Shelia Shepard Hired As CEO of Jackson County Economic Development Authority
Mohawk acquires former Beaulieu fiber facility in Bridgeport
Deal provides foundation for future job growth in Jackson County
April 28, 2017
Jackson County officials announced that Mohawk Industries has acquired the former Beaulieu fiber facility in Bridgeport in a transaction that includes a commitment to preserve current jobs and grow employment in the community.
Mohawk Industries is the world's largest flooring manufacturer with a complete line of products including carpet, rugs, ceramic tile, laminate, wood, sheet vinyl and luxury vinyl tile. Mohawk operates manufacturing facilities in 11 states and 15 countries, and the company's products are sold in more than 160 nations. The Fortune 500 manufacturing company reported sales of $9 billion in 2016, and employs more than 37,800 around the globe.
"To support the growing demand for its carpet and rug collections, Mohawk has purchased a fiber plant in Bridgeport, Alabama," said Brian Carson, president of Mohawk Flooring North America. "We are impressed with the Bridgeport plant's team and manufacturing capabilities, and we look forward to growing the plant to produce innovative fibers into the future."
Mohawk is investing significantly to modernize and upgrade the equipment and the building in the Jackson County city, according to the Alabama Department of Commerce. Mohawk has established its initial workforce with individuals already employed at the plant and is actively recruiting people to satisfy present staffing needs. The company anticipates increasing its Bridgeport workforce as ongoing investments expand the plant's manufacturing capacity.
Jackson County officials said the revival of the fiber plant represents a major economic boon to Bridgeport, a community with a population of around 2,400.
"We are excited to welcome Mohawk to Bridgeport," Mayor Bubba Hughes said. "We are eager to work with them to make their move a success."
In January, the Beaulieu Group announced plans to shut down most of the operations at the Bridgeport factory, where it extruded nylon, polyester and polypropylene fibers and provided heat set and cabling for fibers. The plant, open since 1987, was the city's second largest manufacturing employer.
Beaulieu also launched a search for a buyer, and received a helping hand from local leaders and a host of economic development agencies.
"This transaction by Mohawk, which supports employment growth in Jackson County, was facilitated by teamwork and a determination to find a new owner for a manufacturing facility that has been critical to the vitality of its community," said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.
"Mohawk's investment will ensure that the plant, and those jobs, have a future in Jackson County for years to come," he added.
Vince Perez, a project manager with the Alabama Department of Commerce, said Mohawk was in the market for a new fiber facility when Beaulieu put the Bridgeport plant up for sale. The deal allowed Mohawk to avoid a costly "greenfield" project while being able to invest in new technology and meet an internal timeline. Perez said Mohawk selected the Alabama project over a strong option in South Carolina.
Local leaders are thrilled over the news. "I appreciate Mohawk Industries coming to Bridgeport, continuing the livelihoods of hundreds of families. The benefits of this facility continuing to operate reverberate throughout our communities. I would like to commend TVA's team for helping make this possible," said Bruce Purdy, General Manager of North Alabama Electric Cooperative.
Commerce, including AIDT, partnered with the Jackson County Economic Development Authority, City of Bridgeport, Jackson County Commission, Jackson County Legislative Delegation, and Bridgeport Utilities to offer job training, tax abatements and other incentives. The Tennessee Valley Authority also assisted on the project.
"Jackson County EDA is proud to welcome Mohawk to Jackson County," said Shelia Shepard, Interim President & CEO of Jackson County Economic Development Authority. "Mohawk is a first-class company and will be a great asset for Bridgeport and Jackson County. A huge thanks goes to Vince Perez of the Department of Commerce for driving the process, and with the help of our legislation delegation, the state of Alabama earned another win today."
Dus Rogers to Retire from Jackson County Economic Development Authority
Dus Rogers is set to retire from Jackson County Economic Development Authority (JCEDA) after working as the organization's President and CEO for almost 15 years. He has lived in Jackson County since 1988 and joined JCEDA in September 2001 after working for 15 years as the County Coordinator of the Jackson County Cooperative Extension Service.
As President and CEO, Rogers' role is to implement economic development strategies and projects that improve and expand the economy of Jackson County through industrial recruitment and assisting existing industries with their expansion efforts. 2015 was a banner year for Jackson County with new and existing industry projects totaling 329 new jobs and a total capital investment of over $688 million. Rogers led the recruitment effort for Google when they announced in June 2015 that they will build a $600-million data center in Jackson County. It will be their 7th data center in the U.S. and their 14th globally, and it's expected to have a major impact on Jackson County and throughout the state.
During Rogers' tenure, he was instrumental in the development of Jackson County Industrial Park in Hollywood. "Dus has been an outstanding leader for economic development for Jackson County and he is known for his skills and can-do attitude throughout the state," said JCEDA Board Chair and NACC President Dr. David Campbell. "He has contributed so much to Jackson County. We will benefit for years to come from the work he has done."
Rogers is a 1986 graduate of Auburn University with a B.S. degree in Agricultural Business and Economics. He received a Master of Science in Management from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 1991. His continuing education in economic development includes graduating from the University of Oklahoma's Economic Development Institute (OU/EDI), the New South Economic Development course from the University of Southern Mississippi, Auburn University's Intensive Economic Development course, and TVA's Rural Leadership Institute. He is also a graduate and past coordinator of Leadership Jackson County, a graduate of Leadership Alabama, and a retired Colonel from the Alabama Army National Guard/Army Reserves.
Rogers recently received the Dave Echols Award from the Economic Development Association of Alabama. This award is presented to the economic developer who demonstrates the highest ideals of professionalism and character within the economic development profession. In 2011 he received a governor's appointment to serve on the Alabama Economic Development Alliance, formed to develop the first economic development strategic plan for the State of Alabama. He is currently serving as the chairman of TVA's Regional Energy Resource Council.
"We have a dedicated staff and board and I appreciate the opportunity to have served the citizens of Jackson County. This organization is one of the best economic development organizations in Alabama and it has been a privilege to work here and make a difference in the lives of our people," Rogers said.
Rogers has accepted a position with Farmers Telecommunications Cooperative (FTC) in Rainsville as their Manager, Business Development & Customer Service and will begin his new job in August. He is married to Rebecca Rogers and they have two grown children, Breck and Morgan.
A retirement reception in honor of Rogers will be held on Wednesday, August 24, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. at First Southern State Bank located at 20 Micah Way in Scottsboro. All friends and colleagues are welcome to attend.
2015 In Review
December 31, 2015
By Dus Rogers, President & CEO, Jackson County EDA
Oh what a year! By all measures in economic development, 2015 has been a phenomenal year for the growth of existing industrial companies as well as new manufacturing companies that chose Jackson County.
We have always said that our existing businesses were very important to us and that much of our job growth comes from their success. We started the year off working with many of our existing industries on expansion projects. We were able to assist Johns Manville, Polymer Industries, Polyamide High Performance, HTPG, SafeTWeave, and KTNA. These companies committed to invest over $80 million in new capital investments. They will add new manufacturing equipment and machinery and in some cases new buildings for additional manufacturing space. This new investment will help create 129 new full-time jobs and several more indirect jobs.
Johns Manville's addition of a second TPO line in the Scottsboro Industrial Park was Jackson County's largest expansion. This expansion will double their capacity at the Scottsboro facility where they make flat rolled roofing. We worked with the JM team here locally and at their corporate headquarters in Denver in what was a competitive location decision. We are delighted they chose Scottsboro when they had many other choices. JM is a Berkshire Hathaway Company and it is good to have Warren Buffet continue to have confidence in their business and to grow it here.
In addition to the fabulous growth of our existing companies, we helped locate Google to the former Widow's Creek TVA property near Bridgeport. We were thrilled to welcome them, and also NYTEF Plastics, Inc. to Pisgah, Taylor Manufacturing to Stevenson, and Southern Concrete Products near Stevenson. These four new manufacturing businesses (Google will manufacture & store data) represent a capital investment of almost $608 million and the expected creation of 190 new full-time jobs and many more construction and indirect jobs. All of these projects are well underway and Southern Concrete is already open for business.
The Google project drew national and international attention to Jackson County and we are now in line to be the 7th US location for a Google data center and 14th worldwide. The project is very exciting and we look forward to seeing their construction begin in 2016. This is the first large data center project in Alabama and the TVA Region. We had designated data centers as one of our target markets in 2014 and worked closely with TVA and Alabama Dept. of Commerce to land this project.
All of these projects required a team of different people to help them succeed here. We are fortunate that our economic development partners and elected officials always pitch in and work to help us. We have a great team and appreciate their help.
We would like to take time to thank all who were involved. We are fortunate to have good utility partners and we worked closely with many of them on these projects including TVA, Scottsboro Electric PB, North Alabama EC, Sand Mountain EC, Bridgeport Utilities, and Scottsboro Water, Sewer, and Gas Board. We worked with many city, county, and state elected officials including the City of Scottsboro, City of Bridgeport, City of Stevenson, Town of Pisgah, Jackson County Commission, and the Jackson County Legislative Delegation. We also worked with numerous state and regional partners including TVA Economic Development, AL Department of Commerce, AL Industrial Development Training program and AL Dept. of Revenue. We also worked with several appointed boards including Scottsboro and Stevenson industrial development boards and the Jackson County Economic Development Authority/ Jackson County IDB.
The total capital investment for 2015, which is the largest ever in Jackson County by private companies, was approximately $688 million and 319 new jobs were created. We look forward to 2016 and working to help these and other companies grow in Jackson County.
Johns Manville Announces Second TPO Production Line at Scottsboro, Ala. Facility
December 01, 2015
DENVER--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Johns Manville (JM), a global building and specialty products manufacturer and a Berkshire Hathaway company, today announced plans to build a second production line at the company's Scottsboro, Ala., manufacturing facility. The new line will increase production capacity for JM TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin), a roofing membrane that continues to be the preferred choice of the industry's top commercial roofing contractors, consultants and building owners.
"This significant investment continues JM's long-standing commitment to our customers, the industry, our employees and the communities in which we serve,"said Mary Rhinehart, JM's President and CEO.
State and local officials in Alabama welcomed the announcement.
"Alabama workers make all kinds of great products, and I am honored that Johns Manville has decided to expand its state-of-the-art plant in Scottsboro with new capital investment that means more jobs for Alabama residents,"Gov. Robert Bentley said. "Creating jobs and opportunity in the state is my No. 1 priority, and we are committed to helping Johns Manville achieve success with this project in Jackson County."
"JM has been an important member of our community for eight years,"said Scottsboro Mayor Melton Potter. "Their recent capacity expansion and the announcement of adding a second line shows JM's confidence in our workforce to produce the best TPO in the industry. I thank JM for choosing to make this investment in Scottsboro and Jackson County."
In October 2008, JM's commitment to single ply manufacturing was solidified with the opening of a state-of-the-art TPO facility in Scottsboro. JM furthered its investment in single ply in 2012 with the opening of an EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) manufacturing plant in Milan, Ohio.
The new TPO production line will bring JM's total investment in commercial roofing over the past eight years to approximately $200 million. Together with putting money back in the American economy and bringing more than 175 jobs to the manufacturing sector, JM's continued investments allow growth in the industry and extend JM's areas of roofing expertise and available products.
To meet recent demand for JM TPO, JM began a capacity expansion project in March 2015 at the Scottsboro plant. Construction was completed in May, and now work will begin to construct the second production line.
"The plant expansion was a huge success and made our Scottsboro facility what is, in our view, the most productive and efficient TPO facility in the United States, enabling us to meet our customers' needs for the foreseeable future,"said Jennifer Ford-Smith, JM's Director of Marketing and Single Ply. "This new line will give JM the ability to supply our customers with even more JM TPO than was previously available."
Senior Vice President and General Manager Robert Wamboldt said, "We're proud to be a part of the commercial roofing industry, and we believe our 157-year history demonstrates that we are here to stay. This new production line will help JM meet customer demand and remain a supplier of choice in our industry."
JM TPO Starts Strong, Stays Strong, and is Real-World Proven. It continues to be chosen as the most preferred product in blind challenges by roofing professionals.
About Johns Manville
Johns Manville, a Berkshire Hathaway company (NYSE: BRK.A, BRK.B), is a leading manufacturer and marketer of premium-quality building and specialty products. In business since 1858, the company has annual sales of approximately $2.6 billion and holds leadership positions in many of the key markets that it serves. Johns Manville employs approximately 7,000 people and operates 44 manufacturing facilities in North America, Europe and China. For more information, visit www.jm.com.
Holly Leiker, 303-475-1690
The Daily Sentinel
September 18, 2015
By Wes Mayberry
Nytef Plastics, a division of the Henagar-based Polymer Industries, is bringing a production plant to Pisgah.
According to Polymer Industries' Ashoo Saigal, the company is relocating its Nytef manufacturing plant from its current location in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, to a location in Pisgah.
"Polymer Industries already has a plant in Henagar, and we wanted to bring Nytef closer to this location," Saigal said. "The plant will employ about 50 people and will make semi-finished plastic products for industries. It's an extension of what Polymer Industries already does but with a completely different product line."
Saigal said work on the new location has already begun and that he looks for it to be fully operational by July of 2016.
Polymer Industries acquired The Nytef Group in July of 2013. Nytef is a manufacturer of engineering plastics and high performance materials in a wide variety of rod, plate and tubular bar sizes.
"Our recent purchase of Nytef Plastics in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, has enabled us to add a wide range of engineered plastics and high performance materials in a variety of shapes and sizes to our manufacturing portfolio," Polymer Industries says on its website.
Polymer Industries, one of the leaders in the manufacturing of polyolefin products, supplies material to a variety of industries including food processing, materials handling, architectural, marine, construction and semiconductor electronics. Polymer's products are used in cutting board sheets, playground equipment, restroom partitions, computer keyboards, mouse pads, signs, marina doc bumpers, conveyor parts and more. The company ships products throughout the U.S. and all over the world.
GOOGLE TO LOCATE DATA CENTER TO JACKSON COUNTY, ALABAMA
On June 24, 2015, Google announced plans to build a $600 million data center in Jackson County, creating up to 100 jobs at a state-of-the-art facility designed for efficiency and powered by renewable energy.
The data center will act as a hub for internet traffic, operating in a network that keeps the Google search engine and company products such as Gmail and YouTube up and running for global users 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The project was announced at a press conference at the Widows Creek Power Plant on the banks of the Tennessee River in Jackson County in the beautiful Mountain-Lakes Region of Alabama, where the data center will be constructed.
Google will build the new data center on 350 acres of land owned by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) at Widows Creek, which is being shut down as part of a process that began in 2012.
"For more than 50 years, the Widows Creek plant has generated electricity for the region. Now the site will be used to bring internet services and information to people around the world - powered by 100 percent renewable energy," said Gary Demasi, Director of Global Infrastructure at Google. "We see a lot of potential in redeveloping large industrial sites like former coal plants, and we're excited to bring a data center to Alabama."
Google's data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa, is one of 13 facilities operated by the technology giant. Google's data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa, is one of 13 such facilities operated by the technology giant. Governor Robert Bentley, who spoke at today's press conference, said Google's decision to locate its newest data center in Alabama underscores the advantages the state can offer high-tech companies.
"Google is one of the world's most innovative companies that just about every Alabamian interacts with daily," Governor Bentley said. "Google's decision to build a data center in Alabama is the start of a long-lasting state partnership that will provide a significant boost to our state's high-tech sector, provide good jobs for our citizens and position the state for additional growth in this important industry.
"I appreciate Google's significant investment in Alabama, and I am pleased to welcome them to Sweet Home Alabama," he said.
POWERED BY RENEWABLE ENERGY
Google will use the site's many electric transmission lines to bring in renewable energy to power the data center. The company will find new renewable energy projects and work with TVA to bring the power onto the authority's electrical grid.
"Economic development is a vital part of TVA's mission to serve the people of the Tennessee Valley. TVA is committed to a diverse energy portfolio and providing reliable, low-cost and ever-cleaner energy to attract new companies and investments to the region," said TVA President and CEO Bill Johnson.
"Google could have located their next data center anywhere in the world, but they chose a soon-to-be retired coal plant site with the right infrastructure in rural Alabama," Johnson added. "What began as a power generation facility will now become a data center harnessing the power of the internet to connect people all over the world."
In addition, the data center will incorporate Google's most advanced efficiency technologies, which today allow the company to get 3.5 times the computing power out of the same amount of energy, as compared to just five years ago. (Take a look inside Google's data centers.)
Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said data centers produce many positive economic benefits, including well-paying jobs with highly technical skill sets, a supplier support system, and possible infrastructure upgrades.
"Google has established itself as the world leader in efficient data center technology," Secretary Canfield said. "With the growing reliance on cloud computing projected to continue boosting the growth of data center operations, we think our relationship with Google will yield other opportunities in the future."
He added that the project is the first recruited under Alabama's specialized data center incentives, passed in 2012, and the Alabama Jobs Act, an overhaul of the state's economic development incentives platform passed this year.
Dus Rogers, president and CEO of the Jackson County Economic Development Authority, said he expects Google to be a great civic partner throughout the region because of its strong track record of supporting education, career development and other local causes.
"Having Google set up shop in our backyard will not only benefit Jackson County but also the entire region because we can say that one of the world's best-known brands decided to be our partner," Rogers said.
Google said the Alabama data center will be its 14th globally and its first new U.S. location since 2007. It recently expanded its data center sites in Georgia, Iowa, Singapore and Belgium.
Scottsboro Designated a Valley Sustainable Gold Community
The City of Scottsboro has been designated as a Valley Sustainable Gold Community in Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA) economic development program. Scottsboro recently completed the program sponsored by TVA and developed and administered by consultant Boyette Strategic Advisors (BSA). "Our community has implemented sustainable practices that are quite impressive for a city the size of Scottsboro. Because of this recognition, companies focused on sustainability will take notice and this will build on our existing economic development marketing efforts." said Marilyn Lott, Marketing Director for Jackson County Economic Development Authority (JCEDA), the organization that took the lead in participation of the program and established a Sustainability Team that helped document Scottsboro's environmental, economic, and social goals.
The Valley Sustainable Communities Program, now in its second year, was initiated by TVA Economic Development as part of its community preparedness offerings to assist communities in evaluating existing sustainable programs, cataloging their sustainable assets, and increasing future commitments to sustainability. "Our goal in participating in this program is to attract new investment and jobs by demonstrating to companies looking to invest in new or expanded locations that we're competitive and forward-thinking," said Dus Rogers, President and CEO of JCEDA.
"We are proud that the City of Scottsboro has successfully completed the Valley Sustainable Communities Program," said Del Boyette, President/CEO of Boyette Strategic Advisors. "The gold level designation recognizes that a community has community-wide sustainability initiatives in place, with programs available to support the existing business community and promote economic development."
Sustainability has become a key issue for economic development organizations and communities as more corporations have demonstrated an increasing commitment to sustainability. More than 90 percent of corporate real estate executives who responded to a CoreNet Global survey on sustainability said that it is a consideration in their company location decisions. The typical reasons for this corporate commitment are reduced operating costs for increased profitability and greater employee satisfaction.
"This program is the first of its kind to connect the dots between corporate America's commitment to sustainability and its impact on economic development, which ultimately will ensure that our communities are more prepared to compete in global markets," added John Bradley, TVA Senior Vice President of Economic Development. "We are seeing that more and more companies have an increasing business emphasis on sustainable operations, and are adding this component to their RFIs as they search for a community where they can locate, grow, and enhance their company and employee sustainability commitments."
Thirteen communities were recognized as Valley Sustainable Communities in 2013, and an additional 12 communities are seeking recognition this year. In addition to completing the inventory of sustainable assets and utilizing the Valley Sustainable Communities designation in their marketing materials, communities that complete the program also receive marketing support from TVA Economic Development.
"The City of Scottsboro has already made a significant commitment to sustainability," said Mayor Melton Potter. "This Valley Sustainable Gold Community designation provides us with the opportunity to document, plan for, and further develop our ongoing sustainable initiatives."
Read more about the program at TVA ED.
Guide to Sustainability
Press release in pdf