Bounty of projects sets stage for $1.6 billion in new Alabama investment

Bounty of projects sets stage for $1.6 billion in new Alabama investment
In business for the more than a century, Ohio-based Gregory Industries supplies the highway safety and road construction industries with roll-formed steel products. The company plans to invest $30 million to open a factory in Athens, creating 100 jobs. (Gregory Industries)

Alabama’s economic development team has plenty to be thankful for this November, as growth projects announced during the month are poised to pump more than $1.6 billion in new capital investment into the state’s economy.

The bounty of projects, involving a range of industries from bioscience to food products and logistics, will create more than 2,000 jobs in communities from Athens to Dothan and Montgomery.

“The Alabama economic development team’s chief objective is to help spark the creation of high-quality jobs throughout the state by strategically focusing on industries with solid long-term growth prospects,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

“Overcoming complex challenges shows that our team is executing on this plan and delivering results that make a difference for the state and its hard-working citizens,” he said.

New Alabama projects announced in recent days include:

  • Ohio-based Gregory Industries announced plans to invest $30 million to build a 325,000-square-foot facility in Athens’ Elm Industrial Park to produce highway safety products. The project will create 100 jobs.
  • Smith & Co., a precision computer numerical control machining startup, said it will invest almost $3 million to open a facility in Birmingham to serve the defense, aerospace and automotive industries. The company plans to hire 54 employees earning an average wage of $68,000.
  • In Auburn, SiO2 Materials Science launched a $123 million expansion of its manufacturing facility, allowing it to increase production capacity of its innovative vaccine vials and syringes that are critically needed in the fight against COVID-19.
SiO2 Materials Science in Auburn has seen a huge demand for its innovative vaccine vials during the pandemic, leading to plans for a $123 million expansion. The vials, made from a combination of plastic and glass, are highly resistant to breaking. (contributed)

Matt Gregory, CEO of Gregory Industries, said the new manufacturing campus in Athens will allow the company to expand its production capabilities and better serve customers in the Southeast.

“We are very excited at the prospect of creating more jobs and more business in northern Alabama,” Gregory said.

Robert Smith, founder and CEO of Smith & Co., said Birmingham is the perfect spot for his new venture, which will have 3-D metal printing capabilities.

“There is no comparison – the restaurants, events, proximity to other cities and the airport, cost of living,” Smith said. “Being in Birmingham will make it easier to attract talent, especially high-level engineers.”

Major growth projects

Well-known national brands also announced Alabama growth projects in November.

Topping the list is the J.M. Smucker Co., which is investing $1.1 billion in a manufacturing facility in the Birmingham region that will create 750 jobs. The project is believed to be the largest in Jefferson County’s recent history.

Also this month, internet retailer Amazon announced three separate growth projects that will create 900 jobs in Huntsville, Montgomery and Birmingham.

In addition, logistics powerhouse FedEx launched a project to open a $57 million facility that will create more than 200 jobs in Dothan.

“Alabama’s economic development team has managed to make impressive accomplishments in what remains a very challenging environment, locking up growth projects in key industrial sectors, such as automotive, aerospace, steelmaking, bioscience, forest products and more,” Canfield said.

“The pipeline of potential projects as we wrap up 2021 and head into a new year continues to look promising, and you can bet the Alabama team intends to build on the momentum we have generated,” he said.

This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.

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