OXFORD – Officials at the University of Mississippi with an academic connection to Toyota say the carmaker’s renewed plans to start production are wonderful news.
“This is going to be a fabulous thing for the people of northern Mississippi,” said Ryan Miller, program manager at Ole Miss’ Center for Manufacturing Excellence, of which Toyota is an advisory board member.
“Toyota is going to have a positive impact to provide our people with employment opportunities.”
The center, whose purpose is to educate students in several cross-disciplinary academic programs slanted toward lean manufacturing, will host its first class of freshmen this fall.
“This is going to be a wonderful opportunity for our students to see modern manufacturing in action,” Miller said. “It offers our students a perspective that they could not have had otherwise.”
Bill Gottshall is executive director of the Trent Lott Leadership Institute.
“Because Sen. Lott was so involved with this project, personally it was good to see this come to fruition,” he said. “It is a living example of where patience is a virtue. … I think we’ll be a better, more focused, more appreciative of this cooperation in joint endeavors than we would have been two years ago.”
Gottshall said he anticipates that the roller-coaster experience of Toyota’s on-again, off-again route to opening its Blue Springs plant will become a case study in leadership qualities.
“I think the top of the list is trust, because I think the governor trusted his friends at Toyota, and Toyota trusted the governor,” he said. “Trust prevailed, patience prevailed, and at the end of the day, commitment prevailed.”
Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal