WATER VALLEY – Allied Industries moved their plant from New Jersey to Yalobusha County because local officials delivered on their promises.
“That’s why we are here,” said Vernon Pansmith, one of the owners of the industrial filter manufacturing company, speaking at a welcome and ribbon cutting ceremony Monday at the Allied Industries facility at 607 Highway 32 East.
“These two guys really made it happen,” he added, pointing to Water Valley Mayor Larry Hart and Bob Tyler, Yalobusha County Economic Development and Tourism Director.
“I think this is a testament for a small business and a local government coming together and making it happen,” Pansmith said. “That first meeting they delivered on everything they said they would do and that’s the reason we are here.”
The company has been in business for 25 years and has grown every year, he explained. “This is the fourth plant we have been in. We have always outgrown our previous plants.”
Pansmith also gave a run-down on the company’s product line. “Probably our biggest product is natural gas filters. If you have ever seen a truck or a bus that says ‘clean natural gas,’ it’s probably our filter.”
Because the number of vehicles switching from diesel to natural gas is increasing, Pansmith sees the market growing. “We see a huge potential in the coming years,” he noted. “It’s great to be here because now we can expand. We’ve got the land to grow.”
Among their other products are fuel filters used on the Black Hawk helicopter and jet powered aircraft along with filters for industrial processes.
Co-owner Ed Thomas said that this was his first experience in the south and he has enjoyed each of his visits. “The people are great. The labor force is great. We couldn’t be happier to be down here…a world apart from New Jersey.”
During his welcome, Mayor Hart explained how the plant came to be. “Simply put…word of mouth.”
“I would love to tell you that I went on a mission with Coach Tyler and we got airplane tickets and went somewhere…didn’t happen that way,” said Mayor Hart, giving credit to Plant Manager Mark Gooch, who cultivated a professional relationship with the owners.
The mayor said Water Vallian Gooch met Pansmith and Thomas while visiting an industry in Holly Springs. Gooch suggested they consider Water Valley as a location for their plant.
The mayor also recognized the Mississippi Development Authority who provided some funds to acquire the plant. “There is also Appalachian Regional Commission money in this project.”
Mayor Hart noted that the usual grant process takes “a couple of years.” But, with the help of former Oxford Mayor Richard Howorth, a member of the TVA board of directors, the process was expedited. “We are the talk of the seven states (of the TVA region) how we got this project done as fast as we got it done.”
“It takes a lot or work to make it happen,” said Mayor Hart.