Industry is in the lifeblood of the River Region. One of its cities founding fathers, Daniel Pratt, was the state's first major industrialist. Pratt established a cotton gin manufacturing plant and founded Montgomery's neighboring city of Prattville. He was instrumental in transforming the state from a predominantly rural agrarian economy to a more diverse industrial economy devoted to manufacturing.
Today, Montgomery and the River Region are home to a diverse array of manufacturing companies, from small, specialty operations to national and international corporations. Rheem, Sabel Steel, Steris, and Neptune Technologies have been leaders in the community for decades. Other players, like Coca Cola Bottling Company UNITED, have recently expanded operations in the area.
The arrival of Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA) in 2005 – the first U.S. assembly and manufacturing facility for Hyundai motors – was arguably another game-changer. Hyundai announced it had chosen Montgomery as the site for its new facility in 2002 and opened its $1.7 million state-of-the-art facility in 2004. Along with it came a host of automotive parts suppliers, which located facilities and employed hundreds more people throughout the region.