By DWIGHT OTWELL
Tuesday, June 2, 2009 8:08 PM
Murphy – As early construction stages of the new Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., is under way, Cherokee County industrial leaders are trying to lure one or more automotive supply plants to the county.
Kathy Johnson, representing Southeast Industrial Development Association, told the Cherokee County Economic Development Association Friday that Cherokee County is in a position to serve Volkswagen and other automobile plants to the east, such as BMW.
Johnson believes that Volkswagen will use suppliers that are as far away as an hour or more from the plant.
Johnson said small companies, with as few as 15 employees, have become automotive suppliers.
“Our main thing is getting information about existing sites [in Cherokee County] out,” Economic Development Commission Chairman Tom O’Brien said.
Johnson said 7.4 million cubic yards of earth have been moved in six months at the site. On May 21, the official raising of the wall for the paint shop was done.
Although some employees from Germany will be brought to the plant, most who fill the 2,000 Volkswagen jobs and the 9,500 jobs with suppliers of the plant will be area workers, said Jill Bratina, Volkswagen of America’s media relations director.
Paul Worley, director of business outreach services for Tri-County Community College, said most of the county’s companies have been holding strong. The county lost 98 jobs because of the closure of Coats American in Marble but that was made up by gains in jobs at Industrial Opportunity Inc. More here.