The Gadsden-Etowah County Industrial Development Authority worked with 9 companies in 2014 to establish new plants here, to expand existing ones, and to complete previously announced projects.
Together, these projects have created, or are projected by company officials to create:
• a total capital investment of approximately $60 million
• a combined new payroll exceeding $17 million
• more than 500 jobs
• also, 250 existing jobs were retained which otherwise would have been lost
1) After a long investigation of locational options, a company in the Midwest has chosen to buy a site on Airport Road for a new plant, pending capital investment approval from its parent company in Japan.
2) Pacific Trading opened its new plant in the Gadsden Industrial Complex.
3) Prince Metal Stamping USA is installing equipment in its new 240,000-square-foot plant in the Airport Industrial Park.
4) Decatur Plastic Products is also completing the installation of equipment in its new facility at the Gadsden Commerce Center.
5) Koller-Craft South purchased the former Mid-South Electronics plant in the Gadsden Industrial Complex and is adding new equipment.
6) Inteva Products expanded twice in 2014 and held job fairs to recruit new employees.
7) Koch Foods chose its Gadsden plant over others for an expansion of its operations and employment.
8) SIP, Inc. also decided to add additional equipment and more employees here instead of elsewhere.
9) Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company added more equipment to continue modernizing its Gadsden plant, and announced an increase in production.
Work continues with 4 other companies that are considering the Gadsden area as a location for their projects:
1) An industrial equipment company has selected a site in the Airport Industrial Park to purchase. Work is underway with its banker to complete financing arrangements for the construction of a new building. Upon completion, site preparation will begin in early 2015, and a total of 50-60 new jobs will result.
2) An automotive parts supplier is considering a building in the Gadsden Commerce Center for a new distribution center. This project could eventually employ 50-100. A final decision is expected within 60 days.
3) Officials of a Chinese company have visited twice to evaluate Gadsden as a location for a new distribution operation. A site-selection decision is expected in the first quarter of 2015.
4) A precision metal working company is evaluating us as a location for a new plant that would employ 40, at wages averaging $50,000 per year. We are now a semi-finalist; the company’s board of directors is expected to choose the finalist cities for further consideration soon.
The IDA undertook a number of initiatives during 2014 to generate investor interest, and these activities will continue in 2015 and beyond:
1) Staff members made personal contact with project referral sources, such as the Alabama Department of Commerce, to ensure we are foremost in their minds when they work on projects; obtained more Requests for Proposals; and compiled sales presentations in response.
2) A direct mail marketing campaign was conducted to recruit a new occupant for the former Keystone Foods building.
3) Our promotional materials describing local advantages for precision metal machining operations, automotive parts suppliers, and aircraft parts manufacturers were distributed at relevant industry trade shows.
4) Our website and social media pages were updated and enhanced. This is how most companies and their consultants perform their initial screening of communities when they are searching for a new location.
The most important locational requirement for prospective new industries (besides proximity to customers and suppliers, and the presence of a suitable building or site) is the availability of skilled employees. This is true for our existing industries as well.
In 2014, the Gadsden City and the Etowah County Career Technical Centers applied for and received funding to begin new programs in additive manufacturing and in mechatronics. Gadsden State Community College began its Fall semester with more than 600 students enrolled in industrial-related technical training classes, and the Gadsden Center of the Alabama Technology Network offered free training for employees of local companies.
To support these and other technical training initiatives, Gadsden’s Workforce Development Partnership continues its work, IDA Assistant Director Bill Greene chairs meetings of the state’s Workforce Development Council for this region, and IDA Executive Director Mike McCain serves on the board of the Alabama Economic Development Alliance.
Economic progress requires a cohesive team effort of both the public and the private sectors. Local government maintains a pro-business climate, supports public education and improves our infrastructure, among other actions. The business and civic volunteers who oversee the IDA, the Commercial Development Authority, Downtown Gadsden Inc., the Tourism Board and the Chamber all work together, and with our elected officials they help generate more jobs for our residents, more spending in our economy, and more tax revenues to fund public services