It’s the first of it’s kind created by a Public Service Commission and it’s aim is to help Mississippi businesses, large and small, get access to millions of dollars in work contracts by the states largest public utility companies. “There is no other PSC in the U.S. that is doing this. It really came to my attention because I get so tired of driving by these projects and you have all these out of state companies doing this work when we have so many qualified Mississippi companies that could be doing this work,” said Presley. The program kicked off on March 1, and is accessible through the hiremississippi.com website. The website serves as a database for contractors who wish to be notified when utility contracts become available. Companies can bid for the contracts and even contact utility companies in the event that they do not receive the job to find out what to do better, or different next time. The PSC will also contact the utility companies to keep a record of what Mississippi businesses are being hired, and if none are, why.

This is a partnership between the PSC and top five Utility companies in the state. No prime contract will be awarded without companies consulting the Hire Mississippi list first. However, this does not get utility companies off the hook for looking for the lowest bid, it just opens the door for contractors to be seen. Presley said when he contacted the major utility companies they were cooperative and wanted to partner to make this program happen. With more transparency and outreach, they logistically thought through how do to do this, eventually coming to the idea of a website database. Hire Mississippi is not only aimed at larger construction companies, but the small business or individual that has a piece of equipment but might be intimidated by the bidding process is also able to access these contracts and get their name on the list. “We want to identify gaps in the economy that are causing these leaks of over 70 percent of over $800 million dollars in operation and maintenance contracts. That doesn’t count construction on places like Kemper,” said Presley