January 24, 2008
Thomas & Betts hiringBy SUE WATSON
The economy of Marshall County and Town of Byhalia is getting a shot in the arm soon.
The good news is that Thomas & Betts is expanding its capacity and will hire about 130 new employees to work at the distribution center in Byhalia, according to Tricia Bergeron, vice president of corporate communications with the Memphis corporate offices.
A global manufacturer of electrical products, Thomas & Betts distributes products all over the continental United States from its distribution center in Byhalia.
The one million square-foot facility in Byhalia contains highly automated equipment that enables the company to receive 50 truck loads of manufactured product a day and ship 50 truck loads out each day.
State-of-the-art computers, conveyer belts and electronic scanners help keep the warehouse humming in a clean and highly ordered work environment.
Bergeron said Thomas & Betts ships about 60,000 packages a day from the Byhalia warehouse.
Currently, 380 people are employed at the warehouse in Byhalia and the corporation is looking to hire 130 more employees in the next three months to work there, Bergeron said.
The increase at Thomas & Betts is the result of the acquisition in November of Lamson & Sessions, also a large manufacturer of electrical products, Bergeron said.
Thomas & Betts is consolidating all warehousing and shipping of its products from three distribution centers operated by Lamson & Sessions under one roof in Byhalia, she said. Three warehouses - in California, South Carolina and Texas - will be closed and all electrical products will be shipped to Byhalia where they will be packaged for distribution to customers.
Bergeron said Thomas & Betts manufactures things like electrical outlets, cable ties and landscape lighting.
“If you think about an electrician’s truck, it is filled with things made by Thomas & Betts,” she said.
Thomas & Betts is investing over $1 million in new equipment and in upgrading of equipment for this expansion.
But more importantly, there will be new jobs available locally.
Byhalia Mayor Scooter Dempsey said the decision of Thomas & Betts is a big thing for the town and county.
“The economic development outlook was looking pretty bleak for 2008,” he said. “This will mean a substantial economic boost for the area.”
Dempsey said the state has promised if another company came on board (expanded) there would be money for improving and extending Stonewall Road for truck traffic.
In 2006, Hunter Fan added 125 more truck loads per day; and last year Cargill brought 125 truck loads a day, he said.
“This expansion will add an additional 100 trucks a day,” Dempsey said. “Over the last 24 months, Byhalia truck traffic has increased by 300 to 400 truck loads a day on top of what we already had.
“Our goal is to expand Stonewall Road back around to Highway 178 to provide two exits for Thomas & Betts. We will also ask for a new traffic signal at the intersection of Highway 309 and Stonewall Road.”
Dempsey said Thomas & Betts has become a good neighbor and really showed it in the aftermath of Katrina.
Bill Renick, executive director at Marshall County Industrial Development Authority, said the decision of Thomas & Betts to consolidate its warehousing and distribution business at Byhalia is a “testament to the people of Byhalia and Marshall County.”
“They have a lot of confidence in our workforce,” he said. “And they are paying taxes.”
The expansion at Thomas & Betts means officials now have enough business in hand to notch its strategic plan for transportation ahead, he said.
“The widening of Stonewall Road into a three-lane and extension to Highway 178 will give some (traffic) relief to the Town of Byhalia. This should bring relief for warehousing and the town.”
With the widening of Stonewall Road a traffic corridor will be established for the warehousing and distribution centers not only at Thomas & Betts, but also for Hunter Fan, Cargill and Wesco, Renick said.
The extension of Stonewall fits into an overall strategic plan to ask for a railroad overpass at Byhalia, he said.
Meanwhile, Thomas & Betts is ready to make the transition immediately, Bergeron said.
“The most important thing is we are hiring and looking for people with warehouse experience and for forklift operators,” Bergeron said.
Anyone who is hired will be given additional training on-site at the center in Byhalia, she said.
Thomas & Betts is currently hiring second and third shifts warehouse associates at the Central Distribution Center in Byhalia, located at 442 East Stonewall Road.
Bergeron said candidates for these positions will qualify for consideration for employment if they have a minimum of two years in distribution/manufacturing experience.
Anyone interested in placing an application may apply in person on Tuesdays and Wednesdays between the hours of 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., she said. Or, the applicant may fax a copy of their resume to: Thomas & Betts, Attention: Recruiter, 442 E. Stonewall Road, Byhalia, MS 38611, Fax: 901-435-7541.
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