JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - When you think of the city of Jackson, the hub of technology is not the first thing that comes to mind.
A Jackson native, who is now a very successful engineer with Amazon, is working to change that. Dr. Nashlie Sephus is already bringing her vision into sharp focus.
Most people traveling along North Gallatin Street see abandoned buildings, unkempt and neglected property. Dr. Nashlie Sephus sees something quite different when she travels the same area.
She has even produced a rendering of what will become a Tech-Hub center, if everything goes as planned. Twelve acres and seven buildings have been purchased by Sephus in a new venture worth $25 million. It wasn’t easy. Banks wouldn’t loan her the money. The property owner agreed to a short term finance deal.
Dr. Nashlie Sephus said, “I think it’s really important for me to give back to the community that helped shape me and I always love to see people get enthused and exposed to technology and so I wanted to make that process a little bit easier.”
Sephus is a highly successful Applied Science Manager for Amazon. The 35-year-old is also a Jackson native, educated in capital city schools who has never forgotten her roots. She has big plans for the Tech-Hub.
“And so the first phase would include the downtown storage building which we would create housing lofts in there where people can live and also have air-b-and-b and very high tech apartments with retail as well as meeting space on the bottom,” said Sephus.
She continued, “In later phases, we also have things like food truck parks. There’s a huge 17-thousand square foot barn. Be on the lookout, we’ll soon be launching a wi-fi hotspot for children and for adults to come, especially during the day for children who need access to tutors and a very COVID safe environment to work in.”
And she said, there’s so much more.
“...but the city of Jackson is also behind this project 100-percent and I’m fully confident that we can get everything in place that’s needed in infrastructure as well as security to make this a success,” said Dr. Sephus.
Sephus, who has a B.S. and Ph.D in Computer Engineering, clearly has a passion for all things tech. She launched another venture two years ago called The Bean Path, a non-profit designed to sow the seeds of tech and STEM fields for those who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity.
Dr. Nashlie Sephus said, "If you’re not a techie by now, you definitely will be within the next couple of years, once we wrap this project up.”
And she said the plan is to start construction at the top of next year.