WEST POINT, Miss. (WTVA) — Contractors, subcontractors and people in businesses of all kinds were on hand at the Civic in West Point Thursday for an event sponsored by the Mississippi Department of Transportation.
It was a chance for the larger contractors like Phillips Contracting out of Columbus to rub elbows and exchange business cards with smaller ones.
"A lot of great visits this morning with people. We found a lot of people that we see that we can put to work through our company," said Benny Weeks of Phillips Contracting.
Of course, paramount on everyone's mind is the Yokohama Tire plant in West Point.
Phillips Contracting and everyone in this building would like a piece of that pie, they say.
But MDOT officials want to make sure that the little guys, the disadvantaged business enterprises known as DBEs, get their piece too.
There are other jobs besides Yokohama that are out there too, they say.
"We have contractors here that have ongoing jobs that are looking for subcontractors that are looking for DBEs to submit quotes and hopefully, if they are the successful bidder, get work," said MDOT representative Carolyn Bell.
Linda Malone is a landscape contractor that is looking to get her business in the door at Yokohama.
"They have 500 acres out there that is going to need bush hogging, clearing and maintaining. I'd like to be the person that does that," said Malone.
The Yokohama Tire plant is expected to begin construction within the next few weeks, and it's a cinch that many of the contractors and subcontractors present for this event will be on the job when that happens.
Contractors know that would mean both money and jobs.
"We'd be able to put a lot of different types of workers from laborers all the way up to skilled masons and carpenters," said Weeks.
"We're trying to get the contracts settled. Then you get the workers. But the workers will come from this area," replied Malone.
The groundbreaking ceremony for Yokohama Tires is Monday at 9:30 a.m.