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‘The missing link’

The city of Troy will welcome a new industry today that will bring at least 300 jobs to the community.

The company’s name and location cannot be released until Gov. Bob Riley makes a formal announcement, which he will do at 10:30 a.m. today at Southside Baptist Church. But, the corporation is a computer-based industry that will bring job opportunities Troy has never seen, said Marsha Gaylard, president of the Pike County Economic Development Corporation.

“We have some wonderful manufacturing companies in Troy and Pike County, but this is a very high-tech IT company,” Gaylard said. “We don’t have that in Troy.”

Before next year’s end, at least 100 people with IT-related skill sets will have these jobs in Pike County. Within three years, the business will bring on a minimum of 300 to its local staff.

“This is a type of job we’ve been searching for,” said Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford. “This is the missing link.”

The process to bring the business was highly competitive, but in the end, Troy was the right fit for the company.

Lunsford said the city’s infrastructure, quality of life and university presence were what he saw as the biggest factors in the equation.

“The university became involved as part of the relationship with the city,” said University Chancellor Jack Hawkins Jr. “It was a natural response by the mayor and Marsha Gaylard. They concluded an integral part of the equation needed to be the university.”

While Troy hasn’t been hit as hard as some by the economic downturn, Lunsford said there is no doubt this new industry will be a big boost for the county.

“This company’s employees will buy houses, buy cars, buy groceries and go to our schools,” Lunsford said. “I believe this company is going to grow Troy and accommodate a number of people.”

Gaylard agreed the economic impact will be significant.

“This project will make a tremendous economic impact on our economy,” Gaylard said.

Troy University will broadcast the announcement live at http://www.troy.edu/intranet/event.html. Stay posted to The Messenger’s Web site for more information, and see Saturday’s edition for the full story.