Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! Chamber Hosts Virtual Automotive Hiring Event

Ready for some good news/bad news?

The bad news first: Yes, there are a lot of people out of work, some people who are not sure their jobs are coming back post-COVID, and others facing instability in their current jobs and careers.

But there is a lot of good news for these people: Huntsville has jobs available, and lots of them – particularly in the automotive industry.

The Huntsville-Madison County Chamber of Commerce is hosting a virtual North Huntsville Automotive Hiring
Event Wednesday with Mazda Toyota Manufacturing and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama, as well as other automotive industry-related companies.

The companies will do virtual presentations about the work they do and what their jobs entail. They will meet with job seekers to discuss the jobs they have available (entry-level and above); and talk about the companies’ culture and expectations.

According to Lucia Cape, senior vice president of Economic Development at the Chamber, they will be using a platform called Remo, an interactive online recruitment environment.

“Ideally, we would do this in an auditorium where we could get people in the room talking to each other face-to-face,” Cape said. “But this is the closest thing we could find with COVID still a threat.

“There will also be a presentation from AIDT, Alabama’s statewide industrial training and recruitment group which does most of the hiring for production jobs.”

Cape said there are openings now with great opportunities to make a career change.

“If you know someone who is out of work, or concerned about their job or their career, given the changes in our economy, encourage them to check this out,” Cape said. “We are experiencing a lot of growth – we have never had this kind of OEM activity before … we are always looking for ways to support these companies, while making sure the community benefits from these great job projects.”

There are two sessions Wednesday: 4-5 p.m. and 5-6 p.m. with spots for 200 people per event.

Cape said if they max these two sessions out, they will host another one. She said there will likely be similar events well into the first quarter of 2021.

“Remember, the Chamber’s job site at https://asmartplace.com/work/find-a-job has jobs posted from other industries and other employers all the time,” she said. “But we had a particular push right now with Mazda Toyota and Toyota Alabama for specific positions that are available now.”

To register in advance for the 4 p.m. event, go to bit.ly/NorthHSVautojobs1.

To register in advance for the 5 p.m. event, go to bit.ly/NorthHSVautojobs2.

Automotive companies that would like to join the job fair should contact Cape at lcape@hsvchamber.org.

 

Mazda Toyota Manufacturing to Launch Second Phase of Mass Hiring

Mazda Toyota Manufacturing, the Mazda Motor Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp. joint-venture automotive plant, will resume hiring for production team member positions Dec. 7.

Company and state officials will discuss the hiring opportunities during a Facebook Live event at 3:30 p.m. Thursday. It is open to the public.

“When you join the Mazda Toyota Manufacturing team you become a part of something bigger. Our production team member positions are career opportunities on a world-class team of highly-skilled, high-trained coworkers supported by leadership committed to the individual success of each employee on our team,” said Janette Hostettler, vice president of Production. “We looked forward to launching this next phase of hiring and encourage all interested in joining our team to tune into the Facebook Live event to learn more.”

“The partnership between the State of Alabama and Mazda Toyota Manufacturing has been great not only for our state but also our citizens,” said Ed Castile, Deputy Secretary of Commerce. “We’re proud to support their hiring and training needs as they move into the next phase of their process and give more Alabamians an opportunity to jump start their manufacturing careers.”

The positions are direct hire, full-time positions. Starting wage for production team members is $17/hour with a top grow in wage of $23/hour plus shift premium. Production team members are provided benefits on their first day of employment including paid time off, vehicle discount program, and medical/dental/vision.

Eligibility to participate in the company’s 401k with 6 percent employer match begins just 60 days after employment. Interested candidates may submit their application beginning Dec. 7 at MazdaToyota.com.

Facebook Live Details:
Date: Thursday, Dec. 3
Time: 3:30 – 4 p.m.
Link: www.facebook.com/aidtedu

Featured speakers are Hannah Hartline, Communications Specialist II, AIDT; Janette Hostettler, VP of Production, Mazda Toyota Manufacturing; Jena Huskey, Talent Acquisition Specialist, Mazda Toyota Manufacturing; and Mitch Hewlett, Production Team Leader in Assembly, Mazda Toyota Manufacturing.

 

Toyota Names Jason Puckett as President of Huntsville Engine Plant

Jason Puckett, who currently serves as vice president, Administration at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana, has been named president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Alabama in Huntsville.

Jason Puckett

The Huntsville plant assembles four-, six- and eight-cylinder engines – the only Toyota facility to assemble all three engine styles.

Puckett succeeds David Finch, who will return to Toyota South Africa Motors as senior vice president, Manufacturing. Finch has been instrumental in leading the Huntsville plant’s $288 million expansion effort, including a new 150,000 square-foot V6 engine assembly line, and the creation of 450 jobs.

David Fernandes

Puckett started his career with Toyota in 1997 as a specialist in Assembly preceding TMMI’s start of production. He has held a variety of roles in Indiana including vice president, Manufacturing; general manager, Bodyweld and Stamping; and general manager, Production Control. Puckett spent two years at Toyota’s manufacturing and engineering headquarters as general manager, Corporate Strategy, responsible for overall manufacturing strategic initiatives in North America.

David Fernandes, the former president of the Huntsville facility who is now senior vice president, Manufacturing, Toyota South Africa Motors, will become president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Mississippi. The plant just north of Tupelo assembles one of Toyota’s core vehicles, the Corolla.

In this role, Fernandes will be responsible for all manufacturing and administration functions.

KTECH Expands Workforce Training Initiative in Partnership with Toyota Plant

It was a matter of seeing is believing for Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama.

After company representatives toured the classrooms and labs at Huntsville’s KTECH, the two forged a partnership for KTECH to provide workforce training support and advanced technology capabilities to the Huntsville engine plant’s growing  team.

Launched in 2016, KTECH is a workforce development program created by founder Lee Marshall for her Kids to Love Foundation, targeting young adults who have aged out of the foster care system.

The program also reaches out to anyone in the community, such as veterans, who can use the skills. It focuses on providing certified skills training that will leverage them into good-paying career jobs and, since then, has proven to be a successful workforce training model.

According to Marshall, officials with the engine plant approached in February with a request for customized training. In August, KTECH trained the first Toyota team members.

“Innovation is a key component to the advanced manufacturing industry,” said Marshall. “The ability to train for that industry has been part of KTECH’s strategic plan from the beginning.

“Adding this component positions KTECH to expand our student base beyond those pursuing education alone, and includes students who have careers, but want to hone their expertise.”

Joe Steder, the plant’s maintenance and facilities manager, said after touring the KTECH facility, company leaders saw first-hand the superior caliber of students enrolled and identified KTECH as an opportunity to further support their training needs.

“KTECH developed customized courses that our skilled maintenance technicians can take locally, which provides tremendous benefits to our team,” said Steder.

“The objective of the class is to introduce, familiarize, and build skillsets for using cobot and vision tools,” said Keith Laney, Skilled Maintenance Group leader.  “The top down training approach reflects how technicians actually perform on the job, making it very effective.”

KTECH Workforce Development Director  Dorothy Havens said the organization hones in on the skills companies are seeking.

“Our biggest challenge is filling the number of advanced manufacturing jobs in our community, and connecting with the current workforce so our students have instant industry access. It is a win for everyone,” said Havens.

To date, KTECH has awarded 134 certifications and found graduates jobs at more than 20 local companies.

Mazda Toyota Manufacturing Unveils Corporate Logo

As its massive auto plant nears completion, Mazda Toyota Manufacturing unveiled its corporate logo.

The logo, which was developed through partnership with local marketing agency Red Sage Communications, is rich in symbolism and was designed to represent Mazda Toyota Manufacturing’s mission, vision, values and ties to North Alabama, the company said in a news release Tuesday. Mazda Toyota Manufacturing is a joint manufacturing venture between Mazda Motor Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp.

“The development process for the MTM logo was very intentional. We solicited the collaboration and support of our entire team – from production employees to executive officers – to ensure there was meaning in nearly every facet of the design,” said Mark Brazeal, Mazda Toyota vice president of administration, “We want North Alabama to see our logo as a reminder of our commitment to serve as a hometown company as much as we want our team to be inspired and motivated to build the highest quality products for our customers every day.”

“The opportunity to work collaboratively with Mazda Toyota Manufacturing’s team to develop their new logo and brand identity was tremendously exciting. We were honored to be chosen for the partnership,” said Ellen Didier, Red Sage Communications founder and president. “The company’s brand values of innovation and collaboration, as well as a desire to relate to and connect with the North Alabama community, were key inspirations for the design.”

The logo, which reads “MTM”, is composed of two sides joined by three lines representing the company origin and foundation of support from its parent companies, Mazda and Toyota. It also includes meaningful design elements such as use of a custom red that was created through a mix of three shades of paint; Alabama state red, Toyota red and Mazda soul red. The blend was created by students at Limestone County Career Technical Center and was painted on the vehicle cabs used to complete assessments at the AIDT/MTM Assessment Center.

“As we prepare to resume applications for Production Team Members in the upcoming months and continue to make strides toward start of production, we are so proud to reveal our logo to the community,” Brazeal said. “We look forward to being here, building our team and offering exciting opportunities to join us for many, many years to come.”

Mazda Toyota has hired more than 750 employees and the $2.311 billion facility is expected to create up to 4,000 jobs and will have the capacity to assemble up to 300,000 vehicles a year, beginning in 2021.

Drake State Holds Signing Day for Students Entering Mazda Toyota Program

Drake State Community & Technical College held its first Signing Day Ceremony, but it didn’t have anything to do with athletics.

But a pair of students did commit to going to the next level in their education and careers.

Darise Andrews and Jack Crowley signed on the dotted line and put on their ballcaps as they committed to apprenticeships with Mazda Toyota Manufacturing. They are the first Drake State students to enter the program.

Drake State and Mazda Toyota Manufacturing  developed the apprenticeship program to support workforce needs at the  automotive production plant and provide students with work-based learning  opportunities. 

As student-interns, Andrews and Crowley will attend classes at Drake State two days a week and work at the Mazda Toyota plan three days. They will also be assigned mentors.

 

Toyota Engine Plant Has 150 Job Openings in Production and Maintenance

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama is recruiting for 150 positions to meet immediate production and skilled maintenance needs.

The job openings are part of the Huntsville engine plant’s $830 million expansion, originally announced in 2019. In a news release, the company said assembly lines will increase annual engine production to 900,000 with 1,800 total employees by the end of 2021.

“Toyota is looking for outstanding individuals who like to problem solve and work as part of a team,” said April
Mason, TMMAL general manager. “Manufacturing experience for production positions is not required because we train employees on our processes using Toyota Way principles. Skilled maintenance jobs require experience or an associate’s degree in industrial maintenance.”

Starting wages are $17.38 an hour for production employees and $26.31 for skilled maintenance, with an additional premium for 2nd shift. All positions include health insurance and paid time off.

To apply online visit (for production) www.toyotamanufacturingjobs.com/al-production and (for skilled maintenance) www.toyotamanufacturingjobs.com/al-skilled-maintenance.

Toyota employees represent various backgrounds and previous job experience.

“Our focus on diversity stimulates creative solutions for continuously improving our operations,” said Mason. “We need more people to join our incredible team.”

TMMAL was recently named Supplier of the Year by the Alabama Automotive Manufacturing Association and is Toyota’s only facility globally to produce 4-cylinder, V6 and V8 engines under one roof.

Huntsville-based Toyota Alabama Named Alabama Automotive Manufacturing Association Supplier of the Year

The Alabama Automotive Manufacturing Association recently named Toyota Alabama as a 2020 Supplier of the Year. The award recognizes manufacturing suppliers for outstanding achievements in areas such as innovation, quality, safety and commitment to the community.  

“Toyota’s incredible response throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has gone above and beyond to address the  situation, develop plans and quickly adapt to changes,” said Ron Davis, president of AAMA. “They engaged  with their peers from across the globe to develop creative solutions to ensure a safe work environment for  employees. Toyota then shared this knowledge across the state to help schools and businesses also prepare  for return.”  

Additionally, to support local healthcare facilities and first responders with personal protective equipment, the Huntsville plant produced and distributed 10,000 commercial grade face shields.  

“Our ability to produce face shields in mass quantities is a testament to our incredibly skilled workforce and passion for sharing knowledge to meet community needs,” said Larry Deutscher, Toyota Alabama general manager of Manufacturing Support.  

The Huntsville plant produces approximately 700,000 (4-cylinder, V6 and V8) engines per year to Toyota vehicle assembly plants across North America; it is the only Toyota plant to make all three engines. In 2021, production will increase to more than 900,000 engines per year upon completion of the plant’s  latest expansion, bringing its total investment to $1.2 billion.  

To help inspire the next generation for a career in STEM-based fields, Toyota also recently launched a virtual  education hub at www.TourToyota.com with an immersive experience and chance to visit U.S. manufacturing facilities. The hub includes a series of free STEM-based lessons and curriculum through Toyota USA Foundation partners, virtual field trips and more.  

Year-to-Date: Huntsville Area has Seen More Than $1 Billion in New Capital Investment and 850 New Jobs

Did someone say there is an economic downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Well, the facts on the ground do not bear that out here, according to the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce. 

“With COVID-19, this has certainly been a challenging year, but in spite of all that is happening, Huntsville still continues to see job growth in all parts of our City,” said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle. “Whether it’s Torch Technologies in South Huntsville, Dynetics in Cummings Research Park, or TriRx in Chase Industrial Park, there are buildings going up and sites being delivered.

“When you combine that with the ongoing work at North Huntsville Industrial Park with Facebook and Toyota and the numerous projects at Mazda Toyota, it’s a remarkable statement to the resiliency of the Huntsville market and its industries.”

Year-to-date economic growth figures show the Huntsville metropolitan region has accrued more than $1 billion in capital investments from new commercial projects, company expansions, and from companies that have increased the scope of previously announced projects in 2020. That growth will also result in 852 new jobs across the region.

“Throughout 2020, Madison County and Huntsville have continued the work in bringing new and innovative business and industry to our community while also supporting expansions among our industry partners,” said Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong. “Our diverse economy continues to be robust year after year. With a focus on workforce development the future of the Rocket City and Redstone Arsenal will continue to drive the economy of Alabama and southern Tennessee.”

The bulk of the growth will come from four large Huntsville company projects and four smaller, but significant, projects this year. However, due to coronavirus restrictions limiting celebratory groundbreakings, grand openings and open house events, many of these projects have been operating under the public radar.

“We want to celebrate every expansion, but this year, it has been challenging to do that in a safe way,” said Lucia Cape, the Chamber’s senior vice president of economic development. “These companies are important to our community and to the people they employ, and we want to recognize their growth.” 

Rendering shows the Freedom-Torch-Invariant facility from the south parking lot.

Torch Technologies leads with $32.3 million in investment on two recent expansion projects that will bring 120 new jobs to Huntsville. 

First announced in April 2018, Torch has completed its Technology Integration and Prototyping Center (TIPC) with two-story office space and an attached 10,000-square-foot high-bay facility at the corner of Chris Drive and Vermont Road in South Huntsville. Constructed by its sister company, Freedom Real Estate & Capital, the center includes a 35,000 square-foot lab and solutions facility.

According to board member and Torch President & CEO John Watson the new facility will allow Torch to take on projects of greater complexity.

“These projects will range from developing instruments that will completely change how warhead testing is accomplished, to re-engineering products that protect our nation,” Watson said.

The second Torch expansion is part of a partnership with the Invariant, a Huntsville-based engineering services and software development company founded in 2001. 

Invariant President David Anderson: “We have been neighbors with Freedom Real Estate and Torch Technologies for several years and look forward to continuing those relationships.” (Rendering/Invariant)

Invariant is investing $430,000 in a 92,000 square-foot facility as part of a mixed-use facility being built by Freedom in South Huntsville. 

The facility will consist of office, research, development, and manufacturing space. They quietly broke ground in May and expect the facility to be complete by next summer. Invariant’s growth will produce 23 new jobs.

“We are excited to grow and expand into this new facility that will provide our employees the resources needed to ensure quality services and products are delivered to our customers,” said Invariant President David Anderson. “We are proud to be a part of Huntsville’s continuing success. We have been neighbors with Freedom Real Estate and Torch Technologies for several years and look forward to continuing those relationships.”

Japan-based freight and logistics provider Nippon Express USA will invest $19.1 million in its location on the campus of Mazda Toyota Manufacturing, U.S.A. over the next two years. They expect to hire more than 100 employees over that period.

After being acquired by Leidos in January, Dynetics will add up to 200 jobs associated with weapon development work, and has hired hundreds of people this year in support of the Human Landing System and other projects. The expansion brings the company’s local employment to 2,740. 

Those four expansions represent a total of 510 new jobs and $71 million in investment.

Four more companies, Aldez, TriRx Pharmaceuticals, Palco Telecommunications and Ridgeview Industries have also significantly expanded in Huntsville.

Aldez is an inventory management and distribution company and has a new facility near the sprawling Mazda Toyota Manufacturing facility. (Photo/Aldez)

Aldez is an inventory management and distribution company with a focus on the automotive industry. Its operations in the SouthPoint Business Park, a couple of miles from the Mazda Toyota plant, will provide maintenance, repair and operations crib management and distribution center services for the MTMUS facility.

“This new, state-of-the-art facility is a strategic move that will allow us to serve MTMUS manufacturing’s newest automotive facility in Huntsville, Limestone County, and enable further growth with their supplier base,” said Aldez COO Mike Byrne. 

“These economic development projects have changed the future of our county by their investments and job creation,” said Limestone County Commission Chairman Collin Daly. “The opportunities provided to our community through these projects will have a lasting impact for years to come.”

TriRx Pharmaceutical Services celebrated its one-year anniversary in Huntsville in May. According to Timothy C. Tyson, chairman and CEO, the Huntsville Liquids, Creams and Ointments Facility has grown from a small number of employees to more than 250 people as of June. 

“We would like to thank our employees, our customers, and our community for their amazing support,” said Tyson. “We continue to be focused on and dedicated to the patients we serve. This has been an exciting year accented by growth with a passion for delivering on our commitment to our customers. And we have just begun.”

Palco Telecommunications, a post-sales supply chain management company started in Huntsville in 1986; and Ridgeview Industries, Inc., a metal stamping and welded assemblies’ manufacturer for automotive OEM, have also among the announced expansions in Huntsville.

“It is exciting to see these quality organizations continuing to grow, building off of their previous successes and adding even more jobs in our community,” said Madison Mayor Paul Finley. “I am excited about the opportunities these companies bring for our region as we continue to grow together.” 

Toyota Revs Up E-Learning Support in Madison County With Donation, Launch of Virtual Learning Hub

As virtual learning continues across the area, many students are still in need of laptops and Internet access to complete schoolwork. 

To help meet the need, Huntsville City Schools, Madison City Schools and Madison County Schools will receive $200,000 from the Toyota USA Foundation for devices and Internet access to help students with distance learning. 

“This is an exciting announcement for schools, teachers and students across our community,” said Elizabeth Fleming, The Schools Foundation Executive Director. “COVID-19 has strained school budgets tremendously as districts plan for in-person and remote learning for more than 55,000 students.

“The silver lining is seeing the community support for our schools and Toyota has been a tremendous partner in education from day one.” 

The funding announced today is part of a national effort to help more than 350,000 students gain access to virtual learning in 13 states where Toyota has operations. 

“All students deserve equal access to education,” said April Mason, Toyota Alabama general manager. “The foundation typically supports STEM, but the pandemic has exposed deeper issues that are a barrier to good education.” 

Toyota also debuted an education hub, providing virtual tours, fields trips, STEM-based lessons, and more. The community can virtually visit Toyota Alabama and step into the future to discover how Toyota is building a mobile society. 

Education hub resources are free and available to the public by visiting Tour Toyota Education Hub