Genera Announces $350 Million Manufacturing And Distribution Operations Expansion In Monroe County

  • Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Governo Bill Lee, Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Stuart C. McWhorter and Genera officials announced on Wendesday the company will invest nearly $350 million to expand production and distribution at its Vonore, Tn., Sustainable Biomaterials Campus.

Genera will create more than 230 new jobs in Monroe County over the next five years, bringing the company’s total headcount in Tennessee to approximately 350 people.

The expansion adds 150,000 square feet to the existing facility and state-of-the-art equipment, including more than 60 robotically controlled thermoforming machines, a fleet of autonomously guided vehicles and automated packaging lines.

Initially founded under the University of Tennessee System, Genera has grown to become North America’s largest vertically integrated manufacturer of circular, compostable packaging solutions for food and consumer products, retail, and food service. Genera’s products are made from locally grown regenerative grasses, offering consumers sustainable alternatives to plastics with direct benefits to local farms and communities and a significantly lower carbon impact. Genera is headquartered in Vonore, with an innovation center in Houston.

Since 2019, TNECD has supported 55 economic development projects in the East Tennessee region, resulting in approximately 8,000 job commitments and $2 billion in capital investment. 

Governor Lee said, “With a strong business climate, highly skilled workforce and sound infrastructure system statewide, Tennessee is poised to support new and existing business growth. I thank Genera for creating hundreds of new jobs for families across rural East Tennessee and look forward to the positive impact this project will have on the Monroe County community.”

TNECD Commissioner Stuart C. McWhorter said, “Agriculture is a key driver of our state’s economy and will be further strengthened thanks to Genera’s significant investment. This expansion would not be possible without dedicated community leaders that have taken the necessary steps to attract new business to Vonore and Monroe County, and we are proud to take part in helping bring this project to fruition.”

Genera CEO Ben Mascarello said, “Tennessee continues to be an ideal location for Genera to lead the transition to a biobased economy. We’ve developed great long-term partnerships with local landowners, and we’ve built an extremely talented team. Robust financial commitments from our ownership group are enabling us to rapidly scale our manufacturing to meet the needs of our growing customer base.” 

Monroe County Mayor Mitch Ingram said, “We are truly blessed that Genera not only chose to call Monroe County home but also continues to invest in our county with this expansion. We are thrilled to be a part of this announcement, as it’s a testament to our county's commitment to economic growth. This enterprise signifies a harmonious integration of our robust agriculture and thriving manufacturing sectors, showcasing the collaboration that propels our community forward. As county mayor, I believe this partnership not only strengthens our local economy but also sets a precedent for sustainable development, solidifying our position as an example for progress in the state."

John Bradley, TVA senior vice president of economic development said, “TVA and Fort Loudoun Electric Cooperative congratulate Genera on its decision to establish operations in Monroe County. Working to attract new job opportunities and investment in the region is fundamental to TVA’s mission of service. We are proud to partner with the Monroe County mayor’s office, Monroe County Commission, Monroe County Economic Development, City of Vonore, Tellico Area Services Systems, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and East Tennessee Economic Development Agency to further that mission and celebrate this announcement together.”

Senator Art Swann (R-Maryville) said, “This is major news for Vonore. Genera is creating more than 230 new jobs, which will boost the local economy and provide more quality jobs for the community. Congratulations to Genera for their success. I appreciate the work of state and local officials who worked with Genera to help facilitate this major expansion." 

Rep. Lowell Russell (R-Vonore) said, “This expansion is a significant investment by Genera that will benefit our community and its future. Not only will this project create hundreds of new jobs, but it will make our local economy even stronger. I congratulate everyone involved with this announcement and appreciate Genera’s continued commitment to Monroe County.” 

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