| By Jason C. Mattox
Sardis and Panola Partnership officials are expected today to announce with representatives of Steelmatic Wire Inc. the location of a galvanized rod and wire manufacturing facility in the old Air Kontrol building in the Sardis Industrial Park. Modifications to the building began this week as a new tenant began bringing in its equipment, Sardis Mayor Alvis "Rusty" Dye said.
Panola Partnership Executive Director "Sonny" Simmons said that a key to the company’s decision to locate in the facility was a grant of up to $150,000 through the Mississippi Development Authority’s Rural Impact Authority. Grant funds will be used for infrastructure modifications necessary for Steelmatic.
Simmons praised Rural Impact Authority Director Johnny Thompson, who worked directly with the local officials.
"They really stepped up to the plate and helped us," Simmons said.
Steelmatic’s galvanized rods and wires are used in various custom applications including the manufacture of auto components, the Partnership director said.
"The contract should be signed by Friday (today)," Dye told The Panolian by phone from Florida.
Dye said the company is looking to employ a maximum of 15 skilled-labor employees at first, but will look to expand its work force in the future.
Steelmatic officials will be working the personnel of the WIN Job Center in Batesville to establish criteria for the employees needed by the company.
Northwest Community College will establish training for the company’s employees, Simmons said.
Tallahatchie Valley Electric Power Association assessed power service modifications necessary for the new manufacturing process, also according to Simmons.
"They’re going to start work on their upgrades immediately," he added.
"The building is bigger than they wanted," Mayor Dye said. "They were looking for 30,000 square feet and this building is 40,000 square feet.
"The extra space could mean bringing in a line to manufacture other items," Dye added.
The mayor said the new company hopes to be operating in early 2006.
Today’s announcement is especially good news for the City of Sardis.
"Having this company come in gets the city out from under the loan payment we have been responsible for since Air Kontrol closed," Dye said said.
"They (Steelmatic) will be responsible for the loan and building insurance, so this will be a massive help to the city’s budget."
(John Howell Sr. contributed to this story.)