HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — Executives of Remington Outdoor Co. and top officials from Alabama said today that the pioneering firearms maker will open a state-of-the-art production facility in Huntsville that will eventually employ more than 2,000 people and boost Alabama’s global manufacturing reputation.
Remington, a major U.S. producer of shotguns and rifles, selected Alabama over two dozen other states after a thorough site-selection process. Remington Chairman and Chief Executive Officer George Kollitides said the Huntsville facility will help the company meet record customer demand and support the launch of new products.
Kollitides joined Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and others at the Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County for the project announcement. At the event, Kollitides said the company considered factors such as workforce availability and business-friendly policies in making its decision.
“Huntsville won hands down,” he said.
The company will invest significant capital to update a former Chrysler electronics plant at the Jetplex Industrial Park, located adjacent to the Huntsville International Airport. After the upgrade, the facility will give Remington 500,000 square feet of new manufacturing space, and operations can begin within 18 months.
“With demand for our products at a historic high and more new product launches planned for 2014 than ever before in our 200-year history, we are investing in the future,” said Kollitides, who added that Remington’s workforce has swelled by 75 percent since 2008 to 4,200 today.
Governor Bentley said Remington will benefit from Alabama’s advantages and enjoy the same kind of success that other companies have experienced. At the event, Bentley presented Kollitides with a plaque showing Alabama’s seal.
“Today’s announcement will create over 2,000 jobs to Huntsville, and reflects a statewide capital investment of $110 million,” Governor Bentley said. “Our relationship with Remington is just beginning, and I look forward to a continued partnership with the company.”
AIDT, the state’s top-ranked job training agency, will assist Remington in the project. The company plans to carry out research and development at the Huntsville facility, where its workforce will include highly skilled tradesmen and engineers.
MANUFACTURING SKILL SET
Remington’s precision firearms manufacturing operation represents a new dimension for Alabama’s advanced manufacturing sector, which has been expanding with the growth of the state’s automotive, aerospace, metals and shipbuilding industries.
The state is home to Mercedes-Benz, Honda and Hyundai assembly plants and a constellation of parts makers supplying them, as well as a Toyota engine plant in Huntsville. Airbus is building a passenger jet production facility in Mobile, and the state’s robust aerospace sector has been growing with new projects.
“Alabama’s pro-business environment and its highly skilled work force are making our state a choice destination for top-flight companies like Remington, Airbus and Mercedes-Benz,” Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield said. “Remington is a historic brand, and this project proves that Alabama can compete against any state. We look forward to a long, fruitful relationship with this great company.”
Canfield said the recruitment reflected Alabama’s team approach, which included contributions from utilities including TVA, which provided incentives for the project, as well as cities and counties throughout a broad swath of North Alabama.
Huntsville, which has a population of 180,000, is known for its engineering and manufacturing prowess. The city is home to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, which has played a major role in U.S space exploration, and the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal. Many aerospace companies have operations in the city, including Raytheon and Boeing, which recently announced plans to open a technology research center.
The north Alabama high-tech hub is also a manufacturing center. The Toyota facility, now undergoing its fifth significant expansion in a decade, is the automaker’s only location in the world that produces four-cylinder, V-6 and V-8 engines under one roof.
The former Chrysler building where Remington will establish its operation is located in a site with prime logistical advantages. The Port of Huntsville, which includes the Jetplex Industrial Park and the airport, also boasts an intermodal center with rail service from Norfolk Southern.
“With news of this Remington facility expansion, we have yet another example of Huntsville fulfilling its economic development promise,” Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said. At today’s announcement, he added: “This is Remington country.”
Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong added that the Remington project will bring “new diversity” to the Huntsville area economy and will provide “an array of opportunities for skilled tradesmen, engineers and support personnel.”
The only U.S. producer of both firearms and ammunition, Remington designs, manufactures and distributes its products to more than 60 countries. Product lines include well-known brands such as Remington Arms, Bushmaster, DPMS, Marlin and Barnes Bullets.
Remington, now based in Madison, North Carolina, was founded in upstate New York in 1816 by Eliphalet Remington II, who produced a gun on his father’s forge that he used in a shooting competition. The gun was so impressive that orders started flowing in, giving birth to what today is one of the nation’s oldest continuously operated manufacturing businesses.
The company sells its products to hunters, marksmen, police agencies, government entities and law enforcement organizations.
Remington is credited with a number of pioneering firearm developments and continues to operate an advanced research and development network, which led to the introduction of the R-51 handgun this year, with other products set to debut in coming months.
“2013 was an outstanding year during which we grew by every key measure,” Remington CEO Kollitides said. “We are capitalizing on this momentum by strengthening our positions across the board.”
READ the press release on Remington’s Alabama expansion project.