All three counties have significant agricultural companies that provide many jobs. In Pike County, larger food companies include Southern Classic Food Group and Golden Boy Foods. A new player in this category, set to open early next year, is Conecuh Ridge Distillery. Major wood and paper products companies in Pike County include Rex Lumber and HB&G Building Products.
Barbour County has several industries in these categories. Tyson Foods is the largest manufacturer, followed by WestRock/Mead Westvaco, Southeast Forest Products, M.C. Dixon Lumber, Alabama Inter-Forest and Sunbelt Manufacturing. At least three of these companies have announced expansions.
Bullock County has several strong companies in these categories, including Wayne Farms, Bonnie Plants and To Your Health Sprouted Flour. Bonnie Plants, the nation’s largest grower of vegetable and herb plants for home gardens, announced a multi-million expansion and upgrade, adding 60 jobs; and Wayne Farms, one of the largest employers in the county, recently purchased two properties adjacent to its plant for an expansion.
This sector, always strong in this area, has had a huge boost in recent years. In Pike County, Lockheed Martin in Troy recently opened its new 225,000-square-foot missile facility, and the company has accelerated production of strike systems, investing $117.9 million and adding 98 jobs.
In May 2022, President Joe Biden visited the Pike County Operations in Troy to thank them for their key role in helping the U.S. help Ukraine. The company makes, assembles and stores Javelin missiles and three others.
Pike County also is home to Sikorsky Helicopters.
Troy University has a statewide economic impact of more than $1.3 billion and is the largest non-manufacturing employer in Pike County. The university provides extensive assistance to cities and towns in the area, studying and analyzing community development and economic issues and providing training and counseling for small businesses. The university also partners with the city of Troy and Pike County on economic development initiatives to attract businesses to the area. Troy also has the IDEA Bank downtown, a hub for entrepreneurship and small business development for Troy students and the surrounding community. In 2021, Troy was recognized as a national model for providing quality, affordable education in a report from the Partners for College Affordability and Public Trust.
In Barbour County, Wallace Community College adds at least $183.6 million to the economy of southeast Alabama. The Sparks campus is very active in workforce development through robust partnerships with area employers, such as the Humminbird Division of Johnson Outdoors, Keystone Foods, Dixon Lumber, Medical Center Barbour and Crowne Health.
Wallace is known for its nursing and allied health programs, and the Sparks campus houses additional career technical programs such as applied engineering, air conditioning and refrigeration, welding, technology, masonry, criminal justice, child development, computer information science and business technologies.
Each county has a hospital, some with rehabilitation and nursing facilities — Troy Regional Medical Center in Pike County, Medical Center Barbour in Eufaula and Bullock County Hospital in Union Springs. All are among the largest employers.
The Bullock County Healthcare Authority was recently awarded a USDA grant toward the purchase of a mobile health care unit to help bring care to underserved parts of the county.
Marine Electronics/Sports Fishing Products
Barbour County is the epicenter of the sports fishing business, home to Lake Eufaula, part of the Alabama Bass Trail and a major tournament location. Many people work in this sector, including Southern Plastics in Eufaula, which makes fishing lures, and Humminbird-Johnson Outdoors, which makes marine electronics.
In fact, Johnson Marine Electronics announced a $7.5 million investment in building new production space, new production/support equipment and solar panels, adding 77 new jobs. And in 2020, the company announced a $3.8 million investment to expand warehouse space, loading docks, a test tank and more. It adds 26 new jobs.
All three counties have diverse industries that employ many. In Pike County those employers include firearms maker Kimber Manufacturing, which recently opened a production facility and corporate headquarters in Troy, a $38 million investment bringing more than 450 jobs.
In Barbour County, the metals sector is well represented, as well as automotive industry suppliers such as Hyundai Polytech, which recently announced an expansion. Southern Plastics also is a major employer. The county also is home to Boyd Brothers Trucking and Benny Whitehead Trucking.
Bullock County has automotive suppliers, chemical manufacturing and metals companies. It also is home to the Bullock County Correctional Facility.
August 2022: The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs announces Operation Yellowhammer Connect, a $100 million project to install middle mile fiber from Dothan to Eufaula and Midway.
July 2022: Lockheed Martin in Pike County opens its new 225,000-square-foot missile facility, a $117.9 million investment to help the company accelerate production of strike systems.
July 2022: The Pike County Commission begins work on a judicial complex to house the courthouse, a new jail and emergency center, slated to be ready by 2023. The former courthouse is being renovated for county offices.
July 2022: Wayne Farms, the largest employer in Bullock County, has purchased two adjacent properties for an automation project to be started in 2023.
July 2022: The Pike County Economic Development Corp. is working with a marketing firm to rebrand and redesign its website.
June 2022: Conecuh Ridge Distillery plans to open in spring 2023 in Troy. The New York company makes Clyde May’s Alabama-style whiskey and other alcoholic beverages.
June 2022: Firearms maker Kimber Mfg. Inc. opens its production facility and corporate headquarters in Troy — a $38 million investment with some 450 jobs.
June 2022: Hyundai Polytech America announces a $2.85 million expansion to its injection molded product production line, adding 20 jobs.
June 2022: The Bullock County Healthcare Authority is awarded a USDA grant toward the purchase of a mobile health care unit. The total of nearly $400,000 also includes grants from the Bullock County Healthcare Authority and Bullock County Hospital.
June 2022: Lakepoint State Park in Eufaula opens a new off-road vehicle course on land that used to be the park’s golf course.
May 2022: President Joe Biden visits Lockheed Martin’s Pike County Operations in Troy to thank workers for their key role in helping the U.S. help Ukraine. The facility makes, assembles and stores the Javelin and three other missiles.
March 2022: Ace Packaging in Union Springs, which specializes in returnable packaging for the automotive industry, has purchased an additional 80,000-square-foot facility for future expansion.
April 2022: M.C. Dixon Lumber Co. Inc. announces a $5.5 million investment in new kiln technology to modernize and upgrade equipment.
March 2022: Southeast Forest Products announces a $20 million investment in updated sawmill and planer mill equipment, adding 20 jobs.
February 2022: Bonnie Plants, the nation’s largest grower of vegetable and herb plants for home gardens, unveils a multi-million expansion and upgrade of the company’s greenhouse facilities in Union Springs in Bullock County, adding 60 jobs.
January 2022: C Spire acquires Troy Cablevision Inc., including Union Springs Telephone Co. Inc., as part of its efforts to expand fiber and broadband access across Alabama, especially in the Wiregrass region.
August 2021: Johnson Marine Electronics Outdoors Inc. announces a $7.5 million investment in the construction of new production space, installation of production and support equipment and installation of photo voltaic panels for on-site renewable power generation. This investment also creates 77 new jobs.
June 2021: Alliance Steel Building Systems, based in Oklahoma City, announces it will expand into Eufaula with a new office and at least nine employees.
March 2021: The Franklin Field Airport in Bullock County is investing $8 million in grant and matching funds to upgrade and expand facilities.
October 2020: Southeast Forest Products announces a $7 million investment in updated dry kiln technology and equipment, adding five new jobs.
August 2020: Johnson Marine Electronics Outdoors Inc. announces a $3.8 million investment to add warehouse and loading dock space, build a test tank, install printed circuit board assembly lines and improve access roads. It expects 26 new jobs.
This article appeared in the September 2022 issue of Business Alabama.