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    Success Starts Here DAS

    Success Starts Here Tour Spotlights Existing Industries

    January 2016
    By David Zaslawsky   
    Photography by Brian Carter

    When automotive supplier DAS North America first set up shop in Montgomery, the company had 60 employees, an initial capital investment of $11 million and was filling a single program for the Santa Fe vehicle. 

    About 11⁄2 years ago, the company, which produces seat components as a tier 2 supplier to both Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama’s plant in Montgomery and the Kia facility in West Point, Georgia, had grown to 400 employees. That initial capital investment had grown to $37 million after moving into its new 360,000-square-foot facility at Montgomery Industrial Park.

    Now DAS, which sends it seat components to Lear Corp., has five programs: Sorento, Optima, Santa Fe, Elantra and Sonata. And the company added 115 employees last year to increase its workforce to 532. The initial capital investment has reached $60 million, after climbing nearly $21 million last year.

    The growth story is not over. DAS had reached its capacity, supplying parts for 750,000 vehicles, so the company is adding two stamping presses to be able to supply 950,000 vehicles. That additional capacity could mean another 150 employees, according to DAS North America Chief Operating Officer James Uhm. He said that the company hopes to supply components to the Kia plant in Mexico and also is looking at supplying automakers in Detroit.

    W. Russell Tyner, 2015 Montgomery Chamber Chairmanof the Board, introduces Capitol ContainerPresident Bill Kennedy.

    It was one of three companies recognized during the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce sixth annual Success Starts Here bus tour. Hancock Bank and Capitol Container Inc. were also recognized on the tour, which spotlights new capital investment and increased jobs from existing industries.

    “If you’re out there expanding in the community, you’re not going anywhere, so that gives us great confidence and it’s a great compliment,” Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange said.

    The total capital expenditures announced through early December were nearly $148 million, which protected 7,012 existing jobs. There were also 1,418 jobs announced in 2015.

    “It speaks volumes that they want to continue to stay in Montgomery … and bring more jobs,” Montgomery County Commission Chairman Elton N. Dean Sr. said about the existing companies.

    Strange credits existing industry with helping to sell new industry considering Montgomery.

    Hancock Bank announced the addition of 55 jobs and now has 272 employees in its central operations facility at the Capitol Commerce Center in East Montgomery. The firm added a collections center to its back room operations, said Chuck Johnson, senior vice president/director of lending services for Hancock Bank.

    The bank has branches in Alabama, Florida and Mississippi and under the Whitney Bank banner, has offices in Louisiana and Texas. Hancock Holding Co., the parent company, has $21 billion-plus in assets.

    Capitol Container Inc. announced a $1.9 million capital investment that included $1.2 million for a 30,000-square-foot expansion. “If it wasn’t for the city, county and Chamber, it wouldn’t have happened,” Capitol Container President Bill Kennedy said about the expansion, which gives the firm 200,000 square feet.

    The company, which manufactures corrugated boxes, had “maxed out” its space, Kennedy said. With the expansion, which will be used for warehousing and manufacturing, the company increased its capacity by about 20 percent, Kennedy said. The expansion was needed after Capitol Container gained two clients in Alabama, two in Georgia and one in Mississippi, according to Kennedy.

    “This is what really drives the economy of Montgomery, Alabama – these local, home-owned, (home-) grown companies that are doing business with other local, home-grown companies,” Strange said.

    Success Starts Here Hancock Bank

    Chuck Johnson, senior vice president/director of lending services for HancockBank, talks about his firm’s expansion at the Capitol Commerce Center.

    Elected leaders, business executives as well as the media rode the bus to the three businesses to celebrate new jobs and new capital expenditures. “Existing industries are the backbone of our local economy,” W. Russell Tyner, 2015 chairman of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, said in a statement. “The Montgomery Chamber Success Starts Here tour is just one small way we can show our appreciation for all they add to our community.”

    Stacia Robinson, agency principal for The BeneChoice Companies, which sponsored the tour, said, “This is all about existing jobs and the quality of life in Montgomery.” Her company assists businesses with payroll, benefits and communications.

    “The businesses we’ve visited today and so many throughout the River Region are to be commended for their contributions to our economy and to our entire community,” Dean said in a statement.

    Other companies that announced jobs or increased capital spending in 2015 were AEP Industries Inc., A-HiTECO, Big Lots Stores Inc., Chowel Weldparts Inc., Custom Stud of Alabama Inc., Expert Global Solutions (EGS), Glovia – Total Safety Corp., Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, Hewlett-Packard, Kinpak Inc., KOAM Maintenance LLC, Rheem Water Heaters, RockTenn, Russell Brands LLC, SYKES Enterprises Inc., UPS Inc. and Varner Woodwork.

  • Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce
    600 S. Court St, P.O. Box 79
    Montgomery, Alabama 36101
    Tel: 334.834.5200   Fax: 334.265.4745

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