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Governor Ivey announces GE Appliances to create 255 jobs with expansion in Decatur

Gov. Kay Ivey at her first State of the State Address in 2018. (ADAM BRASHER/THE AUBURN PLAINSMAN)

Friday, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) announced that GE Appliances plans to invest $115 million in an expansion of its manufacturing facility in Decatur. The expansion will add 255 full-time jobs, bringing the plant’s total employment to nearly 1,300.

The investment will help GE Appliances increase production to meet increasing demand for its top-mounted freezer refrigerators and represents the company’s latest step toward fulfilling a strategic goal of becoming the leading major appliance business in the U.S.

“The expansion being announced today by GE Appliances reflects the company’s deep commitment to its employees at the Decatur facility and to the state,” Governor Ivey said. “We’re proud that this great company calls Alabama home, and we look forward to supporting the continued growth of a manufacturing location that has a substantial economic impact on the area.”

The expansion will add approximately 40,000 square feet to the plant, along with new cutting-edge manufacturing equipment that further advances GE Appliances’ plan to transition to a fully interconnected digital factory.

“Today’s expansion announcement is a reflection of the company’s commitment to our Decatur community and a testament to the accomplishments of the GEA-Decatur team,” Decatur Plant Manager Renee Story said. “This investment means we will not only be able to welcome more than 250 new associates and enhance our skill level, but also expand our relationships with local suppliers. We appreciate support from the State of Alabama, the City of Decatur, the Morgan County Commission, the Morgan Country Economic Development Association, and the Tennessee Valley Authority in helping make this investment possible.”

The Decatur operation is already the highest-volume GE Appliances refrigerator plant, producing GE and Hotpoint products that rank high in quality and dependability. It is also the largest industrial employer in Moran County and does $65 million a year in business with suppliers across Alabama. This advanced equipment and the expansion will boost production capacity by 25 percent and make the Decatur plant a “refrigerator super site” for GE Appliances.

“Our announcement today is great news for our business, for our GE Appliances family in Decatur, and for the State of Alabama,” said Kevin Nolan, President and CEO of GE Appliances. “Our $115 million investment in Decatur is a critical part of our plan to be the leading appliances business in the United States. We are already a significant member of the local Decatur community, and look forward to a continued partnership with Decatur and the entire state of Alabama for many years to come.”

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“GE Appliances’ decision to make a significant reinvestment in its Decatur manufacturing center and expand its workforce are strong indicators of the confidence the company has in its Alabama operation,” said Alabama Secretary of Commerce. “This expansion project strengthens the long-term partnership we have built with GE Appliances and enhances the competitiveness of the Decatur facility.”

The expansion of the Decatur plant comes as GE Appliances recently marked the second anniversary of becoming part of Haier, the world’s largest appliance brand. Since joining Haier in June 2016, GE Appliances has made a series of other major investments at its U.S facilities.

Economic Developer Nicole Jones told the Alabama Political Reporter, “Over the past few years, GE Appliances has made noteworthy investments in facilities around the United States, and GE’s most recent announcement is a testament to the company’s confidence in Alabama’s workforce, business climate, and quality of life.”

“The expansion of GE Appliances’ manufacturing facility will generate another significant economic boost for Decatur and Morgan County,” Nicole Jones told APR. “Every high-paying primary job creates an estimated 2.5 secondary/service-related jobs, resulting in more folks employed and spending money in and around the Decatur area – which is excellent news that a hardworking, dedicated community deserves.”

“A major employer for over 40 years, GE Appliances is a fixture in Decatur-Morgan County,” said Jeremy Nails, president and CEO of the Morgan County Economic Development Association. “This announcement of new investment and jobs is a reflection of our local workforce, business climate, and economic momentum. We are grateful to GE Appliances for this expansion and look forward to supporting their local operations through this growth.

Kay Ivey has presided over the strongest Alabama economy in the history of the state and has made announcements that will generate thousands of more jobs, most notably the new Toyota-Mazda plant in Limestone County. Ivey hopes that the unprecedented economic success will translate into Alabama voters coming to the polls on November 5 to re-elect her and to return Republican supermajorities to the Alabama Legislature.

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walter “Walt” Maddox is the Democratic Party nominee for Governor.

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Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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