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SHANNON, MISS. (WCBI) – A Northeast Mississippi company is expanding once again. General Atomics came to the area less than ten years ago and as WCBI’s Allie Martin reports, the latest expansion represents an 11 million dollar investment , plus it will mean 80 new jobs in Lee County.

For the 8th time in as many years, General Atomics is expanding its operations in the Tupelo Lee Industrial Park.

The former Heritage Bag building is now part of General Atomic’s sprawling campus. The company is relocating product lines providing equipment and services to the defense, nuclear oil and energy storage industries.

Workers will be making circuit boards and capacitors which are part of high tech launching systems for aircraft carriers. G A will also make other products for its customers at its new site.

It means 80 new jobs and a high profile for Lee County and the state in the eyes of international business leaders.

“Businesses like General Atomics will let the world know we are prepared for advanced manufacturing. This is the type of image you want people to accept, that Mississippi’s new modern manufacturing is up and ready to go,” said Gov. Phil Bryant.

This latest expansion adds 87,000 square feet to General Atomics operations in Lee County. But company officials say with plans for this facility and projected growth, they will need more space very soon.

“Part of our expansion plan was to build capacitors in this building, that was our biggest product, it takes up a lot of volume. Also we have an oil and gas electrostatic separator that in the past we built one a year, now we are negotiating to build four this year and we are expecting to continue on that upward trajectory , we don’t have enough facility,” said Scott Forney, Vice President of General Atomics.

That means a 9th expansion is on the horizon for General Atomics. In the meantime, the new jobs will be high paying ones, with an average salary of around $50,000 . It means a $4,000,000, and a $12,000,000 economic impact for the region. Recruiters say it all comes down to the quality workforce in the area.

“This really has a lot to do with our workforce , these expansions come as the great contributions of our workforce to the area, this workforce is second to none in the state,” said Mallory Rutledge of the CDF.

Since 2005, General Atomics has invested more than $50,000,000 in its plant and equipment. The latest expansion will bring the total number of G A employees in Lee County to 150.

General Atomics is based in San Diego, California.

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