Report: BancorpSouth offering early retirements

Arkansas Business is reporting today that Tupelo-based regional banking company BancorpSouth Inc. is asking for voluntary early retirements for some of its workers.

The article says the Tupelo-based financial holding company and parent of BancorpSouth Bank is making the offers to those 60 and over and with 10 consecutive years of experience with the company.

Arkansas Business also quoted a BancorpSouth spokesman who confirmed a memo had been sent “internally” to offer the early retirement packages that the company thinks will “improve the bank’s efficiency and reduce costs.”

Details are scant at this point, and the spokesman said BancorpSouth didn’t want to speculate on how many people might accept the offer.

BancorpSouth operates 270 branches in eight states and employs more than 4,200, companywide.

The reported staff reductions would be consistent with predictions by analysts just before veteran Houston banker James “Dan” Rollins took over as CEO in November.

As COO at Houston’s Prosperity Bank, Rollins became known as an expense-hawk who slimmed down operating costs to help the bank become Houston’s largest home-grown bank holding company. He took the bank from $7 billion in assets in 2007 to $13.7 billion by the third quarter of 2012, analysts said.

They speculated that Rollins’ hiring at BancorpSouth signaled the Mississippi banking company wanted “tightfisted expense control” and an increased focus on profits.

BancorpSouth earlier reported net income of $20.8 million, or $0.22 per share, for the first quarter of 2013.


Neel-Schaffer ranks 197 on ENR Top 500 design firms

Neel-Schaffer, Inc, a consulting engineering and planning company, earned the ranking of 197 in the 2013 Top 500 Design Firms in the country by Engineering News-Record (ENR). “As we celebrate our 30th year of operation, our employees’ commitment to client service continues to be the driving force of the ranking of Neel-Schaffer,” Hibbett Neel, President, Neel-Schaffer said in a released statement. “It is our mission to serve our clients as an extension of their staff, and each year we develop new services that will further assist them in meeting their needs and goals.”

The Top 500 Design Firms list, which is published in April, ranks the 500 largest firms in the country based on design specific revenue made over the past year. Neel-Schaffer has continually ranked in the top 300 since 1998. This year Neel-Schaffer ranked 197, up from last year’s ranking of 211. It is the only Mississippi based engineering firm in the Top 500.

Neel-Schaffer is a multi-disciplined engineering and planning firm headquartered in Mississippi, with offices throughout Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. Through these offices, Neel-Schaffer provides consulting engineering, strategic planning and community development, public outreach, aviation, landscape architecture, environmental science, transportation and water and wastewater engineering services to clients throughout the Southeast.

City of Ridgeland employees lose over 200 pounds

Pound for pound, the City of Ridgeland is proving its serious about health & wellness.

City employees recently lost a total of more than 200 pounds in a “Biggest Loser” contest held over 16 weeks from Jan. 9-May 1.

Each participant paid $10 to participate and for every pound gained, $1 was paid. To lose weight, individuals ate less, exercised more and held each other accountable. A total of 218.4 pounds were lost by 22 participants.

Contest winners earned a portion of the contest fees and the payout for gaining weight. The contest winner won $196; second place won $117.60 and third place won $78.40. The total pounds lost from the top 3 winners was 88.6 pounds. Fire Chief Matt Bailey was the first place winner, losing almost 50 pounds.

“I didn’t realize how much I had gained over the years. During the contest, I worked out almost every day and really watched what I ate. Now, I am down to my high school weight and it feels great,” said Bailey.

Second place winner was Mary Duncan, Administrative Assistant, Fire Department. Third place winner was Renee Buckner, Administrative Assistant, Public Works Department.

Buckner said about the contest, “Several of our participants joined local gyms in an effort to help them obtain their weight loss goals. Even though this was a competition, we encouraged each other to stay on track and continue to meet our individual weight loss goals.”

The City of Ridgeland started its Biggest Loser Contest in 2010 with 11 contestants. This year the City doubled the number of contestants.

Mayor Gene McGee said, “This contest among our employees is an example that other groups can follow. It is a great way to promote good health through healthy eating and exercise. I commend the employees who took part and look forward to the contest growing as more employees seek to become healthier.”

Several participants plan to continue the contest on their own to continue losing weight, getting fit and improving their overall health.


Bomgar recognized as top privately-held job creator in Mississippi

Ridgeland-based Bomgar Corporation is recognized as a leading privately-held job creator within the State of Mississippi in the inaugural ranking of Inc. Magazine’s “Hire Power” Awards, recognizing the privately-held companies that have generated the most jobs in the past three years.

Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves and Senator Will Longwitz, on behalf of the Mississippi Senate, recently issued a Proclamation congratulating Bomgar for this achievement, and for bringing honor and economic energy to the State of Mississippi.

“It is an honor to be recognized for creating American jobs, particularly technology jobs in my home state of Mississippi,” said Joel Bomgar, Founder and CEO of Bomgar. “Our team has worked extremely hard to not only build a successful company, but also a place where people love to come to work every day. This Proclamation is a testament to our focus on building the best products for our customers, while creating the best environment for our employees. I am proud that the technology used by more than 6,500 companies in 65 countries is all developed right here in Ridgeland, and that our team of dedicated individuals has such an impact in the world.”

In order to qualify for this award, companies must be privately-held and growing fast enough to be on the Inc. Magazine’s annual Inc. 500/5000 rankings. The company then has to apply for the annual Hire Power awards. Inc. Magazine and the Inc. 500/5000 is the best-known ranking of privately-held companies worldwide, and they encourage all companies on their radar to apply.

Source: Bomgar Corp.

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(VIDEO) Timothy Bartik: The economic case for preschool

In this Ted Talk, Timothy Bartik makes the macro-economic case for preschool education — and explains why you should be happy to invest in it, even if you don’t have kids that age (or kids at all). The economic benefits of well-educated kids, it turns out, go well beyond the altruistic.

The author of “Investing in Kids,” Timothy Bartik studies state and local economies — and analyzes the benefits of preschool as an economic development program.