Some of what I am discussing in this post may be old news to regular readers of this blog. When I read press releases, I do not always take them at face value. I oftentimes conduct my own research in order to process information for my own understanding. The announcement of the Investing Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) (http://ltr-latrobe-mfg.blogspot.com/2015/07/outreach-for-good-works.html) has piqued my interest in the broad manufacturing landscape of the Mid-South that is based on data, and not simply my observations and limited personal knowledge.

So imagine my surprise when I consulted the Memphis Business Journal’s Book of Lists for 2014-2015 for the largest manufacturing operations in the Mid-South. The Top Ten Manufacturing plants, ranked by the number of full time employees in the region, include: Ashley Furniture Industries, Tyson Foods, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi, Nucor Corp, Lennox International, Riceland Foods, UTC-Carrier, Cooper Tire & Rubber, Kellogg, and Tenneco. Who knew that Stuttgart is home to two of the largest manufacturing employers in all of the Mid-South? (To learn more, visit http://www.bizjournals.com/memphis/research/bol-marketing/).
The regional IMCP awardee is called The Made in the Mid-South Manufacturing Alliance (MMMA). The initiative “supports expansion of manufacturing in the Memphis Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), with a special focus on a strong and growing medical device cluster in three states – Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas.” In the announcement, I was surprised to read that Memphis is the home to 56 medical equipment and supply manufacturing companies. In my previous exposure to medical device manufacturers, the hotbed of activity was Warsaw, IN, known as the “Orthopedic Capital of the World,” boasting such companies as DePuy, Zimmer, and Biomet. In the Memphis area, I was familiar with companies like Smith & Nephew, Medtronic, and Wright Medical Technology. However, I was surprised to read in the Business Journal of regional companies like MicroPort Orthopedics, Medical Action Industries, Gyrus, NuVasive, Bioventus, Onyx, and Tegra Medical, in addition to a host biotechnology companies. To learn more about the MMMA, you can download and read the following: http://www.eda.gov/challenges/imcp/files/2nd-round/IMCP-2-Pager-Handout-Memphis.pdf
My own biases and limited knowledge lead me to believe that the primary industries and economies in the Mid-South were agricultural and distribution related. I grew up in this region, and until recently, never considered how the Mid-South has evolved as a realistic Land of Opportunity (nickname of Arkansas) for entrepreneurs and job seekers interested in manufacturing. For me, this research has been a personal teaching moment and reminder to never look at anything from your limited perspective. Are there other areas of economic diversity in the Mid-South that others should become aware? Feel free to comment or send me an email to latanyua.robinson@gmail.com. If you like this post and want to catch up on some of my previous discussions, please visit the full Purposed Work blogat http://ltr-latrobe-mfg.blogspot.com/.

Some of what I am discussing in this post may be old news to regular readers of this blog. When I read press releases, I do not always take them at face value. I oftentimes conduct my own research in order to process information for my own understanding. The announcement of the Investing Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) (http://ltr-latrobe-mfg.blogspot.com/2015/07/outreach-for-good-works.html) has piqued my interest in the broad manufacturing landscape of the Mid-South that is based on data, and not simply my observations and limited personal knowledge.

So imagine my surprise when I consulted the Memphis Business Journal’s Book of Lists for 2014-2015 for the largest manufacturing operations in the Mid-South. The Top Ten Manufacturing plants, ranked by the number of full time employees in the region, include: Ashley Furniture Industries, Tyson Foods, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi, Nucor Corp, Lennox International, Riceland Foods, UTC-Carrier, Cooper Tire & Rubber, Kellogg, and Tenneco. Who knew that Stuttgart is home to two of the largest manufacturing employers in all of the Mid-South? (To learn more, visit http://www.bizjournals.com/memphis/research/bol-marketing/).
The regional IMCP awardee is called The Made in the Mid-South Manufacturing Alliance (MMMA). The initiative “supports expansion of manufacturing in the Memphis Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), with a special focus on a strong and growing medical device cluster in three states – Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas.” In the announcement, I was surprised to read that Memphis is the home to 56 medical equipment and supply manufacturing companies. In my previous exposure to medical device manufacturers, the hotbed of activity was Warsaw, IN, known as the “Orthopedic Capital of the World,” boasting such companies as DePuy, Zimmer, and Biomet. In the Memphis area, I was familiar with companies like Smith & Nephew, Medtronic, and Wright Medical Technology. However, I was surprised to read in the Business Journal of regional companies like MicroPort Orthopedics, Medical Action Industries, Gyrus, NuVasive, Bioventus, Onyx, and Tegra Medical, in addition to a host biotechnology companies. To learn more about the MMMA, you can download and read the following: http://www.eda.gov/challenges/imcp/files/2nd-round/IMCP-2-Pager-Handout-Memphis.pdf
My own biases and limited knowledge lead me to believe that the primary industries and economies in the Mid-South were agricultural and distribution related. I grew up in this region, and until recently, never considered how the Mid-South has evolved as a realistic Land of Opportunity (nickname of Arkansas) for entrepreneurs and job seekers interested in manufacturing. For me, this research has been a personal teaching moment and reminder to never look at anything from your limited perspective. Are there other areas of economic diversity in the Mid-South that others should become aware? Feel free to comment or send me an email to latanyua.robinson@gmail.com. If you like this post and want to catch up on some of my previous discussions, please visit the full Purposed Work blogat http://ltr-latrobe-mfg.blogspot.com/.