19 Jan Southwest Electric Plans to Open District Office in Brookhaven
Reprinted with permission from The Daily Leader, January 18, 2021.
Southwest Electric is moving forward with a plan to build a district office in Brookhaven.
The Lorman-based company is exploring the possibility of purchasing approximately 65 acres of land in the Linbrook Business Park on Brookway Boulevard Extension. Linbrook Economic Development Alliance recently accepted an option to purchase at its board meeting.
“This announcement represents the potential for new job opportunities for our trained workforce and will contribute to our growing economy,” said Brookhaven Mayor Joe Cox.
“We had a strong, dedicated team of individuals helping to bring this process to fruition,” said Cox, who is also LEDA chairman. “We appreciate Southwest Electric for investing in our community as we continue moving Brookhaven forward.”
Southwest Electric announced at its 2018 annual meeting the intent to build a district office in the Brookhaven area, and its board of directors initiated the process to search for Lincoln County properties. The company’s headquarters has been in Lorman in Jefferson County since it incorporated in 1937. A Work Center was opened in Natchez in 2006.
“We are pleased to take the next step in this process with Linbrook,” said Southwest Electric CEO Kevin Bonds. “Our employees strive every day to provide reliable electric service to our members. Having a district office on this side of our service area will help us in that mission.”
The proposed office will allow staff, material and equipment to be distributed across the service area. The Brookhaven location will enable Southwest Electric to better serve members in all nine counties the electric cooperative services and to increase overall system reliability.
“This expansion will enable us to respond to member needs in a more efficient and timely manner. For example, if we have a broken pole in Copiah, Hinds or Lincoln County, a crew must drive to the nearest pole yard in Lorman, load the pole and drive back. That can take up to two hours,” said Manager of Operations Kevin Cotten. “Our response time will be dramatically reduced if we have material and equipment on the eastern side of our service area, similar to the Natchez Work Center helping response time in the southern portion.”
Bonds said the company intends to bring a dispatch office, IT services, a full warehouse, mechanics shop and truck staging area to the Brookhaven site, as well as a laydown yard – an area to house emergency storm services crews as needed.
The option to purchase will allow Southwest Electric to conduct studies of the property. Studies will help ensure that there are no environmental or civil engineering impacts on the proposed property prior to final purchase.
Southwest Electric is a member-owned electric cooperative that serves more than 25,000 meters in Lincoln, Copiah, Franklin, Amite, Adams, Claiborne, Hinds, Jefferson and Wilkinson counties.
Pictured above from left to right are Southwest Electric CEO Kevin Bonds, Brookhaven Mayor Joe Cox, Lincoln County Board of Supervisors President and District 4 Supervisor Eddie Brown, Southwest Electric Board of Directors member John Hilbert, and Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Garrick Combs.