Navistar to make $125M expansion here; add 145 jobs

Navistar, which has an engine plant in Huntsville, will expand its operations here with the addition of a gear box and engine manufacturing facility.

The Huntsville City Council approved an agreement with the company for the $125 million plant that will create some 145 jobs. Navistar employs 126 workers at its diesel engine plant near Huntsville International Airport. The new facility will be adjacent to the engine plant.

Navistar’s International A26 engine built in Huntsville.
(Navistar Photo)

“The Huntsville facility is an important part of Navistar’s manufacturing footprint, and we look forward to the new opportunities this investment allows,” said Lyndi McMillan, Navistar’s director of business communications. “This proposed expansion would increase the company’s capacity to continue to build its International A26 engine as well as produce its next-generation big-bore diesel engines in Alabama.”

Construction is expected to start next year with completion scheduled for December 2021. It will begin operations by the end of September 2022, according to the agreement.

Turner Construction Completes Work on Torch Technologies Integration and Prototyping Center

Turner Construction has completed work on Torch Technologies’ Technology Integration and Prototyping Center.

The $10 million facility at 4050 Chris Drive in Huntsville is part of Torch Technologies’ growing campus in South Huntsville and consists of a 35,000-square-foot, two-story office space with an attached 10,000-square-foot high-bay facility. It incorporates offices, labs and open vertical spaces where large pieces of equipment can be installed and tested.

Torch Technologies continues to invest in its South Huntsville campus, supporting the City of Huntsville’s efforts to redevelop South Huntsville, a once vibrant area of town that is seeing an increase in development.

The new Technology Integration and Prototyping Center is located across the street from the Freedom Center, a project Turner completed in 2017 that included the renovation of a 40,000-square-foot, four-story building at 4090 South Memorial Parkway to create Torch Technologies’ current headquarters.

“Our previous experience building defense and aerospace facilities in Huntsville and elsewhere made us ideally suited for this project,” said project executive Lee Holland of Turner’s Huntsville office. “We’re very pleased to continue our partnership with Freedom Real Estate & Capital and Torch Technologies and to help in the continued revival of South Huntsville.”

Collaborating with Turner on the project were Matheny Goldmon Architects AIA; 4Site (civil engineering and landscape architecture); SSOE (mechanical and electrical engineers); and PEC Structural Engineering.

“Having worked with Turner in the past on the construction of the Freedom Center, we knew the outstanding quality of work that the company is capable of delivering,” said Bill Roark of Torch Technologies and Freedom Real Estate. “Our Technology Integration and Prototyping Center will enable Torch to take on more complex projects than before, including developing instruments to advance warhead testing.”

Raytheon, United Technologies ‘Merger of Equals’ Creates Defense-Aerospace Giant

Raytheon and United Technologies have announced an all-stock agreement the two companies call a merger of equals.

It will also create the defense-aerospace giant Raytheon Technologies with an expected $74 billion in annual sales, second only to Boeing’s $101 billion. The transaction website is www.futureofaerospacedefense.com.

Both companies have a significant presence in Huntsville. 

“Today is an exciting and transformational day for our companies, and one that brings with it tremendous opportunity for our future success,” said Tom Kennedy, Raytheon chairman/CEO. “Raytheon Technologies will continue a legacy of innovation with an expanded aerospace and defense portfolio supported by the world’s most dedicated workforce.

“With our enhanced capabilities, we will deliver value to our customers by anticipating and addressing their most complex challenges, while delivering significant value to shareowners.”

The merger of Raytheon, a leading defense company, and United Technologies, a leading aerospace company, comprised of Collins Aerospace and Pratt & Whitney, will offer a complementary portfolio of platform-agnostic aerospace and defense technologies.

“The combination of United Technologies and Raytheon will define the future of aerospace and defense,” said Greg Hayes, United Technologies chairman/CEO. “Our two companies have iconic brands that share a long history of innovation, customer focus and proven execution. By joining forces, we will have unsurpassed technology and expanded R&D capabilities that will allow us to invest through business cycles and address our customers’ highest priorities. Merging our portfolios will also deliver cost and revenue synergies that will create long-term value for our customers and shareowners.”

Raytheon plans to consolidate its four businesses into two businesses: Intelligence, Space & Airborne Systems and Integrated Defense & Missile Systems. The new businesses will join Collins Aerospace and Pratt & Whitney to form the four businesses of Raytheon Technologies.

Hayes will be named CEO of Raytheon Technologies and Kennedy will be appointed executive chairman. Hayes will assume the role of chairman and CEO two years after closing. 

Mazda Toyota Pays Tribute to Huntsville’s Space History

As a tribute to Huntsville’s leadership role with the U.S. space program, Mazda Toyota Manufacturing, U.S.A., will name its two assembly lines Apollo and Discovery.

“Thanks to our team members’ creativity and innovative thinking, Mazda Toyota Manufacturing is proud to name our two future assembly lines Apollo and Discovery in a nod to our city’s heritage as the birthplace of our nation’s space program,” said Mark Brazeal, vice president for administration at MTM. “The scores of brilliant men and women who worked tirelessly to further mankind’s progress and exploration into the unknown gives our team motivation to add to the Rocket City’s history as a producer of world-class vehicles.”

Apollo was NASA’s program that resulted in 12 American astronauts walking on the moon. The Space Shuttle Discovery completed 39 missions, surpassing the number of flights made by any other orbiter in NASA’s fleet. Discovery also launched the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit and was the first American spacecraft piloted by a woman, Eileen Collins.

Construction of the MTM plant remains on schedule, with the start of production expected to begin in 2021. Up to 4,000 new jobs will be created and hiring is underway.

In August 2017, Toyota and Mazda announced a collaboration to establish MTM, a $1.6 billion joint venture that will assemble up to 300,000 vehicles annually. The plant is in the Greenbrier area of Huntsville-Limestone County.

Remington Furloughs 200 Huntsville Workers

Monday marked the first day of about a two-month furlough for some 200 workers at the Remington plant in Huntsville.

Workers are expected to return in early to mid-August, according to reports. Calls to Remington were not returned. Huntsville city officials were not available for comment.

The Alabama Department of Commerce said it provided Remington with information to help the affected workers.

According to reports, the furloughs were part of companywide layoffs across the company’s plants in Ilion, N.Y.; Lonoke, Ark.; and Huntsville.

It’s been almost a year since the nation’s oldest firearms manufacturer emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The bankruptcy saw $775 million in debt converted to equity and the company received $193 million in a new lending package funded by seven banks, including Bank of America.

Following the company’s bankruptcy, the City of Huntsville renegotiated the original incentive package that was put in place when Remington decided to locate in Huntsville.

The city council approved the new deal in November that gave Remington an extra three years
to meet its objective of employing 1,868 employees or the company forfeits its $12.5 million
incentive package provided by Huntsville, the Madison County Commission and the
Industrial Development Board.

The company has also lost $3 million from a withheld cash incentive payment from the state and repaid more than $500,000 for failing to meet various job and payroll targets, which was part of an overall $70 million incentive package, according to reports.

Auto Supplier DaikyoNishikawa to Locate First U.S. Plant in Huntsville, Creating 380 Jobs

Japan-based DaikyoNishikawa US will build a $110 million auto parts manufacturing facility in Huntsville, the company announced Tuesday.

“Huntsville welcomes DaikyoNishikawa to our growing regional network of automotive suppliers,” Mayor Tommy Battle said. “They’re joining an outstanding partnership with Mazda Toyota Manufacturing U.S.A., and we’re collectively witnessing the birth of a major automotive hub for the U.S. and the world.”

The company will be on-site at the Mazda Toyota Manufacturing U.S.A. assembly plant under construction. DNUS will create approximately 380 jobs and produce plastic automotive parts. Construction is expected to start in July and production slated for 2021.

DNUS is the first on-site partner announced for Mazda Toyota Manufacturing U.S.A., a $1.6 billion joint-venture assembly plant being built on a 2,500-acre site in the Limestone County portion of Huntsville.

“With this being DaikyoNishikawa’s first U.S. manufacturing facility, we welcome them home to Limestone County and look forward to being a key partner in their future success,” said Limestone County Commission Chairman Collin Daly. “This $110 million investment that will bring 380 new jobs is a testament to the strong workforce in our region that has earned global recognition.”

DNUS has established a temporary office in Huntsville and a human resources director to prepare for hiring. Jobs are listed at joblink.alabama.gov.

Limestone, Madison Counties Lead State in Capital Investment, Job Creation

Limestone and Madison counties topped all other counties in Alabama for new capital investment (CAPEX) and job creation, according to the 2018 New & Expanding Industry Report just released by the Alabama Department of Commerce.

Limestone County led the state with CAPEX of $1.7 billion, followed by Madison County with $1.1 billion in new capital investment. The Limestone County figures are heavily driven by the $1.6 billion Mazda  Toyota Manufacturing USA plant under construction in Huntsville-Limestone County.

Furthermore, according to the report, Limestone County ranked first in job creation at 4,172 jobs. Madison County ranked No. 3 at 1,043 jobs.

However, Harrison Diamond, Business Relations officer for the City of Huntsville, said the report contains a caveat.

“The numbers for our area are even better when you realize that Huntsville is now comprised of Madison, Limestone and Morgan counties,” said Diamond, “Limestone’s numbers included some investment not in Huntsville, but when you pull it all together, Huntsville’s CAPEX is $2.7 billion with 5,189 jobs created in 2018.”

Growth in automotive and aerospace remained strong in 2018, boding well for North Alabama, which has momentum for the rest of 2019.

The report outlines 357 economic development projects totaling a record-breaking $8.7 billion in CAPEX statewide with 17,062 jobs from new and expanding industries. That is the highest increase since 2015 at $7.1 billion.

“This success solidifies my belief that we are building a more dynamic economy in Alabama and creating a pathway to greater prosperity for its citizens,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

Projects in the City of Huntsville

Company                                                                  Year     Jobs                 Investment ($)

BAE Systems Inc. 2018 200 45,500,000
BWXT 2018 5 0
Custom Assembly inc. 2018 75 0
DC Blox 2018 5 10,867,600
Dynetics 2018 130 24,455,643
EOS 2018 100 2,500,000
Facebook 2018 100 750,000,000
Kohler 2018 149 175,470,698
LG Electronics 2018 159 28,100,000
Mitchell Plastics 2018 95 18,315,000
Mynaric USA 2018 2 0
Novocol Healthcare 2018 7 1,000,000
Radiance Technologies, Inc. 2018 60 18,990,000
Redline Steel 2018 50 11,111,454
St. Gobain 2018 2 13,000,000
Torch Technologies 2018 40 6,325,000
Toyota/Mazda JV 2018 4000 1,600,000,000
VT Miltope 2018 10 0

Total                                                                                                5,189               2,700,000,000

Mazda Toyota Plant Reaches New Heights with Milestone

With the first steel column now in place, construction is well underway for Mazda Toyota Manufacturing U.S.A. (MTMUS). Team members celebrated the milestone with a small gathering at the plant site Tuesday.

Despite a heavy rain season, construction of the $1.6 billion advanced manufacturing facility in Limestone County remains on schedule.

MTMUS President Masashi Aihara

“Today marks an exciting milestone for the MTMUS team and the state of Alabama,” said Masashi Aihara, president of MTMUS. “We are fully committed to this project and we can now see the beginning of our new campus taking shape.

“Soon, we will be proud to say ‘built in Alabama with pride.’”

Construction highlights include:
 * 3.0 million cubic yards of dirt graded for site preparation. This is enough dirt to fill the Empire
State Building twice!
 * 150,000 cubic yards of gravel poured to create the plant foundation, equal to filling 46 Olympic‐size swimming pools.
 * 2,500 construction workers projected to be on site by late summer 2019.

MTMUS is expected to create up to 4,000 jobs and is currently in the process of hiring professional staff and skilled maintenance positions. Additional job postings will be added throughout the summer, with production hiring starting later this year. Interested candidates can learn more at www.mazdatoyota.com.

Mazda Toyota Supplier to Bring 400 Jobs to Athens

ATHENS — The ripple effect of the Mazda Toyota Manufacturing Plant in Limestone County is creating several hundred jobs in Athens.

Toyota Boshoku will manufacture seat systems at a $50 million plant in the Breeding North Industrial Park on Sanderfer Road. Construction on the facility, which will take up some 42 acres, is slated to start next month.

“When we began our search for a new site to build our production facility, we looked at many locations,” said Dr. Shuhei Toyoda of Toyota Boshoku. “After an extensive search, we determined that Athens, Alabama, is the perfect fit.

“We are grateful for the assistance from the state of Alabama, the City of Athens and Limestone County to make this project a reality.”

The plant is expected to create about 400 jobs once full production is reached. Toyota Boshoku will supply seat systems for vehicles built at the Mazda Toyota plant some 30 miles away.

The Mazda Toyota Manufacturing US plant is expected to create some 4,000 jobs with another 4,000-plus coming to suppliers, such as Toyota Boshoku and other.

“Athens attracting one of the first Tier 1 suppliers for MTMUS speaks to our city’s attractiveness as a community and our great working relationship with several entities on industrial development,” said Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks. “From the state of Alabama to our Limestone County Economic Development Association and our other partners, we work well together to help industries invest in our community and provide jobs for our citizens.

“Athens appreciates Toyota Boshoku being the latest to invest in our city.”

Marks was joined by Gov. Kay Ivey, Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield, Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon, State Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur), and Limestone County Commission Chairman Collin Daly.

“We would like to welcome Toyota Boshoku America to Limestone County,” Daly said.

“This over $50 million investment that will bring around 400 new jobs is a testament to the strong workforce in our region that has earned global recognition.”

Canfield said the addition of Toyota Boshoku adds momentum to the state’s efforts in landing quality jobs.

“Alabama’s economic development team has been working hard to facilitate the formation of the supply chain for MTMUS, and Toyota Boshoku’s decision to locate in Athens will add momentum to our efforts,” Canfield said. “We expect to develop a long-lasting partnership with this outstanding company as it creates well-paying jobs in Alabama.”

Toyota to Add 450 jobs, Increase Production at Huntsville Engine Plant

With an investment of more than a quarter-billion dollars, Toyota announced Wednesday it is increasing its production and workforce at the Toyota Motor Manufacturing plant in Huntsville.

The automaker said the $288 million will increase the engine production capacity from some 670,000 per year to 900,000 by the end of 2021.

New production lines for Toyota’s four-cylinder and V6 engines will add 450 jobs to the Huntsville plant. The investment also includes a building expansion. Overall, the plant represents an investment of $1.2 billion.

The 450 new jobs is the largest hiring increase at the facility and will increase the number of employees to about 1,800.

“I’m so proud of our team members and their commitment to building world-class engines,” said Toyota Alabama President David Fernandes. “It is because of our workforce and statewide partnerships that Toyota has continued to grow and prosper in Alabama.

“The new engine lines will allow us to respond quicker to customer needs and strengthen our competitive edge in the industry.”

The engine plant, in the North Huntsville Industrial Park just off Pulaski Pike, is the cornerstone of the city’s diversified business base as it moves from being primarily dependent on federal dollars to commercial industry.

“Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama has been the backbone of Huntsville’s advanced manufacturing economy for 18 years,” said Mayor Tommy Battle. “This latest investment, the company’s seventh in Huntsville, signals Toyota’s confidence in our workforce and its commitment to continued investment in this facility – more than $1.2 billion to date.”

High points

  • Seven major investments (5 building expansions) since groundbreaking in 2001. 
  • The new $288 million investment will provide 4-cylinder and V6 engine lines to expand production capacity by about 35 percent, increase product flexibility and help better meet demand. This brings the total plant investment to $1.2 billion.
  • The two new production lines will create 450 jobs, increasing total employment to about 1,800.
  • The plant produces one-third of all engines built in the U.S and five times as many since stating production.
  • The 6 millionth engine was built in August 2018.
  • The only Toyota plant globally to build 4-cylinder, V6 and V8 engines under one roof.

The news builds upon Toyota’s expansive presence in the Huntsville area. Last year, Mazda and Toyota unveiled their plans for a joint vehicle manufacturing plant in Limestone County. The $1.6 billion joint investment will create up to 4,000 jobs with production slated for 2021.