From staff reports
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A factory in Pulaski is expanding to add automotive lighting as part of its production there, the governor said Monday evening.
The expansion of Magneti Marelli will create 800 jobs in Giles County, Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty announced.
"Magneti Marelli's announcement ... has to be the biggest economic development project in the history of Pulaski Pulaski Mayor Pat Ford said. "The jobs that will be created are sorely needed."
Magneti Marelli will expand its Pulaski operation with a $53.7 million investment. A new automotive lighting operation will be housed inside the company's Pulaski plant managed by Kim Ketchum.
"The creation of these new jobs will have a large impact on the residents of this area," Hagerty said.
Marshall County Mayor Joe Boyd Liggett agreed.
"It's good for anybody around here," Liggett said Monday night. "This is the kind of news you like to hear for your region."
Pulaski is Marshall County Commissioner Tom Sumners' "home town," and he said, "I'm proud for Pulaski. I wish it could have been here."
Lewisburg Economic Developer Greg Lowe advocates "regionalism" as a concept for economic development and said growth in Pulaski "is good for the counties around us. It's good for us."
Haslam congratulated Magneti Marelli, adding, "Our Jobs4TN economic development strategy includes strong emphasis on several industry clusters, such as the automotive industry, in which the state holds a distinct competitive advantage, and on expanding existing Tennessee businesses."
Magneti Marelli's lighting division is a world leader in automotive lighting, having supplied some 20 million headlamps and about 22 million rear-lamps to carmakers around the world in 2011. The company is also a top global automotive systems and components supplier.
Hagerty pointed to Magneti Marelli's continued confidence in Tennessee.
It's a "testament to the exceptional workforce in Pulaski and the surrounding areas," Hagerty said. "With the strongest balance sheet in the U.S., Tennessee stands out to global companies like Magneti Marelli that undertake a worldwide review in determining where to locate and expand their operation."
The Pulaski operation is part of the company's lighting division with plants in Juarez and Tepotzotlan, Mexico. Magneti Marelli has 83 production units, 11 research and development centers and 26 application centers in 18 countries. The company's 34,000 employees work on electronic systems, lighting, powertrain, suspension systems, shock absorbers, exhaust systems, plastic components and modules, and motor-sport and aftermarket parts and services.
"What a great day for the citizens of Giles County," County Executive Janet Vanzant said. "Today's good news means jobs, and that is always good. Magneti Marelli has been a great corporate citizen for several years, and we all welcome this expansion."
Pulaski-Giles County Economic Development Council Executive Director Dan Speer also touted the regional impact: "This project is going to have a very positive impact throughout all of southern middle Tennessee. A great deal of hard work and cooperation went into this project."