Though the national economy still struggles to improve, Kemper County has had several
companies hire or expand their employee numbers. One company, Semisouth has expanded
operations into a second shift. The company contacted East Mississippi Community College
about students who were about to finish their degrees. Jim Huerkamp, Workforce Services
Technical Trainer for the college, was able to send several resumes to them and the company
interviewed and hired three of his former students.
One of the students Semisouth hired was Brian Wright. Brian had been laid off by Griffin
Armament (Navistar International’s partner for armor on military trucks) and had helped build
the armored vehicles being used in Iraq/Afghanistan. Brian took the Manufacturing Skills Basic
class provided through the Walmart Foundation Grant in February 2010.
Brian interviewed in mid-November and was hired the week of Thanksgiving and began
work the following Monday. Currently, Brian is assigned to second shift and helping with the
manufacture of silicon carbide semiconductor products. After completing the Manufacturing
Skills Basic class at EMCC, Brian took the Composite Manufacture and Avionics & Cabling class
and completed the M3 Level II certification. In addition he completed the online CAD-CAM
training that EMCC offered through e-Magnolia. Below is a letter he sent to Jim Huerkamp.
Just stopped in to say thank you. Really enjoy the work and the mission of Semisouth.
They are excellent, the work environment could not be any better. This job and you
were a blessing from God. My family and I thank you more than you could ever know.
Jim you are the best!
Brian has stopped by several times over the last two months and has plans to formalize his
education by working toward an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts.