Rocket fuel company, Adranos, Inc, is moving into the McHenry industrial site and is already making a local impact.
Even the process of Adranos moving in has benefitted local small businesses, said Betsy Rowell, executive director of the Stone County Economic Development Partnership.
“It’s putting local contractors to work,” Rowell said. “It’s all hands on deck.”
Adranos will lease several buildings on the 640-acre industrial complex formerly occupied by General Dynamics.
Rowell said the buildings were constructed by General Dynamics to comply with U.S. Department of Defense specifications, which makes it difficult to lease the buildings to non-military contractors.
"They’re very specific buildings for very specific uses,” Rowell said.
Prior to Adranos, the facility sat vacant since 2012, after munitions manufacturer General Dynamics downsized their operations.
County Engineer Jon Bond said local contractors were enlisted to repair and upgrade the facilities.
Contracts were awarded to Saussy Construction, Inc and Brielle Holmes. Brielle Holmes is owned by Jimmy Holliman from stone county and Saussy Construction is owned by Charles Saussy of Wiggins.
Bond said the total number of workers involved is around 20.
Rowell said the EDP also asked Adranos to purchase any needed materials within the county.
To help get the property up to code, the EDP committed $145,000 to help prepare the property and the building.
The $525,000 corporate investment from Adranos is going toward equipment and supplies needed to fill demands.
The company will build a rocket motor test stand and perform tests on rocket fuel. The first test will begin in the summer of 2021.
Adranos announced they intend to employ up to 20 people by the end of 2023.
“The opportunity afforded to us by Stone County and the Mississippi Development Authority is truly extraordinary. The facility and local employment base will enable us to advance our high-performance rocket fuel and grow our company for many years to come,”CEO Chris Stoker said in the press release.
Rowell said over a 10-year period, the company could employ up to 50 people and applications are open for at least two jobs.
Rowell said having Adranos in Stone County offers a multitude of benefits and gives the county an appeal to other industries looking to grow.
“It draws attention on a national level to look at Stone County,” Rowell said. “That’s very positive.”
Rowell said the county is near the John C. Stennis Space Center and several military bases.
She said since many colleges in the state have aerospace initiatives, it would add to the county’s appeal.
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves seems to agree.
“Mississippi continues to make strides in our efforts to send astronauts once again to the moon and beyond. The newest company to join the ranks of others in this mission, Adranos, will further bolster our position as a leader in space exploration,” Governor Tate Reeves said in the MDA press release. “The company’s environmentally friendly, next-generation rocket fuel will be advanced by Mississippians in Stone County, and we are proud to partner with them and with Adranos as we continue to make history on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and for our nation.”