One of the oldest companies in Tupelo is expanding and adding employees.
Philips Lighting announced a $2 million project today that will bring at least 50 jobs to the facility. The project also helps retain the 350 now employed there.
Philips is creating a major manufacturing hub at its 550,000-square foot Tupelo facility, which opened in 1947 as Day-Brite.
According to Philips, the project includes incorporating LED technology made at the company’s San Jose, Calif., facility into the Tupelo facility’s production line-up, 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.”
Philips is transferring 25 product lines to Tupelo, officials said. They’ll be sold in North America.
Equipment for the project is arriving, and initial production should begin in late October, officials said.
“As the world’s largest lighting company, Philips is leading the LED revolution, enabling our customers to embrace more efficient lighting solutions – solutions that are made right here in Tupelo,” said Iain Logan, head of operations for Philips Lighting Americas. “Our expansion at this facility reinforces our commitment to this community, which helps us to turn innovations into world-class products that are good for the local economy and the environment. It is a great example of a public-private partnership that works.”
Logan said Philips has been looking at the project for more than a year.
“Every year, Philips analyzes its industrial footprint in North America , and every year we refresh our plan,” Logan said. “I can say we made a plan three years ago, and in the plan we had a vision for which plants would become large lighting facilities and Tupelo was decided it would become one of them. The people here are great, the willingness to work is fantastic and the leadership of the local team is second to none.”
Logan said hiring would be done in steps – five at a time – so that they can be properly trained
“We want to go beyond the 50, let’s be very clear,” he said. “This is a very big facility. We have a lot of space and we want to fill it.”
David Rumbarger, president and CEO of the Community Development Foundation in Tupelo, said the plant was one of a few other finalists for the project.
“That’s when the state and the local community stepped in and said, ‘we want you here,” and put their money on the table,” he said.
The Mississippi Development Authority provided a $1 million grant for building modifications. While no local money was provided in grant form, Philips will get a 10-year tax exemption (non-school portion) on the equipment it is bringing in for the project.