The announcement last week that Kia supplier Mando plans to expand its Meriwether County site is good news for Hogansville.
The company is building a new casting facility next to its current plant in the Meriwether County Industrial Park, which splits the county line and is partially included in Hogansville’s city limit.
Mando expected to create about 660 new jobs by 2020.
“We are glad to see another 660 jobs come into our area,” said City Manager James Woods. “What a fantastic Christmas present for the unemployed in Hogansville and the surrounding communities.”
Mando originally announced plans to build in Meriwether County in September 2011, a ceremony that brought Gov. Nathan Deal to Greenville to celebrate.
Hogansville took a hit, however, earlier this year when the William Carter Company plant announced it would close and move operations to a consolidated distribution center, taking 300 jobs out of Hogansville. The city then nearly lost its local GED classes, which many former Carter employees are likely to use, before a fundraising effort restored the program.
Carter’s is the largest utility costumer Hogansville has. Mando’s expansion means the city will be selling the company more gas and sewer service on top of what it already is using.
The Mando plant currently makes electric power steering and antilock brake systems for Kia and other automakers and supplies brake, steering, suspension and drive shaft parts to Ford, General Motors and Chrysler as well as Kia and Hyundai. The Meriwether County site is the company’s third location in the United States, joining Opelika, Ala., and Plymouth, Mich.
“The additional Mando jobs at Meriwether Park grow the tally to 1,400 jobs there,” said Hogansville councilman and mayor pro-tem Jack Leidner. “The original Kia deal promised 2,800 jobs. So we now have the equivalent of half a Kia coming now to Exit 28. That’s great for Hogansville and Meriwether County.”
The new 317,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art casting facility in Meriwether Industrial Park will further expand Mando’s footprint in the United States, supporting the company’s manufacture and assembly of a new line of energy-efficient automotive parts, according to a press release from Deal’s office. The casting facility will initially serve Mando’s Machining/Electric Power Steering Gear/Electronic Stability Control Module facility in North America.
With this expansion, Mando will become the largest employer in Meriwether County.
“We are extremely pleased that Mando has chosen our county to locate the new facility, and we certainly appreciate the investment and the new jobs they will create,” said Meriwether County Commission Chairman Nancy Jones. “I am so proud of the total spirit of cooperation by all parties, to make this expansion happen and grow our industry in Meriwether County.”