities.

Corinth Coca-Cola Bottling Works Completes Third Expansion

Corinth Coca- Cola Bottling Works recently completed another expansion that added parts of central and northeast Arkansas and the Missouri boot- heel to their territory. This increases their footprint by almost 40%  and increases overall employment by almost 15% . Headquartered in Corinth, MS, they have facilities in Tupelo, MS, Jackson and Lexington, TN and now Searcy and Jonesboro, AR.

TVA Awards Grant to Corinth Pre-K & Kindergarten funding STEM Program

Pictured: MS House Representative Nick Bain, Corinth School District Superintendent Dr. Lee Childress, TVA Government Relations Manager Amy Tate, MS State Senator Rita Parks. The grant will provide Corinth Elementary Pre- K and Kindergarten students with STEM kits and 3D pens.

Leadership Alcorn & Junior Leadership Alcorn to kickoff in January

The four session leadership training class will be held from January to May and feature speakers from business and leadership roles throughout the community.

Welcome New Alliance Members!

Want to join? Email us for info!

Download the November 2017 Newsletter (PDF)