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New plant means more active partnership with university

ELLISVILLE and HATTIESBURG — The official opening of GE Aviation’s new plant in Ellisville will mark a significant uptick in the partnership between the manufacturer and the University of Southern Mississippi.

Tomorrow, GE Aviation opens its new facility at the Howard Technology Park in Ellisville.

Previously, the Southern Miss School of Polymers and High Performance Materials collaborated with GE Aviation on technology and advanced material development for the company’s Batesville Composites Operation in Batesville. Similar initiatives will be targeted for the new operation in Ellisville.

Teams are currently working in polymer science labs at Southern Miss creating composite materials such as fan blades for the global marketplace. These advanced materials are lightweight and durable which translates to fuel savings, lower energy costs and reduced maintenance for sophisticated jet engines.

“Collectively, we as a faculty are engaged with almost every global player on the planet with regard to composites, materials for specialty performance coatings, functional films and a wide variety of other applications,” said Dr. James Rawlins, associate professor in the School of Polymers and High Performance Materials. “It’s our polymer web, if you will.”

GE Aviation has committed to hiring 250 employees and investing more than $50 million by 2017 at the 340,000-square-foot plant in Ellisville.

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