The River Region's Wave of the Future!
The Wetumpka Herald
Article Source »
MONTGOMERY -- In a meeting of Far East and Deep South, a Korean industrialist bowed and shook hands with River Region officials to celebrate a major industrial announcement.Elmore County contributed $250,000 to an incentive package that paved the way for Hyundai Heavy Industries to build its first North American plant in Montgomery.Elmore County Commission Chairman Earl Reeves called the announcement “a great day for the whole River Region.”“This will be an economic boost for Elmore County,” Reeves said. “Our people are exactly the kind of folks they need, educated, talented workers.”At the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce headquarters, Gov. Bob Riley welcomed HHI to the state of Alabama.
HHI manufactures 500-ton industrial electrical transformers. When finished, the plant will employ at least 480 River Region residents. It will be known as Hyundai Electrical Facilities of Alabama.“When you combine Alabama’s outstanding workforce with the great economic development team we have at the state and local levels, you’re able to recruit world-class companies like Hyundai Heavy Industries,” Riley said. “This truly is a team effort, and our Alabama team is proud to welcome HHI.”Groundbreaking is expected by the end of the month, with construction complete by the end of 2011.“We are excited about our new facility in Montgomery, which will combine Hyundai’s production techniques with this state’s talented resources and support,” Dr. J.S. Lee, CEO of Hyundai Heavy, said.He hoped production could begin in 2012. He also upped the ante on jobs, promising more than 500 once production ramps up.
Montgomery had been in negotiations with the company for months, but the city’s incentives package was not as generous as that of Savannah, Ga.“We felt the need to do a little bit more,” Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange said, “so I made three phone calls: to Greenville Mayor Dexter McClendon, Prattville Mayor Jim Byard and Elmore County Commissioner Joe Faulk.“Within three hours, we had $850,000 more for the proposal.”Faulk facilitated the commission’s unanimous approval of the “River Region Economic Development Agreement” in early May. The specifics of the deal -- including the $250,000 price tag -- were kept secret “to avoid jeopardizing the success of Montgomery’s bid,” Faulk said.The effort to attract HHI was known by the code name of Project Sailboat during the negotiation process.
Reeves signed a letter on May 17 to Strange saying Elmore County “enthusiastically endorses and encourages the recruitment of industrial business prospects for the project known as Project Sailboat.”The commission, he wrote, “is pleased to participate in an important economic development project to benefit central Alabama.”Elmore County will benefit by two job fairs that will be held, likely in Millbrook and Wetumpka, six to eight months before the plant opens, Elmore County Economic Development Director Barry Mask said.“That way our residents would have the opportunity to apply,” he said. “Also in return, we’d be included in the loop for any supplier companies to locate in Elmore County.”Mask said Elmore County’s contribution would be paid in installments, and the final check for $175,000 would be held until “we make sure they keep their end.”
The Montgomery mayor said the contribution by Elmore County, Prattville and Greenville was instrumental in attracting the firm.“Without the support and assistance of Greenville, Prattville and Elmore County -- as well as everyone involved in this process -- I’m not sure we’d be here today.”After speeches by Riley, Lee, Strange, Montgomery Commission Chairman Elton Dean and Speaker of the House Seth Hammett, glasses of champagne were distributed for a celebratory toast.Founded in 1972, HHI is a global business network operating in six business divisions: shipbuilding, offshore and engineering, industrial plant and engineering, engine and machinery, construction equipment and electro electric systems.
© 2013 Elmore County Economic Development Authority. All Rights Reserved.