OUR OPINION: Philips still committed after 67 years in Tupelo

Philips Lighting on South Green Street in Tupelo announced a new manufacturing expansion Thursday, a $2 million investment that would help maintain the 350-employee level and add 50 jobs.

Philips, still known as Day-Brite by many Northeast Mississippians, has been a mainstay of industrial employment in Tupelo and the region for 67 years. It came to Tupelo in 1947, in part attracted by an incentive raised from Tupelo’s private sector, including leadership from the late George A. McLean, owner and publisher of the Daily Journal.

The next year, 1948, the methods used to draw Philips to Tupelo were given formal structure in the Community Development Foundation.

Philips Lighting, leading global manufacturer of lighting solutions, describes its investment in Tupelo as part of “creating a major manufacturing hub for the company at its Tupelo facility. This includes incorporating LED technology made at the company’s San Jose, California, facility into the Tupelo facility’s production lineup, which includes state-of-the-art intelligent fixtures that automatically respond to their environment, adding to the technology’s already high level of energy efficiency.”

The Mississippi Development Authority provided assistance in support of the project for building modifications.

“MDA is committed to helping companies such as Philips Lighting as they pursue growth and investment opportunities in our state, and the addition of these 50 jobs at the company’s Tupelo facility will benefit the local community for years to come,” said MDA Executive Director Brent Christensen.

Philips Lighting is a global market leader and is under the umbrella of the giant multinational Philips, headquartered in the Netherlands. Philips Lighting employs approximately 47,000 people worldwide.

The state’s assistance in the new venture continues a long line of innovative partnerships involving Philips, Tupelo and CDF. Community leaders in 1947 had assistance bringing Day-Brite to Tupelo from the GM&O Railroad, whose successors still serve the community.

The Philips expansion follows earlier 2014 announcements of new and expanding industrial payrolls in Lee County/Tupelo, all in some way related to the closely knit public-private partnership work virtually perfected by the Community Development Foundation.