Manufacture Marengo holds inaugural meeting

Published 2:23 pm Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A new program has started in Marengo County that will help manufacturing businesses find information and resources.

Manufacture Marengo is an effort of the Marengo County Economic Development Authority that will address the needs of manufacturing companies in or directly associated with Marengo County.

The first meeting of Manufacture Marengo was held Tuesday in Demopolis, and MCEDA welcomed representatives from eight local industries. Those in attendance were Carl Sudduth from Prystup Packing, Brooks Rankin from SE Cheese, Mark Newburn from the Greene County Steam Plant, Roger Willis from Rock Tenn, Hugh Overmyer from Linden Lumber, Braxton Spahos from Foster Farms, Gerardo Valdivia from Cemex and John Wallace from Wallace Wood.

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MCEDA Executive Director Brenda Tuck said Manufacture Marengo was developed to help cater to existing industries in Marengo County.

“The one thing at the top of our list at the EDA is to work with the existing industries we have,” Tuck said. “There are incentives for expansions, expenses, acquisitions and mergers that these industries could qualify for that some of them didn’t already know about, so our hope is that Manufacture Marengo can help get that information and more to them. We want to make sure we’re meeting their needs.”

Tuck added that the monthly meetings will always be concise because she realizes everyone’s time is valuable. The meetings will be held the third Tuesday each month, alternating between locations in Demopolis and Linden. The rest of the 2014 meetings are scheduled for Oct. 21 and Nov. 18. There won’t be a meeting in December.

“We only want to meet when we need to,” Tuck said. “We aren’t going to meet just to meet. This program is very specific for manufacturers, and we want to help them sustain their business and grow.”

In addition to MCEDA facilitating the meetings, local officials are also invited. During Tuesday’s meeting, several city and county officials were present including Mayor Mike Grayson, city of Demopolis; Harris Nelson, Demopolis City Council; Cleveland Cole, Demopolis City Council; Kathryn Friday, Marengo EDA Board Chairman; Diane Brooker, Chairman of the Demopolis Industrial Development Board; Kevin McKinney, Marengo EDA Board; Vonda Wilson, city clerk for city of Linden, Mike Marshall, administrator of Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital; Tuck; and Joanna Hinson, project/office manager of Marengo EDA.

Manufacture Marengo also welcomed two guest speakers during the inaugural meeting, and Tuck said there will often be speakers at the meetings to give manufacturers more information. Ashley Moon and Kelly Graham from the Alabama Department of Revenue spoke Tuesday about different incentives and how industries can take advantage of them.

Tuck added that another benefit of bringing manufacturing companies together is that they can work together and give each other tips.

“When business leaders meet and talk about some of the problems they face, there are a lot of instances where one company has had a similar problem and can let them know how they fixed it,” Tuck said. “We’re still finding out different ways we can help these industries reach their goals.”