High-Tech Manufacturing Near Tupelo, MS
PHOTO CREDIT: Brian McCord
This may be best known as the birthplace of rock-and-roll legend Elvis Presley, but Tupelo and Lee County are earning a reputation as places to establish high-tech R&D companies and build world-class manufacturing facilities.
Case in point: In 2005, General Atomics, an advanced technology company that develops defense and energy applications, constructed a 25,000-square-foot facility to assemble Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch Systems, which will be used on next-generation aircraft carriers. In the years since, the Shannon facility has expanded several times, and the company is currently in the process of completing yet another addition, one which will bring the size of the facility to 140,000 square feet and provide jobs to 25 additional workers.
The new building will feature additional test rooms and warehouse space, new areas for printed circuit board assembly and cable manufacturing, and space for large-scale machining.
Another area company that performs mission-critical defense work for the military is Circadence, which has its advanced R&D facility in Tupelo, where it employs 17 workers, primarily software engineers and architects.
Circadence is a WAN optimization company, which means it develops products designed to extend the capabilities of existing data networks, improve transport speed and ensure uptime, all vital to a world that increasingly depends on network communication, says Brad Prewitt, vice president of government relations and Mississippi operations.
For Circadence, location is everything, Prewitt says.
“Tupelo is roughly equidistant from Ole Miss in Oxford and Mississippi State in Starkville," he says, noting how those two educational communities function as a source of workers, with employees attracted by Tupelo’s low cost of living and the stimulating work environment at Circadence.
“We create intellectual property, so we don’t just need workers, we need thinkers. We are solving problems every day,” he says. “At the same time, we benefit from having two SEC schools within an hour’s drive, both of which provide great opportunities for education and entertainment.”
Hyperion Technology Group
Hyperion, a four-year-old custom-engineering company that has 29 full- and part-time employees, chose to set up shop in Tupelo for many of the same reasons.
“We looked at a lot of different cities, but we needed a facility that had Class A office space, laboratory space, and machine shop space,” says Hyperion President Geoff Carter. “And we wanted to start up in an incubator-type environment. Tupelo has the Renasant Center for IDEAS and had all those spaces available."
Beyond that, Carter says, “Tupelo has a very strong industrial base, and almost everything we do results in building something. Whatever we need done, whether in a machine shop or plastic shop or having something painted or powder-coated, all those suppliers are right here.”
Carter wholeheartedly agrees with Prewitt that being in Tupelo makes it easier to find employees.
“Tupelo has many of the same things that a big city has to offer, but there are no traffic jams, there’s a low crime rate and it’s a great place to raise kids. You get the best of both worlds living and working here. It makes it easy to attract the high level of talent it takes to do the things we do," Carter says.
Check out more on the business climate in Tupelo, MS.