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Firm’s new North Jackson facility offers high-, low-tech benefits

Since its founding 20 years ago, the Morgan-White Group Inc. (MWG) has experienced growth in every aspect of the business — in services and divisions, clients both at home and abroad, employees, use of technology. The company has positioned itself as a one-stop shop for insurance and employee benefits.

Breaking open at the seams at its former location, MWG moved into two new adjacent facilities on Interstate 55 in North Jackson earlier this year. The new facilities were totally renovated, allowing room for the firm’s growing use of technology. And, they also offer “low-tech” advantages, giving the staff a more people-friendly environment. Added together, the new location has provided MWG with increased efficiency and effectiveness.

Scattered about

When Johnny Morgan and David White founded MWG in Jackson in 1987, the company counted a mere handful of employees, who were primarily focused on payroll reduction supplemental insurance products. Growth has been steady ever since.

Today, third-party administration is the company’s lead growth-generator, but it offers an array of services and products, including its own insurance firm. It now has offices in Jackson, Oxford, Greenville, Texas, Louisiana and Miami, which handles MWG’s important client base in Central and South America.

In total, the company employs roughly 105 workers, 65 of those in the Capital City. The once small firm is not so little any more.

“It may seem like we have had explosive growth, but we’ve actually been in the industry for a while now,” said Richard Eaton, CPA, CFO of MWG. “I think our growth can mainly been attributed to our service. We’ve invested in technology that allows us the ability to do any kind of collection for our carrier-clients. We’re bigger, but we’re still small enough to be flexible, quick to meet our clients’ needs.”

As the company grew over time, its former home started to shrink. Housed in a multi-office facility, MWG would grab another space whenever it was available. Eventually, the company became departmentalized. A face-to-face meeting might require a minor hike, and the flexibility needed for its ever-expanding use of technology was missing.

“We had people upstairs, downstairs, in corners and closets,” Eaton said with a smile.

The setup was becoming less and less efficient. The company did not just need space, it needed smart space. And, that is exactly what it got last summer.

Coming together

In May 2006, MWG purchased one of its new facilities on I-55 before buying the neighboring structure that September.

(The addresses are 5712 and 5722 I-55 North Frontage Road.) The facilities, which MWG moved into in March of this year, answered all of the company’s space challenges, making room for both technology and people.

Both facilities were totally gutted and were given raised floors provided by Ridgeland-based Business Interiors. The raised floors provide space for under-floor cabling and wiring, allowing for quick and easy space reconfiguration.

The south facility also has under-floor air systems. Among other benefits, Eaton said the raised floors helped cut down on construction expense.

“(The north) building already had a slab,” Eaton said. “Rather than break it up, it was more cost-effective to raise the floor.”

Other high-tech amenities include security cameras inside and out, with indoor monitors that allow the staff to check the premises before they walk out the door to get in their cars. And, the doors are card-swipe accessible, offering another layer of security as well as helping keep personal client information private and meet the requirements of HIPAA.

Just as important, the new MWG complex offers a more efficient and effective home for its workers. All employees are now on one floor, and the divisions are grouped together, workers and managers. The 15,000-square-foot north facility, the corporate headquarters for the parent company Morgan-White Group Inc., provides three conference rooms for meetings with outside people and a couple of smaller ones for internal meetings. Two mail centers, break room and other amenities add to the creature comforts and improved workflow.

The south facility, which houses MWG Benefits Inc. made up of MWG’s employee benefits agency and direct sales division, also has a conference room for meetings. It currently occupies 4,000 square feet of the available space. Another 10,000 square feet, formerly warehouse space, is currently unoccupied, and more space in back is being leased to an automotive concern, which is preparing to relocate. MWG originally contemplated tearing the rear portion down, transporting it to Oxford, and reassembling it. Now, it may just be leveled for extra parking. In any event, there is plenty of space to grow there.

“I hate to admit it, but there were workers I didn’t even know in our former facility,” Eaton said. “They were stuck everywhere. They would come in, go to their space, and I never saw them. Now, we have much more interaction, and I believe our staff is all pleased with the new facilities.”

Contact MBJ staff writer Wally Northway at northway@msbusiness.com.

About Wally Northway

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