Manufacturing a range of pressed parts and structural components for the automotive and automotive-supply industries, voestalpine’s Stamptec division will land its first facility in the Southeast in the Cass-White Road industrial park, marking the first land sale for the Cartersville-Bartow County Joint Development Authority in the 707-acre park.
“It’s a good company to go into our park to begin with and hopefully will open us up to be seen by other suppliers to the automotive industry as a place that is favorably located and a good place to do business. We are just really excited about the possibility of these folks coming here and locating here,” said JDA Chairman James Jarrett. “The division we’re talking with is the Stamptec division, which is actually headquartered in Germany. They are an excellent company, a very large European company, and supply most all of the European automobile companies. Of most interest, in particular, to us is the fact that Mercedes and BMW are some of their customers and we have those located on each side of us — one in Alabama and one in South Carolina.”
The voestalpine Group is an international conglomerate operating 400 production and sales companies in more than 60 countries on five continents with approximately 46,500 employees. Voestalpine Metal Forming operates several units, including the Stamptec division for automotive body parts.
The company has plans for an expedited construction project in order to begin shipping product as early as July 2013. A groundbreaking likely will take place in six to eight weeks.
“It’s a very old company. It is a very, very large company. They started diversifying in the 1970s and they created several divisions, but the main product of the company is steel making and that was what they initially started doing and then they started taking those steel products and began fabricating them and stamping them and creating automobile parts and they created the division that is located in Germany. This is their first American plant and I think it’s a big deal — a real big deal,” said Cartersville City Attorney David Archer.
Wednesday morning, immediately prior to a special called commissioner’s meeting, the JDA also held a special called meeting in the commissioner’s conference room to sign two memorandums of understanding. The agreements take action to define the scope of the project, allow for a bond allocation to finance the project and recognize the possibility of property tax abatements. The memorandum allows for 15 acres to be purchased within Highland 75 with an option to purchase 17 additional acres within three years. The second memorandum of understanding was to approve application for a $275,000 grant to help cover land acquisition or property improvement.
Voestalpine will be the county’s sixth manufacturer within the automotive industry and the 20th international manufacturer located in Bartow. The company has made an agreement to give priority to Bartow County job applicants and the MOU included several “clawback” provisions, ensuring that the company will pay back incentives if hiring and investment goals are not met.
Bartow County Commissioner Clarence Brown, however, has no doubt the company will meet and exceed its growth goals. After speaking with representatives, Brown is hopeful for voestalpine’s Bartow County operations.
“They had a lot of pressure in Alabama to go to Alabama because that’s where Mercedes wanted them to be, but this company thinks big. They don’t want to just serve Mercedes, they want to serve BMW in South Carolina and they’re interested in Volkswagen in Chattanooga — they want to expand,” Brown said. “This could turn out to be one of the biggest things that ever happened to Bartow County. ... Two other companies are already interested in being next to them. So that’s why I’m saying this could turn out to be really big, but even with just this, this is a great day to be hiring this many people and I think the beginning of the industrial park with a huge investment. It’s been a long time and it would have went faster but with the economy the way it is, I think, really slowed it down. And the big investment that we made was kind of scary when the economy went downhill, but it is starting to pay off and it will pay off a great deal in the future.”
Jarrett also spoke to the years of work and investment that have gone into Highland 75. Land acquisition began for the master-planned industrial park in 2004 as a coordinated effort between the city of Cartersville and Bartow County with guidance from a board of business leaders on the JDA. That cooperation was touted by Jarrett and others involved with the project as a key draw for voestalpine.
“It was very much a team effort between the authority and our local officials and our attorneys. We worked it as a team from the very beginning and I think that made a big difference in the way the company saw our community. They said several times in the last meeting that they felt really comfortable about coming to our community because they received a really warm welcome and all the help and support they could imagine,” Jarrett said. “As much talk as we hear today about bringing manufacturing jobs back to America, this is a good example of that. Bartow County is an example of success that comes through leadership and planning. I was looking at some numbers this week and the percentage of manufacturing-related jobs in Bartow County is over twice that in the nation. It doesn’t happen accidentally, it has to happen intentionally and it takes leadership over long periods of time to make that happen. I appreciate the leadership we’ve had in the past and look forward to a bright future.”
The Georgia Department of Labor Cartersville Career Center will handle job applicants when the company is ready. Until that time, job seekers may send their resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org. Vendors interested in contracting services in the building process may email email@example.com.