VisTech Manufacturing Solutions, a tier two automotive supplier, officially announced Thursday that it will set up operations in Jasper. The company is moving into a 63,000 square foot facility off Old Birmingham Highway and is expected to employ 50 people once at full staff.
“Our choice for a new plant location is due to the business-friendly environment cultivated by the State of Alabama, Walker County and the City of Jasper,” said John Jacinto, the company’s president. “We look forward to establishing our company as an asset to the community and developing relationships with other local businesses and residents.”
VisTech produces interior components for a large variety of automobile companies. The Jasper plant will begin by supplying products for the Toyota plant in Blue Springs, Miss., before ultimately producing items for the Nissan plant in Canton, Miss.
The announcement by VisTech on Thursday follows an announcement in late 2010 by Amtex, a tier one Toyota supplier, that it would be opening a plant in Jasper.
“For us to have two Toyota suppliers now in our community, that is a great step forward,” said David Knight, executive director of the Walker County Development Authority. “We are pleased to have VisTech here, and we hope it is a move that will cause other companies to look at our area.”
Lad Miklovic, plant manager for VisTech’s Jasper facility, said 25 to 30 employees will be hired for limited-run production, which should begin in October. During that time, Miklovic said VisTech Jasper will produce 15 to 20 vehicle sets per day. By February 2012, he said full production of more than 600 sets per day should begin. At that time, the Jasper facility will employ around 50 people.
“We are very excited to be in Jasper,” Miklovic said. “Everyone we’ve worked with has been very supportive. We’ve already worked with many local contractors, and they’ve all done a tremendous job. We think VisTech and Walker County will be a good marriage for a long time.”
Bruce Hamrick, chairman of the Walker County Commission, said VisTech’s arrival in Walker County couldn’t have come at a better time.
“Jobs and the economy are the No. 1 issue in our country right now,” he said. “This is a proven company which is locating in our area. They are going to bring more jobs, and it is one of many companies that I feel will help Walker County continue to move forward and make our future brighter.”
Jasper Mayor Sonny Posey said the announcement was exciting for local officials.
“We’ve known for quite some time that VisTech would be locating here, and we’ve been anxious to make this announcement,” he said. “VisTech associates closely with Amtex, and they have moved here right along with them. This is exciting news for our city and county.”