MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- Gov. Bob Riley on Thursday announced that a new automotive supplier will open a manufacturing plant in Tuscaloosa County, creating more than 180 new jobs over the next three years.
Stankiewicz International Corp. plans to locate an 85,000-square-foot regional manufacturing plant in Vance. The plant will produce acoustical components, wheel wells and flooring systems for Mercedes and General Motors.
''Alabama certainly appreciates the opportunity to have you as a partner,'' Riley told executives from Stankiewicz who joined him in his office at the Capitol for a news conference Thursday afternoon.
''We really do want to exceed expectations,'' Riley said, adding that the state's workforce is among the most efficient and qualified in the nation.
Stankiewicz is headquartered in Celle, Germany and has a manufacturing operation in Spartanburg, S.C. The plant in Vance will be the company's first in Alabama.
Stankiewicz is a member of Gimotive Group, a global player in automotive flooring systems and vehicle acoustics. Company executive Rolf Jess said at the news conference that the company's products ''make cars less noisy.''
Jess said Stankiewicz has had success with its operations in South Carolina and chose the Alabama site because of its proximity to its customers. Mercedes has a plant in Vance.
The state and Tuscaloosa County are providing incentives, including tax incentives and training programs, to help Stankiewicz start up its first operation in the state.
''It was for us a very easy decision due to the support'' the company received from state and county officials, Jess said. He said the company hopes to settle in and become fully integrated into
Construction and installation of equipment is expected to begin as soon as permits are secured and is set to be completed within three years. It is expected to create 60 new jobs initially and, when operating fully, should employ about 184 people by 2010. Riley said the average hourly wage at the plant will be between $12 and $16.
Dara Longgear, executive director of the Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority, said Stankiewicz is ''joining a long line of international companies that have made Tuscaloosa County home.'' He said more than half of the county's workforce is already employed by international companies.
Riley said he feels ''an extreme amount of pride'' when he travels around the world and sees Mercedes M-Class vehicles and other products that are made in Alabama.
In a gesture of welcome, Riley removed the Alabama pin from his lapel at the end of the news conference and pinned it to Jess' lapel.
''When you come to Alabama, I want you to wear this,'' Riley said.