'Most Aggressive Schedule Ever'
Delivering on 80 Pages of Promises
sidebar: Not All Is Automotive in Alabama
ALABAMA SPOTLIGHT, page 3
Delivering on 80 Pages of PromisesThe economic impact on Alabama has been huge. In a region of the state that has a normal jobless rate of 12 to 13 percent, the Hyundai jobs are among the region's most coveted ever.
Bill Lang, spokesman for HMMA, tells Site Selection that the workers are so well trained by the state that they could work in Korea.
"Some of our team members, after only four hours on the job at the Hyundai plant in Korea, were working on the assembly line," he says. "There is a very strong work ethic in Alabama. The people love to work."
Phyllis Wesley, communications coordinator at AIDT, says, "The people of Alabama are so excited about these jobs. The work force has a strong tradition of showing up on time every day and working a full day. They undergo a lot of training just to qualify for the jobs at Hyundai, and you can tell that they really appreciate the opportunity."
President Kim also saluted the partnership that made the project happen: the Alabama Development Office; Alabama Power; Economic Development Partnership of Alabama; AIDT; CSX Railroad; Alabama Department of Transportation; Alabama Department of Environmental Management; Alabama Gas Company; the mayor's office; Montgomery County government; and the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce.
Ellen McNair, director of special projects and corporate development for the Chamber, says the project has been so successful that Hyundai has already attracted more suppliers than Honda and Mercedes-Benz did in their first year in Alabama.
"You can see the impact in other ways," McNair adds. "Local sales of Hyundai vehicles have doubled since the company announced it was coming here. There have been nine different construction projects going on simultaneously at the site, including a brand new substation for Alabama Power."
The power demand of the factory, upon full production, will be 30 megawatts, says Chris Bell, vice president of economic and community development for Alabama Power.
In addition, Alabama Gas installed new gas lines. Alabama DOT built a new bridge and widened what was Teague Road into Hyundai Boulevard. A Foreign Trade Zone was created on site.
"Our Family Support Office for Hyundai made sure that every Korean who moved to the Montgomery area received everything they needed to thrive, from visas to driver's licenses to school records to English language training," says McNair, noting that the entire project team of state and local officials is committed to delivering on every promise made in an 80-page, $252.8-million incentive package.
The next step for Hyundai? Lang says the site has plenty of room for expansion, but the company won't commit to any additional investment until its current plan is fully implemented and successful.
President Kim, however, hints that Hyundai probably isn't finished expanding in Montgomery.
"When HMMA becomes a success, we will be able to do even more for Montgomery and the state of Alabama," he said. "Hyundai looks forward to growing with you, together."
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