OUR OPINION: Another jobs celebration marked on Highway 45

Mississippi, Lee County and Community Development Foundation officials welcomed more new jobs to the U.S. Highway 45 corridor south of Tupelo on Wednesday afternoon with a formal groundbreaking and cornerstone unveiling for Grammer Inc., a German investor-owned firm bringing 650 new jobs to a spec building built by CDF.

Grammer, headquartered in Bavaria, will manufacture seating, dash and console components for a wide range of commercial automotive and equipment makers.

The new, unfinished building on the east side of the highway, in a significant enhancement of the overall investment, will become the North American administrative and executive headquarters for the firm which has plants in Europe, North America, Asia and South America.

It has more than 30 production and distribution sites in 18 countries.

A sizable crowd of political officials, Gov. Phil Bryant, other industrialists from the area, Lee County officials and members of CDF filled a small heated space made festive with flags of the U.S., Germany, Bavaria and Mississippi, plus company product photographs. Most attendees wore overcoats in the ice cold building shell which could be operating as a manufacturing center by late 2014.

Earlier this week, General Atomics, headquartered in San Diego, announced that it would add 80 jobs at its facility across the highway from Grammer, and expand production.

CDF officials said the organization had worked on Grammer’s recruitment and marketing of the region for 18 months.

Grammer will invest $30 million in a five-year phase in, with first-phase employment reaching 350, and 650 by the time full investment and relocation of executive offices is complete.

The firm has operated profitably in the U.S. for about 35 years, and the starting wage is about $12.50 per hour. Corporate news releases have noted surging North American business in recent years.

Tupelo-Lee Industrial Park South has been a mainstay property of the Community Development Foundation for more than 40 years. While its industrial/manufacturing occupants have varied through the years it has maintained significant momentum with some of its enduring industries and newer investments like General Atomics and Grammer.

Every new investment brings with it more advanced technology than anything used by the original wave of investors more than 40 years ago.

Bringing Grammer to Lee County demonstrates the necessity of dogged perseverance in pursuit of prosperity.