New­ton con­tin­ues to mar­ket to Cater­pil­lar sup­pli­ers; some jobs to be posted soon

The Covington News - - Front Page - GABRIEL KHOULI Staff Re­porter

Cater­pil­lar is mov­ing quickly to build its $200 man­u­fac­tur­ing plant near Athens, break­ing ground March 16, and New­ton County is ag­gres­sively mar­ket­ing it­self to the com­pany’s sup­pli­ers.

Lo­cal eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cials are mar­ket­ing six in­dus­trial prop­er­ties and cre­ated a flyer specif­i­cally to at­tract Cater­pil­lar sup­pli­ers, as many as two dozen of which are ex­pected to fol­low Cater­pil­lar to Ge­or­gia.

The flyer was sent out Thurs­day night, but the re­sponse has al­ready been “over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive,” said Roger Har­ri­son, se­nior vice pres­i­dent of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment for the Cov­ing- ton-new­ton County Cham­ber of Com­merce.

“When it comes to re­cruit­ing CAT sup­pli­ers, our mes­sage is con­stant and con­sis­tent. We are well po­si­tioned ge­o­graph­i­cally, and our work­force is well skilled for ad­vanced/process man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs,” Har­ri­son said in a Fri­day email. “Our cit­i­zens aren’t afraid to put in a hard day’s work, and we’re proud of that in Cov­ing­ton/new­ton County.”

The 860-acre tract of land on which Cater­pil­lar is lo­cat­ing has plenty of room for sup­pli­ers, ac­cord­ing to the Athens Ban­ner-her­ald, but New­ton County could have an ad­van­tage if sup­pli­ers need ex­ist­ing build­ings.

Har­ri­son pre­vi­ously said Cov­ing­ton would be a fit for a me­tal fabrication sup­plier be­cause the city has a his­tory of host­ing sim­i­lar com­pa­nies and has work­ers skilled in that field.

The 1.2 mil­lion square­foot Cater­pil­lar fa­cil­ity will be ap­prox­i­mately 35 miles from Cov­ing­ton and will man­u­fac­ture mini-ex­ca­va­tors and small trac­tors.

The prox­im­ity could also make the plant a fit for New­ton County res­i­dents look­ing for work. Cater­pil­lar started ac­cept­ing ap­pli­ca­tions for some po­si­tions two weeks ago and the com­pany ex­pects to hire the first 250-plus work­ers by next sum­mer, ac­cord­ing to the Ban­ner- Her­ald, and will in­crease hir­ing to around 800 work­ers within five years and 1,400 work­ers by 2020. The com­pany plans to be­gin pro­duc­tion in late 2013.

Job open­ings are ex­pected to come avail­able through­out 2012 and 2013 and can be ap­plied for at www.cater­pil­­reers.

So far, only man­age­ment po­si­tions have been posted, ac­cord­ing to var­i­ous me­dia.

Clarke and Oconee coun­ties are spend­ing $17.6 mil­lion to buy land and pre­pare the site for Cater­pil­lar, which is also get­ting $12.4 mil­lion in prop­erty tax breaks and $45 mil­lion in state in­cen­tives, ac­cord­ing to the As­so­ci­ated Press.

Photo cour­tesy of Elec­tric Cities of Ge­or­gia

The above map was pro­duced by Elec­tric Cities of Ge­or­gia, a util­ity or­ga­ni­za­tion which helps com­mu­ni­ties at­tract in­dus­tries, specif­i­cally to help re­cruit Cater­pil­lar sup­pli­ers.

As­so­ci­ated Press

Cater­pil­lar ex­pects to hire the first 250-plus work­ers by next sum­mer and will in­crease hir­ing to around 800 work­ers within five years.

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