hed: Corinth lands Tecumseh plant

By Jane Clark Summers

Daily Journal Corinth Bureau

CORINTH - Tecumseh Products Co. is investing up to $40 million in a manufacturing plant already being built in Corinth that company officials say will employ 300 workers initially and 500 employees in three years.

Todd W. Herrick, president and chief executive officer of the compressor manufacturer, was joined by Gov. Kirk Fordice and other state and local officials in announcing the project Monday in Corinth.

Herrick said several sites were considered in the United States and abroad. The pro-business environment in Mississippi and Alcorn County persuaded the company to select Corinth for its newest compressor manufacturing plant, he said.

Tecumseh chose Mississippi for the plant "because the state wanted our business. A business wants to be wanted," said Herrick, grandson of the founder of the Tecumseh, Mich.-based company.

He praised Mississippi's commitment to training programs and delivering on promises.

"We are not stealing jobs from the United States," Herrick said. "We are taking these jobs from Singapore."

Tecumseh uses a supplier in Singapore but that parts take 16 weeks for delivery, he said. The Corinth plant should give the company a two-week lead time on delivery, he said.

The Corinth plant will be located between two other Tecumseh operations, one in Tupelo that employs between 1,200 and 1,400 workers and another in Paris, Tenn., where 700 workers are employed, Herrick said.

Tecumseh manufactures hermetic compressors for air conditioning and refrigeration products, gasoline engines and power-train products for lawn and garden applications and pumps. The Corinth plant will manufacture compressors for air conditioners, refrigerators, freezers and vending machines.

Construction of the 200,000-square-foot plant already is under way at the South Corinth Industrial Park on South Harper Road. Construction is expected to be completed in seven months and the plant is to begin operation in the spring, Herrick said.

Elbert Holland, who has been named plant manager, said he expects to hire a director of personnel in the next few days. The hourly wage is expected to average $9 per hour, officials said.

The announcement

"A lot of people spent a lot of time making this day possible," Kenneth Williams, president of the Alliance Board of Directors, said at the announcement ceremony on the steps of the Alcorn County Courthouse.

Fordice, Lt. Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, U.S. Rep. Roger Wicker, Mississippi House Speaker Tim Ford and state legislators Billy McCoy, Travis Little, Harvey Moss and Ricky Cummings joined members of the Corinth Board of Mayor and Aldermen and the Alcorn County Board of Supervisors and Tecumseh Vice President in the ceremony.

Alliance Executive Director Charles Gulotta, who worked with federal, state and local officials to recruit Tecumseh, said the Alliance donated the site at the 35-acre industrial park site.

The company received other incentives to locate in Mississippi, including a state financing package and special electrical rates from the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Tecumseh may lease space from the Northeast Mississippi Business Incubator as a temporary training site for new employees, Gulotta said.

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