By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Last week, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) announced that Donghee America, Inc., plans to invest $48 Million in Auburn which will lead to the creation of 80 new jobs, many of them high paying engineering positions.
Governor Bentley said in a written statement, “Alabama has a strong workforce and a positive business climate, and that helps us recruit well-paying jobs for the people of this state. Alabama’s role in the automotive industry continues to grow. We are working with state and local economic developers for more good opportunities, and this announcement is a great example of what a strong economic development program can accomplish. We welcome Donghee America to Auburn and look forward to working with company leaders to help them succeed and even expand their business here in Alabama.”
Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard (R) from Auburn said, “I am truly convinced that Alabama is the most business-friendly state in the nation, and Donghee America’s decision to invest in Auburn proves just that. Our pro-business, pro-private sector focus has paid off and is exemplified by Alabama’s steady growth in the automobile industry. I’ve always known that Auburn was a great place for business, and I expect, thanks to the hard work of the city, county and our great citizens, that more companies will choose to call Auburn home.” Auburn Mayor Bill Ham, Jr. said, “Once again, we’re thankful for our great relationship with Governor Bentley and the State of Alabama and all that they do to benefit Alabama’s economy. Donghee America is a great fit for Auburn’s industrial community and will bring innovation and high-tech jobs to our economy.”
Chairman D.H. Lee of Donghee Group said, “The NAFTA location in Alabama will allow Donghee America to better serve our customers, Hyundai and Kia. I appreciate the support from the State of Alabama under the leadership of Governor Bentley. We are looking forward to a prosperous and successful partnership between the State of Alabama and the Donghee Group. Soon, we will be able to say, ‘Made in Alabama!”
Donghee America will manufacture fuel tanks to serve the nearby automobile plants in Montgomery and West Georgia. The highly-sophisticated manufacturing process will require that Donghee America employ a large number of engineers. The process of hiring key members of the production team has already begun.
Donghee America will be located at the corner of Innovation Drive and Riley Street in the Auburn Technology Park West. Site preparation for the project began in early March and construction of the 117,000 square foot manufacturing facility is scheduled to be complete later this year.
The President of Donghee America, Gyung-Soo Kim said, “Our special gratitude goes out to Mayor Ham and the leadership at the City of Auburn. The general conditions we find in the City of Auburn will allow for the necessary support that Donghee America will require moving forward with our state-of-the-art manufacturing operation.”
The City recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the international automotive parts company making the project a reality.
Speaker Hubbard (who represents the area) said on Facebook, “I’ve always known that Auburn was a great place for business, and I expect, thanks to the hard work of the city, county and our great citizens that more companies will choose to call Auburn home.”
The announcement is more good news for both Gov. Bentley and Rep. Hubbard. Both are likely to face challenges in the 2014 election and a record of creating jobs and opportunities for voters will likely buoy their reelection chances considerably.
Auburn is one of the bright spots in the Alabama economic landscape and is a location that is convenient to both the Hyundai plant in Montgomery and the new Georgia Kia plant.