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VOL. 125 | NO. 147 | Friday, July 30, 2010

Olive Branch Lands Soladigm, 350 Jobs

By Bill Dries

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Soladigm Inc., a green technology company from California’s Silicon Valley, is moving into the Olive Branch Industrial Park with a plant that employs 350 people.

The company announced the news Friday morning.

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour was in Olive Branch for Friday’s announcement of the economic plum. Immediately afterwards, he announced to followers of his Twitter feed: “Just announced 350 new high-tech jobs in Olive Branch. Welcoming Soladigm to Mississippi.”

Soladigm Inc. is a privately held company based in Milipitas, Calif., and financed by two venture capital funds.

The firms are Sigma Partners and Khosla Ventures, both of Menlo Park, Calif.

The company makes “dynamic” windows, which can be switched from tinted to clear as needed. Soladigm’s literature claims the technology offers increased energy efficiency most noticeable in commercial buildings but also in residential structures. Soladigm is also developing what the company’s website terms “next generation green building solutions.”

The announcement of an Olive Branch plant came the same week that Soladigm filed a notice with the Securities and Exchange Commission announcing it had sold $6 million of a total $7.5 million debt offering. The SEC paperwork was dated Monday.

The Soladigm Olive Branch announcement comes the same week that Hamilton Beach Brands Inc. announced it was moving a Memphis distribution center to Olive Branch.

The Hamilton Beach move involves the transfer of 125 jobs south of the state line at a time when competition between economic development officials in Memphis and Olive Branch has intensified.

In addition to the Hamilton Beach announcement, state health officials in Mississippi signed off Thursday on approval of plans for a 100 bed, $137 million Methodist Le Bonheur hospital in Olive Branch.

Olive Branch officials, with state incentives, also persuaded McKesson Corp., a health care technology company, to move from Memphis and build a new distribution facility there that will employ 300.

The Soladigm facility will be close to the new McKesson location.

Pinnacle Airlines Corp. is considering an offer from Olive Branch backed with incentives from the state of Mississippi as it weighs a new location for its corporate headquarters in Memphis.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 110 19,224
MORTGAGES 0 125 22,175
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 7 58 2,894
BUILDING PERMITS 0 116 39,432
BANKRUPTCIES 36 98 12,346
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 21 6,287
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 41 41 7,313
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 35 4,396