$150 Million Griffin Wheel Plant Rolling into Tulsa
Chicago-based Griffin Wheel (www.griffinwheel.com), the world's largest producer of freight car wheels, has announced that it's going to build a US$150 million plant near Tulsa, Okla.
Griffin's new Oklahoma operation, which will make finished steel wheels, will be the company's largest manufacturing facility. The plant will have the capacity to produce 300,000 wheels a year. Griffin Wheel expects to employ about 250 full-time people in the 275,000 sq.-ft. (24,750-sq.-m.) plant.
The facility, which will melt scrap metal to produce Griffin's curved plate, "parabolic deep-dish" low-stress wheels for railroad cars and diesel locomotives, will have the technological capabilities to manufacture approximately 72 wheels per hour, according to company officials. The facility will operate around the clock 352 days a year, according to state permitting officials.
A division of Amsted Industries, Griffin -- which was founded by Irish immigrant Thomas Griffin all the way back in 1877 -- is building the new plant on a 306-acre (122.4-ha.) site located 10 miles (16 km.) northeast of downtown Tulsa. The Oklahoma location, according to officials at Griffin Wheel, was selected because of its proximity to customers and raw materials, the area's availability of a quality work force, favorable state and local business climate conditions, and railroad and highway access.
"Griffin's decision to build a plant here is yet another indication that Tulsa's economy continues to diversify," said Chuck Patterson, chairman of the board of the Metropolitan Tulsa Chamber of Commerce (MTCC at www.tulsachamber.com). The MTCC has been working with Griffin Wheel on the new plant location project for more than a year, Patterson said.
Griffin Wheel's new facility will also qualify for the Oklahoma Quality Jobs Program, say state officials. Created in September of 1993, the Quality Jobs Program has garnered considerable attention in corporate site selection circles. Economic development officials at the Oklahoma Commerce Dept. (www.odoc.state.ok.us) reported that the program since its inception has generated more than $1.8 billion in new payroll in Oklahoma.
The Quality Jobs Program provides quarterly cash payments of up to 5 percent of new taxable payroll. The cash is paid directly to qualifying companies for up to 10 years.
To qualify for the Quality Jobs benefits, a company must be either a central administrative office, a manufacturer, a research and development concern, or a specified service company. (A complete listing of the industry types that can qualify for the Quality Jobs Program is included at the end of this report.) In addition, qualifying firms must have 75 percent of their total sales to out-of-state customers.
As another requirement in qualifying for the Quality Job benefits, companies must achieve a taxable payroll of $2.5 million for any four consecutive quarters during those firms' first 12 quarters in the program. (A lower payroll threshold requirement of $1.5 million is available for certain food processing and research and development projects.)
Once the company achieves that payroll threshold, it can remain in the program for the rest of the 10-year period. However, it must maintain the $2.5 million payroll for four consecutive calendar quarters on a cumulative basis. If it doesn't maintain those levels, it doesn't receive the program's incentive benefits until the "four consecutive quarters" payroll requirement has again been met.
Griffin Wheel's decision to locate its new facility in Tulsa coincided with state officials' announcement of the expansion plans of five other corporate participants in the Oklahoma Quality Jobs Program. Those expansions will create almost 1,700 jobs in the next three years and more than 2,000 jobs over the next 10 years, according to state officials.
The announced expansions, with job projections for the next three years, include:
Industries Qualifying for the Oklahoma Quality Jobs Program