TENNESSEE: Nissan unveils $1 billion battery plant for all-electric Leaf
Nissan has opened a new $1 billion plant in Smyrna, Tenn., that will produce lithium-ion automotive batteries for the company’s all-electric LEAF model. The Smyrna plant is the largest lithium-ion automotive battery plant in the nation and is one of only three of its kind in the world operated by a major automaker.
The new battery plant is located adjacent to Nissan’s existing vehicle assembly plant in Tennessee, which has been retooled to accommodate production of the LEAF.
The first batteries produced at the Smyrna plant have completed the required aging process and are now ready to receive their first charge. The facility is capable of expanding to produce modules for up to 200,000 batteries annually depending on market demand.
INDIANA: Nine expansion projects create more than 2,500 new jobs
On Dec. 11, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels announced that nine companies had announced new investments in the state that are expected to create more than 2,500 new jobs over the new few years.
In a year of less-than-stellar economic news for the nation, Indiana has had a record-breaking year of economic development results, with 251 companies investing $6.57 billion in Indiana operations. Those companies anticipate adding a total of 27,858 new jobs in the coming years.
According to the U.S. Labor Department, Indiana ranked among the top five states in the nation for job growth over the past year.
Of the projects announced on Dec. 11, the largest expansions include:
♦ Angie’s List, a national provider of consumer reviews on local service companies, plans to invest approximately $1 million to expand its Indiana operations, creating up to 850 new jobs by 2017. Angie’s List moved its headquarters to Indianapolis in 1999 and currently employs more than 1,000 people there.
♦ Phoenix, Ariz.-based Café Valley Inc. is a producer of baked goods for restaurants, supermarkets and convenience stores around the world. The company plans to construct a new facility on the former Thompson – Consumer Electronic site in Marion, creating up to 400 new jobs by the end of 2018. The new facility is expected to open its doors in 2014 with approximately 100 employees.
♦ ExactTarget, a global interactive marketing provider, is investing $55 million to expand its Indianapolis operations over the next five years, creating up to 500 new jobs.
♦ Brunswick Fort Wayne Operations, producer of Harris FloteBote and Cypress Cay pontoon boats, plans to expand its operations in northern Indiana, creating up to 200 new jobs by 2016. The company has manufactured recreational boats for more than 50 years in Fort Wayne.
Other companies announcing new jobs include Atwood Mobile Products (132 new jobs), BidPal Inc. (172), Inventure Foods (80), Mitsubishi Engine North America (73) and Moorehead Communications Inc. (145).
Interstate Lane Business Briefs
♦ Cincinnati-based Convergys Corp. is hiring 2,500 full-time employees to staff call centers across the U.S. and for work-at-home customer care positions. Convergys specializes in customer management services and currently has more than 75,000 employees at call centers around the world.
♦ Cincinnati-based healthcare information technology company Streamline Health Solutions Inc. has announced plans to move its headquarters to Atlanta. “Since our acquisition of Atlanta-based Interpoint Partners LLC last December (2011), we have found that our ability to attract and retain experienced healthcare information technology associates has been greatly enhanced,” said Streamline President and CEO Robert E. Watson. The Atlanta area is currently home to more than 250 health IT companies as well as a number of universities that offer education and career development programs that focus on health IT. Streamline plans to retain a presence in Cincinnati, but specific staffing numbers were not released as of press time.
♦ Twenty-five years after the first U.S.-made Honda automobile was exported to overseas markets, associates at the company’s Marysville (Ohio) Auto Plant last month marked production of the 1 millionth Honda to be exported from the United States. Within two years, Honda will become what is known as a “net exporter” of automobiles from North America – exporting more vehicles built in its North America plants than it imports from Japan.
♦ Access America Transport has announced plans to add 450 jobs at its Chattanooga facility and 100 jobs in Knoxville over the next five years. Access America Transport is a full-service transportation company headquartered in Chattanooga that includes truckload (van/flatbed/reefer), less-than-truckload, intermodal and specialized freight. In addition to its two Tennessee facilities, the company also has operations in Minnesota, Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, Texas and Colorado.
♦ Windstream Hosted Solutions is building a new enterprise-class data center in Nashville to handle increased demand for data center and managed services. The new 21,000-s.f. facility, which is slated to open later this year, will also support the company’s cloud computing solution.
♦ Acadia Healthcare Co. Inc., a Franklin, Tenn.-based provider of inpatient behavioral healthcare services, has invested $258 million to acquire Nashville-based Behavioral Centers of America and Arkansas-based AmiCare Behavior Centers. The acquisitions will increase Acadia’s capacity by approximately 600 beds. Acadia currently has a network of 34 facilities in 20 states.
♦ Sitel, a Nashville-based customer care provider, is set to hire approximately 3,000 new employees at its call centers across the United States and Canada. The new associates will support Sitel’s expanding business with companies in the retail, telecom and home entertainment industries.
♦ Armstrong World Industries is hiring workers to fill 145 openings at its hardwood flooring plant in Beverly, W. Va. The company is adding production workers because of increased product demand.