Southaven and DeSoto County are about to welcome more than 300 new jobs over the next three years, thanks to a major economic development announcement on Sept. 4.

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant was joined by Southaven, county and state leaders, along with Fresenius Medical Care North America CEO Rice Powell, to announce that Spectra Laboratories would construct a new laboratory.

The 200,000 square-foot facility will be constructed at 1280 Stateline Road East, east of Swinnea Road.

Powell, a Mississippi native, leads a leading provider of kidney care products and services for those with chronic medical conditions.

"We are the world's leading provider of dialysis products and services," Powell explained. "Every day, our employees around the world treat patients with the one goal of making life better for these patients."

Powell underlined what the company does when, during the groundbreaking program, he introduced Magnolia Heights School coach/instructor Scott Blaylock, who does home dialysis with Fresenius products.

Powell added Fresenius makes about 150 million artificial kidneys used in dialysis treatment.

Spectra Laboratories is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fresenius Medical Care and provides renal-specific laboratory services.

The Southaven facility, located in the Stateline Business Park, will conduct comprehensive testing, analysis and reporting to ensure the best possible outcomes for patients.

The company is getting state assistance from the Mississippi Development Authority with workforce training assistance and site improvements. Southaven will provide assistance for a new traffic signal near the site and DeSoto County will provide partial property exemptions to Spectra Laboratories.

"It shows we've got some momentum going," said Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite about the Spectra announcement coupled with recent news about another company, Medline Industries, also planning to relocate to Southaven. "Our location is good, our city is good and employees for these cities want to live in Southaven."

In his remarks, Bryant touched on the growth of the health care industry in Mississippi and on the advantages of locating in Southaven and DeSoto County.

"These 300 workers will enjoy the opportunity to not only work in the health care industry and we need more access to health care in Mississippi," Bryant said.

First District Rep. Trent Kelly said the Spectra Laboratories addition shows that Mississippi will continue to grow.

"We believe in companies coming here and we want your business here in Mississippi," Kelly said. "I promise you that DeSoto County, Southaven and the state of Mississippi will all do our best to make you proud that you came here."

DeSoto County Board of Supervisors President Lee Caldwell indicated that Spectra Laboratories will also be doing things to reach out to the community.

"They want to work with our young people," Caldwell said. "I'm all about the youth of our community and and we want to educate them so they can stay here. They're going to partner with us to do that."

Supervisor Mark Gardner wrapped up the program by again voicing the local commitment to Fresenius and Spectra Laboratories.

"We are here from the government and we are here to help you," Gardner said.

Bob Bakken is Managing Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune.

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