For the past 30 years, Caterpillar has become a global company thanks to a critical role its Corinth manufacturing plant has played.
Starting with 11 employees, the company now employs some 900 here, plus another 300 in its Prentiss County location and satellite distribution facilities in the area.
On Thursday, Caterpillar said it was growing again, consolidating its warehousing and logistics operations under one roof in a 540,000-square- foot facility to be finished by the middle of next year.
With it comes an anticipated 35 more jobs in the next three years. Eighty employees scattered through the company's existing warehouses will be consolidated into the new facility, to be called the Mississippi Logistics Service Center.
The new facility will warehouse engine parts and ship individual and bundled parts to Caterpillar's Corinth and Booneville main plants.
The "re-manufacturing plants" as the company calls them, disassemble engines nearing the end of their life cycle, clean them and refurbish them.
"The products are as good as new and as strong as ever," said Brent McCarty, a representative of the company's re-manufacturing operations.
The expansion represents a $34.5 million capital investment. Jumper Realty is investing $27 million in the facility, which Caterpillar will lease from Jumper. Caterpillar is investing $7.5 million in new equipment.
The company has worked on the project for some two years, and Gary Chandler, executive director of The Alliance, the economic development group for Corinth and Alcorn County, said Caterpillar "knows Mississippi works."
"They're the largest manufacturing employer in the county," he said. "Caterpillar's announcement is a pivotal event for Corinth and Alcorn County. ... they not only provide good jobs for many in our region, their employees are involved in countless good work efforts in our communities. This project truly sets the stage for Caterpillar to thrive and grow in Corinth and Alcorn County for years to come."
Gov.Phil Bryant joined in the celebration.
"Today is a great day for Caterpillar, the City of Corinth and Alcorn County and the state of Mississippi," he said. "I thank both Caterpillar and Jumper Realty for working together to make this new operation possible. This facility will have a positive economic impact both locally and statewide, and I appreciate Caterpillar's ongoing investment in our state and in our workforce."
Caterpillar employs another 200 in its Oxford and Southaven operations.
Bryant also said the jobs were "no doubt green jobs ... this re-manufacturing is such a great opportunity, otherwise these parts would have ended up in some landfill somewhere."
Nicki Rambeau, Caterpillar's logistics center manager, said having everything under one roof will be vastly more efficient.
Last year, the logistics operations unloaded 26,000 truckloads of parts and loaded another 37,000 trucks.
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