Governor Bill Haslam and Economic and Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty, along with Alcoa officials, announced Thursday the company will expand its rolling mill in Alcoa, Tn., to meet the growing demand for light, durable and recyclable aluminum sheet for automotive production. The expansion at Alcoa’s facility on East Hunt Road represents a $275 million investment over the next three years and will add 200 permanent full-time jobs upon completion, as well as 400 jobs during the construction phase.
“I want to thank Alcoa for its new investment in East Tennessee and for 100 years of incredible service in Blount County,” Governor Haslam said. “Our Jobs4TN strategy identifies key industry clusters where Tennessee holds a unique competitive advantage, and we are grateful Alcoa is expanding its presence and joining in our state’s continued growth in the automotive sector. This is another step toward Tennessee becoming the No. 1 state in the Southeast for high quality jobs, and adding these jobs is a great way to celebrate an anniversary.”
“Innovation drives economic development, and Alcoa’s adaptability and growth over the past 100 years in our state is an ideal example of what can be achieved,” Commissioner Hagerty said. “I am pleased Alcoa recognizes Tennessee’s business-friendly climate, quality workforce and unique strengths within the global automotive industry.”
“Our Tennessee expansion is a great example of how Alcoa’s edge in technology and innovation is capturing growth opportunities in our value-added mid- and downstream businesses,” Alcoa Chairman and CEO Klaus Kleinfeld said. “More and more auto producers are turning to aluminum to increase the fuel efficiency and quality of their vehicles – we anticipate a quadrupling of auto sheet volume by 2015 and a tenfold increase by 2025.
“It is particularly gratifying to make this investment in our namesake community this year, which is both the 100th anniversary of our Tennessee operations as well as the 125th anniversary of Alcoa,” Mr. Kleinfeld added. “We have a very dedicated and highly engaged workforce in Tennessee and a very supportive community.”
The project will convert some of the plant’s can sheet capacity to high-strength automotive aluminum capacity, as well as install incremental automotive capacity. The Blount County expansion is scheduled to begin this month and be completed by mid-2015. When completed, the plant will be a key supplier to both the packaging and automotive markets. Much of the volume for the automotive expansion is already secured under long-term supply agreements.
“We're excited to be part of Alcoa's continued growth in Blount County," Blount Partnership President/CEO Bryan Daniels said. "It means a lot to this community that they stayed true to their roots."
"We are extremely proud of Alcoa and all that it does for this community,” Alcoa Mayor Don Mull said. “This expansion truly means a lot by showing Alcoa's commitment to continue to build upon itself and grow its business here."
"This is just another in a line of great business successes this county has experienced in the last 18 months,” Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell said. “The major addition in jobs and capital investment really shows Alcoa's confidence in the workforce of this area. We appreciate their commitment to expanding locally."
"A huge thanks goes out to Alcoa for seeing the benefit of staying local and adding to the continued economic development Blount County enjoys,” Maryville Mayor Tom Taylor said.
Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tn.) said, “Alcoa’s announcement fits right into Tennessee’s growing status as the premier location for auto suppliers. Auto jobs now represent 30 percent of Tennessee’s manufacturing jobs, and announcements like this mean that number will continue to grow.”