We are moving to Texas.
This is what I was thinking after many months of contemplating Progressive Pipeline’s, now Castle, next growth opportunities. We had begun to explore moving our corporate headquarters to the energy capital of the world, Houston, Texas. This was only fitting in the fact that we build energy infrastructure throughout the United States and what better place to have a corporate headquarters than Houston.
We had outgrown our current corporate office location south of town and needed office space to expand. Why should Castle stay in Mississippi? We need a location that will support our vision and growth by helping us retain and attract great employees including energy executive level employees.
The East Mississippi Business Development Corporation “EMBDC” team had received word that we were moving, and they immediately jumped into action.
Bill Hannah reached out to me, set up visits to explore vacant office space options, which eventually lead to our temporary office location in downtown Meridian and the purchase of the old Melton Hardware building, which will become our new corporate headquarters later this year.
We were not a member of EMBDC and did not see the value in becoming a member.
Annually, Castle generates only a small portion of our revenue in Mississippi, much less Lauderdale County, which led to my decision of not joining and appreciating EMBDC’s value. I now realize my view was short sighted. Castle is now an active member and will continue to support EMBDC.
I learned that EMBDC not only promotes opportunities to attract new businesses to East Mississippi, but they also work to enhance and support existing business. The sacrifice, effort, and commitment of the EMBDC board and team showed me they believed Castle to be an important part of the growth and future of our community.
They sacrificially leased the upstairs portion of their office to us, introduced us to local, state, and federal incentive opportunities and facilitated many meetings that eventually led to our investment in the future of our company and our Mississippi community.
The decision to stay home and build upon our existing foundation right here in Meridian was made because of the people in our state and community, led by the EMBDC. The support to our company and Castle family of employees has been nothing short of phenomenal and something to be proud of. We did not end our story with the decision to stay at home.
You will see Castle employees are more engaged in the community than ever before by actively participating in events and organizations that promote a better quality of life. We are no longer that little company on the south side of town that you might have heard of but know nothing about.
Who knew that we employee 120 full time employees with plans to expand to 160 or more and at times have up to 3,000 seasonal employees? Your EMBDC made it their business to better understand our needs and were willing to listen and help us find solutions to our growth opportunities.
You may be asking yourself, what is Castle doing to retain and attract energy executives to Meridian, Mississippi? Well, that is why the “Quality of Life” is so important to our community.
It is easy to say, I wish things were better or different in the city of Meridian and East Mississippi. But what are you doing about it? How can you, one individual, make a difference?
Maybe you do not own a business, but bet you are an employee of someone who does. Perhaps you own a small business where you are the only employee. Castle was once that same business. Maybe you live in the county, why should you care what happens in Meridian?
I too, live in the county and the reason I care about Meridian is because it is the city that I work, grocery shop, see my doctor, eat out with my friends and family, and just about anything else you can think of doing in town. If you are reading this, Meridian is probably the city everyone knows you by, regardless of the surrounding area you live.
The quality of life for everyone in East Mississippi depends on Meridian. I believe to have a better quality of life; we must have good paying jobs, a good education system, low crime, good health care, good housing options, good local government (city and county), good retail and entertainment options, and community involvement. I have found no better organization that touches and has the potential to impact everyone of these qualities than EMBDC.
It is never to early or late to get involved in your community. Regardless, of being a business owner or an employee of a business, I encourage you to get involved. Does your employer belong to the EMBDC?
The risk is too great to watch our hope for a better tomorrow leave our community only to return for an occasional visit. You control the future and destiny of our city and East Mississippi and only you have the answer to the question; are our best days ahead of us or behind us? The answer to that questions for me is, our best days are ahead of us and that is why Castle has chosen to stay home.
We not only decided to invest in Castle by purchasing and renovating the Melton Hardware building, we are also making it our world headquarters to support our vision. We are a catalyst that is encouraging continued investment into our historic downtown. We have chosen to take our future into our own hands.
Thank you EMBDC for supporting the future of Castle, Meridian, and East Mississippi.