KELLYTON, Ala. (AP) — TechSphere Systems International, Inc. on Friday announced its decision to locate at the Lake Martin Regional Industrial Park in Kellyton.
TechSphere designs and manufactures high-tech airship platforms that are used in many areas, including surveillance, the military, Homeland Security and wireless communications.
The new industry is set to be operational within the next six months and is expected to bring an initial 75 jobs to the area, The Outlook of Alexander City reported.
''It's a great day in Alabama, a great day in the Lake Martin area and a great day for Tallapoosa and Coosa counties,'' said Don McClellan, director of the Lake Martin Area Economic Development Alliance.
Many local and state officials, as well as local business members and residents, attended the announcement at Central Alabama Community College.
''The Alabama economy is doing well,'' said Seth Hammett, Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives. ''These are exciting times in which we live.''
TechSphere CEO Mike Lawson said the company's low-cost, helium-filled satellites could hover 68,000 feet above the surface of the Earth.
''At 68,000 feet you can see three states,'' Lawson said. ''They could be used with the IED (improvised explosive device) situation in Iraq. We could have a fleet guarding Americas coastlines.''
The airships combine the latest aerospace and textile technologies. The outer layer is a lightweight fabric that is 10 times stronger than steel and can withstand gunfire, Lawson said. They also don't show up on radar or give off enough heat to be seen by infrared equipment, The Outlook reported.
Lawson said one of the reasons the company chose the Kellyton site was because of the available work force, especially those who worked in the textile industry for Russell Corporation.
In addition to the 75 jobs created by TechSphere, more jobs could be created by suppliers who may be lured to the area. McClellan said as many as 500 jobs could be created.