The top six companies — the Super Six — on the list of Mississippi’s Top 100 private companies are a diverse group. The sectors represented include petroleum refining and distributing, banking, construction, tire services and insurance. The top six are Ergon, BancPlus Corporation/BankPlus, the Yates Companyies, Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance, Southern Tire Mart and Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance. Rankings are based on reported revenue by companies headquartered in Mississippi.
Ergon is No. 1 and was also No. 1 on the list in 2018. Currently with 2,300 employees, the company was founded by Leslie Lampton in 1954 with two employees to refine and distribute petroleum products. Along with their subsidiary companies, Ergon is engaged in a wide range of operations including sophisticated crude oil processing, marketing naphthenic and paraffinic specialty oils, producing and marketing specialty asphalt products, manufacturing and marketing road maintenance products and machinery, transporting and terminaling raw materials and refined products, propane marketing, oil and gas exploration and real estate development.
According to Ergon’s website, “Our horizons have expanded since we first began, but our mission remains the same: meet needs, support families, serve customers. We attribute our progress and achievements to one ingredient: our people. Through the efforts of forward-thinking, responsive employees and the integrated relationships of our company’s many components, Ergon has built a synergistic company in the fullest sense of the word.”
BancPlus Corporation/BankPlus rose from number 40 on last year’s Top 100 List to No. 2 this year. President and CEO Bill Ray commented on the company’s significant rise. “Our growth is a direct result of our efforts to establish a culture of empowerment at BankPlus throughout all levels of our organization,” he said. “Through this effort, we define and continuously communicate what being a high performance organization means, and every team member is focused on those goals. We work hard, but we also make it a key point to have fun and celebrate our wins along the way.”
BancPlus has 750 employees and is looking toward future growth. “BankPlus has grown organically at a very good pace over the last several years. In September, we announced the signing of a definitive agreement to acquire State Bank & Trust Company whose internal culture is very similar to our own,” Ray said. “When this merger is complete, we will extend our footprint throughout Mississippi, and we will begin operating in Alabama and Louisiana as well.”
No. 3 on the list, The Yates Companies, was founded in 1964 by William G. Yates, Jr. This family owned company has offices in Philadelphia, Biloxi and Gulfport and provides a wide range of construction and building services. Engineering News Record ranks it among the top construction services providers in the country.
Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance ranks as No. 4, a spot it also held in 2018 and up from No. 5 in 2017. This multi-line regional property and casualty insurance company operates in six states — Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina. Established 72 years ago, the company is one of the largest property and casualty insurance companies in the nation and employs 1,610 people. It has a rating of A+ from A.M. Best Company, a rating held by less than 17 percent of property and casualty insurance companies in the nation.
With 3,500 employees, Southern Tire Mart ranks No. 5 on the Top 100 List and has more employees than the other five companies of the Super Six. It also was No. 5 last year and was No. 6 in 2017. Begun in 1973, Southern Tire Mart has locations throughout the southern United States. The company’s website lists the following honors: No. 1 North American Commercial Tire Dealer since 2012; No. 1 Truck Re-treader in North America since 2007; and No. 1 Commercial Tire Dealer in the U.S. since 2008.
Rounding out the Super Six is Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance, a company founded in 1946 to provide term and whole life coverage. The company has 650 employees, 3,779 agents, 11 states covered and more than one million policies in force.
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