LANETT, Alabama – In commentary published on AL.com, Knauf Insulation CEO Mark Andrews outlined reasons the Indiana-based company recently decided to restart and upgrade operations at a mothballed Alabama factory.
On Jan. 24, Andrews was on hand at a ceremony to mark the re-opening of the state-of-the-art plant in the Chambers County city of Lanett, where Knauf Insulation now employs 120 people. Andrews was joined at the event by Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield and other state and local officials.
At the Lanett ceremony, Andrews told the crowd he was bullish on Alabama, which was selected over other locations across the nation for the project. In commentary published this week, he said he wanted to elaborate on the factors that led Knauf Insulation to “invest significant capital” in Alabama.
Andrews noted these reasons:
- “We are here because we like doing business in Alabama. We genuinely feel a real sense of partnership with the state.”
- “From the state to the local level, we find officials who believe in cooperation and teamwork. They understand business. They know our success is their success.”
- “All state governments encounter the difficult challenge of developing public policies that translate into economic opportunities for their citizens and businesses. Alabama meets that challenge every day, allowing companies like ours to thrive and hire new employees. It is for this reason Knauf Insulation is excited to manufacturing insulation in Alabama again and looks forward to a bright future in the state.”
Andrews also said Alabama’s top-ranked job-training programs were a major factor in the company’s decision. AIDT, a division of the Alabama Department of Commerce, has worked with companies such as Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Austal and Airbus. (Read about AIDT’s long partnership with Mercedes.)
“Alabama puts a tremendous amount of effort into attracting and retaining employers ,” Andrews noted. “That effort is exemplified by hiring and training programs that are second to none that we have found. Alabama virtually guarantees us a workforce with the skills we need to succeed.”
RECYCLING GLASS BOTTLES
Knauf Insulation’s Chambers County plant recycles 835,000 glass bottles each day, turning those bottles – 300 million a year – into glass strands that become energy-saving insulation used in buildings. It’s the largest insulation factory in the Southeast.
The facility, which opened in 1988, was shuttered in June 2011, following the collapse of the residential construction market. Its future in the east Alabama city of 6,400 residents was uncertain until Knauf Insulation began preparing for a recovery in the construction business. The plant resumed operations late last year.
Andrews said the Chambers County plant could even become a resource for recycling projects that would allow Alabama to reduce the amount of glass waste sent to landfills.
Knauf Insulation, part of the international Knauf family of companies, operates 40 plants around the globe, with $2 billion in annual sales.