By David Howell
STARKVILLE – Yalobusha’s largest employer received the North Mississippi Industrial Development Association’s (NMIDA) 2007 Industry Of The Year Thursday, Nov. 15.
BorgWarner was selected from nominations in the 33 counties in northeast Mississippi that compose NMIDA’s geographical area. The distinction was based on the company’s role and support of the community.
Plant manager Bill Liacone, accompanied by John Rowell, Gay Bowen and Jason Adams traveled to Starkville to receive the award at a NMIDA meeting. Water Valley Mayor Bill Norris and newly appointed Yalobusha Economic Development District President Bob Tyler were also on hand for the presentation.
“BorgWarner beat out a lot of nominees for this award,” Tyler said, adding that there are hundreds of industries included in the NMIDA region.
“I know I speak for other members of the county’s development district, supervisors and all the people in Water Valley when I congratulate BorgWarner,” Tyler reported. “The company is vital to our community.”
BorgWarner was also presented with a proclamation by Mississippi House Speaker William “Billy” McCoy and Representative Thomas Reynolds commending the company for the award.
“BorgWarner is an indispensable part of Water Valley and surrounding counties,” Representative Reynolds said.
“It is only appropriate that they would be recognized for all they do.”
Reynolds added that he would like to see BorgWarner in the area for many more years.
“They deserve the united support of our entire community,” Reynolds said.
BorgWarner employees 533 people from Yalobusha and eight neighboring counties.
Liacone was quick to point to the dedicated team at BorgWarner when asked of the accomplishment.
“It is not just the plant, it is the people in the plant,” Liacone said.
“I am very proud of the people in this facility,” Liacone said. “They continue to step up and play a big role in the community.”
BorgWarner’s community service projects ranged from company and employee participation in the 2006 Yalobusha Relay For Life totalling nearly $25,000 in contributions to three $5,000 donations to area organizations including Compassion Ministries, Yalobusha Civil Defense and Mississippi Red Cross. BorgWarner also contributed to the Magnolia Youth League, Water Valley High School’s yearbook and the Watermelon Carnival.
Two additional noteworthy community service projects sponsored by the company was participation in the Christmas Angel Tree which provided gifts for Compassion Ministries to distribute and participation in the “Because We Care” project in which 39 supply boxes were shipped soldiers overseas.
The company began production in in Water Valley 1972 as Holley Carburetor. In 1993, BorgWarner became a separate company. The plant manufactures transmission modules, transmission solenoids, air suspension solenoids, power steer solenoids and air and engine induction systems.