October 19, 2014  

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Southern Miss, GE Aviation Officials Join for Composites Opening

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Southern Miss President Rodney Bennett greets GE Aviation CEO David Joyce during the grand opening of the company's facility in Ellisville Tuesday. (University Communications photo by David Tisdale)
Southern Miss President Rodney Bennett greets GE Aviation CEO David Joyce during the grand opening of the company's facility in Ellisville Tuesday. (University Communications photo by David Tisdale)

University of Southern Mississippi President Rodney Bennett joined representatives of GE Aviation, along with local, state and federal officials Tuesday for the grand opening of the company’s new 344,000-square-foot composites manufacturing facility in Ellisville.

The plant, known as GE Ellisville Composites, is a $56 million company investment that will create 250 jobs. Previously, the Southern Miss School of Polymers and High Performance Materials collaborated with GE Aviation on technology and advanced material development for the company’s Batesville Composites Operation in Batesville, Miss.

Similar initiatives involving Southern Miss researchers will be targeted for the new operation in Ellisville, which was created to meet an increase in global demand for the company’s products.

“Our goal at Southern Miss is to continue to be an active partner in cutting edge technology development and innovation, and how those are integrated into economic development for the betterment of South Mississippi and our region,” Bennett said.

Teams are currently working in polymer science labs at Southern Miss creating composite materials such as fan blades for the global marketplace. These advanced materials are lightweight and durable which translates to fuel savings, lower energy costs and reduced maintenance for sophisticated jet engines.

“Today is an exciting day for Ellisville, Jones County and the entire state, as GE Aviation opens the doors to its second Mississippi facility,” said Gov. Phil Bryant. “I appreciate the contributions this exemplary corporate citizen has made to our state, and I thank GE Aviation officials for continuing to invest in Mississippi.”

Both Bryant and David Joyce, president and chief executive officer of GE Aviation, praised the work of Southern Miss researchers and other Mississippi partners for their contributions to the company’s success in the state.

“GE Aviation’s growing partnership with the state of Mississippi is creating long-term economic growth,” said David Joyce, president and chief executive officer of GE Aviation.  “We couldn’t be happier with our Batesville operation, and we look forward to the growth of our new Ellisville operation.”

For more information about the Southern Miss School of Polymers and High Performance Materials, including degree programs and research activities, online visit www.usm.edu/polymer.