Laurel – Howard Industries is still on target to enter the personal computer market in January 1999.
Cyndi Howard McCoy, president of Howard Computers, said most of the key personnel for the computer venture have been hired.
“Our vice president of sales was formerly with Dell and Hewlett Packard, and our vice president of purchasing was formerly with Gateway,” McCoy said. “We have hired a customer service manager who was with Digital and Apple. And have carried over some of our in-house talent to fill the positions of vice presidents of engineering and manufacturing.”
The company is in the process of finalizing designs for the computers, and the plant is under construction. A 30,000-square-foot manufacturing facility is being added at the site of Howard Industries` ballast facility in Sandersville. Larry Sumrall is the contractor for the project, which also includes a 9,000-square-foot office building.
McCoy said the company plans to have a PC that will cost under $1,000, as well as more expensive, loaded PCs. “We`re going to run the gamut,” she said.
McCoy said the company realizes it is up against major competition.
“But competition has been there in our other industries, too,” she said. “We have some unique marketing strategies that will help us compete.”
McCoy said the company has had overwhelming support from the community and the entire state to the announcement of the company`s intention to enter the PC market. Government agencies, schools, industries and businesses have all expressed interest in being customers for computers made in Mississippi.
And while there is a statewide and nationwide shortage of skilled computer workers, McCoy said that a large number of people have applied to work at the computer assembly plant.
“The shortage is certainly an issue, but so far we have been fairly successful in hiring good people,” McCoy said. “We`ve hired people for some of the most difficult positions to fill.”
Key Howard Computer personnel include the following: