AES Ltd. celebrates 50 years
LONG-TIME EMPLOYEES Gene Damon, seated left, visits with the employees of AES Ltd. who have been with him the longest Saturday during a dinner at Caf Latte to celebrate the company's 50th anniversary. They are, standing from left, Dick Simmons, Richard Dixon and Robert Berry; and seated right, Jim Hayes. PHOTO BY GEORGIA E FRYE / THE MERIDIAN STAR
By Georgia E. Frye / staff writer
June 15, 2003
Since it was founded 50 years ago, AES Ltd. has had as many as 45 employees and as few as 15. But one thing has remained unchanged during all those years Henry Eugene "Gene" Damon has always been the man behind the company.
The firm, which specializes in architecture, engineering, surveying and mapping, began in 1953 after Damon, a Meridian native, returned home from the Korean War. At that time, the company's services included land surveying and civil engineering.
Damon celebrated his achievements Saturday night along with about 50 employees, friends and family members at a reception at Caf Latte. Damon's wife, Wilhelmine, was at her husband's side during the celebration and her answer to why he has been so successful was simple.
In 1970, after going through a series of changes, the company became Meridian Engineering Inc.
Its clients included the city of Meridian, the Meridian Airport Authority, the towns of DeKalb, Scooba and Shubuta, the Pat Harrison Waterway District and the Mississippi State Highway Department.
In 1972, the company became Associated Consultants Inc. and in 1973, Damon purchased two engineering and surveying firms, one in Jackson and one in Hattiesburg. In 1978, architecture was added to its list of services and in 1990 the name was changed to AES Ltd., which stands for Architecture, Engineering and Surveying.
The company also does business in Louisiana, Alabama and Georgia and its clients include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, East Mississippi Electric Power Association, the Mississippi Air National Guard and many others.
In 1960, Damon ran for mayor of Meridian as a Republican. He said he ran, not with the intention of winning, but with the hope of establishing a two-party system in Meridian and in Mississippi.
In addition to running for mayor, Damon represented Mississippi in the Republican Party's National Convention in San Diego, Calif., in 1968 and 1996. He served as chairman of the Lauderdale County Republican Executive Committee in 1995 and was on the Mississippi Republican Executive Committee in 1996.