Inteva Plant Adding Employees

With plans to add 95 employees in the next three months, the Inteva Products plant, 4605 Airport Road, will be hosting a job fair the next two Saturdays.

Plant Manager Daryl R. Thomas said the job fair, which will include a brief tour of the plant, will run from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday and again May 3.

He said visitors can decide after the tour if they want to fill out an application. Interviews will be done that morning and the selection process will be done after the interview.

Thomas, who has been manager at the Gadsden plant for four years, said 82 employees have been added in the last six months, bringing employment to 281.

He said when all employees needed are hired, the plant will employ 376 people. The plant runs three shifts.

Thomas said a GED or high school diploma and the ability to stand for eight hours or more is required.

He said they are looking for “dependable people that are looking to stay with the company a long time.” Experience in manufacturing is not a requirement.

Thomas, who worked with General Motors for more than 30 years, said he was a school teacher before going into manufacturing.

He said the additional employees are needed to help with the production of sunroofs for the Mercedes C-Class, built in Vance and in South Africa.

Production on those sunroofs will begin next year. Thomas said those sunroof contracts enabled Inteva to hire the additional 177 employees.

The plant also produces interior systems such as dashboards and duct work, window regulators, roof systems and motors and electronics.

Thomas said the Gadsden plant the only Inteva facility that makes all four products. He said it ships about 50 trucks a week of product, and has an excellent quality and on-time delivery rate.

He said Gadsden was chosen to produce the sunroof since it is only an hour and a half from the Vance plant.

“It’s a large product,” Thomas said.

The plant produces 441 units a day, five days a week.

As part of the quality control, a sound test is done on the roofs to make sure they have a low noise level. If a part fails that test, it is reworked until it passes.

In 2013, the plant produced 23,478 parts per day for manufacturers including Mercedes, Navistar, BMW, Volkswagen, Ford, Chrysler, Nissan, General Motors, Freightliner, Mack Truck, Blue Diamond, Tesla, Kia, Grupo and others.

Thomas said Mercedes is its biggest customer. He said more than half of the plant’s 267,000 square feet is being used for the sunroof work, and he hopes to add additional warehouse space.

The plant opened in 1995 as a General Motors Packard facility and in 2008 became Inteva Gadsden.

Workers are represented by the International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine and Furniture Workers — Communications Workers of America.

Inteva has 42 locations in 18 countries.

By Andy Powell, Times Staff Writer