Auto parts manufacturer steered toward Jasper
by David Lazenby
Sep 08, 2010 | 5699 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
David O’Mary, chairman of the Jasper Industrial Development Board, speaks at Tuesday’s meeting of the Jasper City Council at which officials announced that Amtex North America plans to build a facility in Jasper. Listening to O’Mary is Mayor Sonny Posey, right, and David Knight, executive director of the Walker County Economic and Industrial Authority. (Photo by: David Lazenby)
David O’Mary, chairman of the Jasper Industrial Development Board, speaks at Tuesday’s meeting of the Jasper City Council at which officials announced that Amtex North America plans to build a facility in Jasper. Listening to O’Mary is Mayor Sonny Posey, right, and David Knight, executive director of the Walker County Economic and Industrial Authority. (Photo by: David Lazenby)
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Jasper city officials announced Tuesday that an international manufacturer of products used in automobile assembly plans to set up shop in Jasper, a venture expected to create 60 new jobs by the second year of local operation.

Mayor Sonny Posey said he is thrilled about the recruitment of Amtex North America, a subsidiary of Hayashi Telempu Co., Ltd., a 100-year-old company founded in Nagoya, Japan. The company primarily produces automotive interior products.

"We as a group don't get too many chances to celebrate our successes, especially lately due to our country's recent economic hardships," Posey said about the city's elected officials and volunteers involved in industrial recruitment.

"However, today is an exception," the mayor added.

Amtex plans to invest $12.8 million toward to construction of the facility that will be located at the Tom Bevill Industrial Park. The estimated annual payroll is $1.5 millon.

Posey said Amtex has agreed to a five-year lease that includes an option for an additional five years. Initially, the company will provide 40 jobs in Jasper when it becomes operational.

David O'Mary, chairman of the Jasper Industrial Development Board, said he has concluded past presentations he made to the Jasper City Council by reminding officials that a bright future awaits Walker County and Jasper.

"I'm pleased to be here today to deliver the goods," O'Mary said.

David Knight, executive director of the Walker County Economic and Industrial Authority, said the city's funding of the Jasper Industrial Development Board has paved the way for the recruitment of Amtex.

"Your funding of the Jasper Industrial Development Board has allowed that entity to put product on the ground that provided us -- the Industrial Authority -- with marketable materials to put on the ground," Knight said in reference to the city's industrial parks and their infrastructure and four spec buildings.

Recently, the city accepted bids for construction of a road that will allow commercial access to the Jasper Industrial Park. The $3 million road is expected to take about a year to build.

Knight added that he especially appreciates the city's financial contribution toward industrial development during "recent times of tight budgets and reduced revenues."

An Amtex press release read aloud by O'Mary at Tuesday's meeting states that the Jasper plant will complement the company's four existing facilities in North America by "focusing on the growing customer base in Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee."

Amtex North America currently provides products used in vehicles built at the Toyota plant near Tupelo, Miss.

Posey said Amtex will be the only first-tier Toyota supplier with facilities in Alabama. "They also have a strong list of other customers," he said.

With headquarters in Lebanon, Ohio, Amtex North America currently has facilities in Manteca, Calif., Stratford, Ontario and its newest plant in San Antonio, Texas, which came on line earlier this year. Amtex also has plants in Thailand, South Korea and China.

While courting Amtex North Ameria, O'Rear and Knight visited the company's facility in Ohio.

"We visited the facility to get a better idea of what Jasper plant could become," said Knight.

Posey said it has been several years since there has been such a major announcement regarding industrial development in Jasper.

He added that area industrial developers may have additional good news in the near future.

"We still got some bait on the hooks and we've got some bites out there," Posey said.

Council President Gary Cowen said he was "impressed" with the progress made by the local industrial recruitment representatives, especially in light of the competition for industries among municipalities.

"I really think we're on the verge of seeing some breakthroughs," said Cowen who joined those in attendance at Tuesday's meeting in giving a a round of applause to Knight and O'Mary.