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Trendco USA to create 292 jobs at Tuskegee glove manufacturing facility

Written by Jerry Underwood | Read the original article on madeinalabama.com.

MONTGOMERY, Alabama — Governor Kay Ivey announced today that Trendco USA plans to invest $43 million to launch a manufacturing operation in a Tuskegee logistics hub where the company will produce nitrile medical gloves to expand domestic supply.

Columbia, South Carolina-based Trendco has committed to creating 292 jobs over five years at a facility in the new Regional East Alabama Logistics (REAL) Park off Interstate 85 in Macon County. The company also considered sites in Georgia and the Carolinas for the project.

“Trendco decided to locate its manufacturing facility in Tuskegee after considering many locations in other states, and I know that the company made the right choice by selecting Macon County for its investment project,” Governor Ivey said.

“I look forward to seeing the company grow and thrive in Sweet Home Alabama.”

Trendco is an early-stage company that has been producing medical-grade examination gloves in Louisiana through a partnership with another company. For the Tuskegee operation, it plans up to install as many as 10 glove production lines at the REAL Park location.

Once the glove lines are established at the Tuskegee facility, the company plans to expand production into masks and gowns, ensuring a reliable domestic source for these important PPE items to mitigate potential supply chain disruptions.

“We are very excited about our move to Alabama and look forward to building our PPE manufacturing facility in Tuskegee,” Trendco USA CEO Darryl Hunter said.

“We believe the people of Tuskegee and the surrounding communities will play a vital role in our success in the medical technology sector.”

Growth Catalyst

Greg Canfield, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said Trendco’s growth project validates the vision to move forward with ambitious development plans for REAL Park.

“The park is perfectly positioned to capitalize on the growth of the I-85 corridor, and I believe other companies will be putting down roots there in the near future,” he added.

Trendco has signed an agreement to lease over 100,000-square-feet of space in Building 100 in REAL Park, where the company will initially set up a distribution operation as it prepares to launch glove production.

Building 100, a 168,000-square-foot facility, represents the catalyst project for the 700-acre Class A industrial park located off Exit 42 on I-85, which runs from Montgomery to Atlanta and beyond.

REAL Park will eventually offer a combined 6.2 million square feet of space when the project’s three phases are completed in five to seven years, according to Justin Patwin, a principal at Farpoint Development , the master developer leading the project.

“We and our partners at OPAL are very excited to welcome Trendco to REAL Park,” Patwin said. “They are making a significant commitment to Macon County and the State of Alabama to bring many new jobs to the community — we feel this is an incredible start to the overall economic impact REAL Park will have in the region.”

“We created The OPAL Fund to invest in catalytic projects that could produce compelling returns for both investors and communities across Alabama, and Building 100 is the perfect example of that thesis in action,” added Alex Flachsbart, founder and CEO of Opportunity Alabama (OPAL) and principal of The OPAL Fund , the lead investor in Building 100.

Joe Turnham, director of the Macon County Economic Development Authority , said having a completed Class A industrial facility in Building 100 of REAL Park alongside a seasoned development team — led by Farpoint Development and OPAL — that was willing to quickly customize the facility to the client’s needs, were major factors in winning the project.

“Trendco USA also chose our community, in part because of our community’s rich history and our local stakeholders’ spirit of enthusiastic partnership in assuring their company’s success,” Turnham said. “Trendco USA is the only minority-owned medical glove and PPE manufacturer in America and is one of the few companies offering ‘Made in the USA’ medical glove products.

“Now, these gloves will also carry a ‘Made in Tuskegee’ label.”

The Macon County Commission, Macon County Economic Development Authority and other local institutions are supporting the Trendco project with utility upgrades and industrial access road at the site worth $1.1 million and other in-kind services. AIDT, the state’s primary workforce development agency, is also providing services to advance the project.

Rural Impact

Brenda Tuck, Rural Development Manager at the Alabama Department of Commerce, said the state’s rural areas continue to register rising levels of economic development, with over $4 billion in new capital investment in the last three years alone.

“We’re committed to seeing rural Alabama fully realize its growth potential, and this project headed to Tuskegee is another illustration of how we’re making progress on that front,” Tuck said. “Opportunities are flourishing in the state’s rural communities, and the business world is paying attention.”

‘Building 100’ in I-85 logistics hub opens amid ambitious growth plans

Written by Jerry Underwood | Read the original article on madeinalabama.com.

TUSKEGEE, Alabama — The Regional East Alabama Logistics (REAL) Park, which aims to supercharge economic growth in the Tuskegee region, is open for business with the commissioning of the first building in the logistics hub.

Doster Construction Co. and Farpoint Development announced this week that construction has been completed on Building 100, an expandable 168,000-square-foot structure that’s ready for occupancy.

“This first structure in REAL Park has already generated dozens of inquiries, proposals and interest for other build-to-suit opportunities,” said Joe Turnham, director of the Macon County Economic Development Authority. “With our Farpoint team members, we are confident that REAL Park will become the new diamond along the I-85 corridor.”

Building 100 represents the catalyst project for a planned 6.2 million-square-foot, 638-acre Class A industrial park near Tuskegee that is calculated to generate more than $450 million of total economic output in the region.

“This dream park, when fully developed, will bring hundreds of millions of dollars of new capital investment and hundreds of jobs, not to mention needed revenue to our schools and local governments here in Macon County,” Turnham added.

“Within a decade, I can envision this project recasting our future for prosperity.”

Game Changer

Investment in the first phase of the project is approximately $20 million, the park’s backers said when construction started in June 2022.

Farpoint, which has offices in Chicago and Asheville, North Carolina, is actively marketing Building 100 as an industrial facility for lease.

“REAL Park is a game-changer not just for Macon County, but the whole state of Alabama, because it will attract global businesses to the region. We have been blown away by the amount of interest in REAL Park that we’ve received from companies around the world,” said Justin Patwin, principal at Farpoint Development.

Turnham said the team has several serious prospects for Building 100 and hope to have a tenant lined up by this summer.

He added that discussions are under way on the possibility of constructing another speculative building in the park. In addition, brokers are in discussions for several build-to-suit, lease options for tenants.

“The I-85 corridor between Montgomery and the Georgia line is getting very mature and needs new inventory of sites to promote the State of Alabama,” Turnham said.

Powering Growth

The entire master-planned project lies in a Qualified Opportunity Zone and federal, state and local incentives are available for qualified projects.

The property is strategically located in a fast-growing automotive corridor along I-85 between Kia’s West Point Assembly Plant in Georgia, and Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama in Montgomery.

REAL Park is approximately 200 miles from the Port of Mobile — the only deep-water port in Alabama and one of the busiest in the nation — and a short drive from major airports.

“REAL Park will better position Macon County to take full advantage of economic growth along the I-85 corridor,” said Greg Canfield, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

“Having this available building onsite will energize the development team’s efforts to quickly capitalize on the possibilities in industries such as automotive, aerospace, forest products and manufacturing,” he added.

Brenda Tuck, Rural Development Manager for the Alabama Department of Commerce, said REAL Park is another example of a forward-thinking project that will plant the seeds for economic growth in a rural area.

“The logistics park will better position the entire area for opportunities that can add new dimensions to Macon County’s economy and power sustainable growth,” Tuck said.

What does blended finance for broadband look like? Look at Macon, Alabama.

Written by Brian Vo | Read the original article on connecthumanity.fund.

Connect Humanity was founded with the belief that, by bringing the right partners to the table, it’s possible to collaboratively structure investments for sustainable broadband networks in communities that have been short changed when it comes to digital infrastructure.

Today, we’re announcing an investment in a fiber network in Macon, Alabama that shows what this blended financing can look like.

Blended finance meets community needs

As part of its mandate to promote development, the Macon County Economic Development Authority (MCEDA) has been working diligently to expand internet access in the county, where 40% of families have lacked access to home internet at broadband speeds.

With support from Rural LISC, MCEDA entered into a Public Private Partnership with rural internet provider Point Broadband to build out a fiber network that would deliver quality, affordable broadband to families and businesses across the county.

While MCEDA lined up substantial philanthropic and state grants, more funding was needed to make network economics stack up. And so Connect Humanity worked to structure a finance package that fit MCEDA’s constraints, providing additional funding and making the network economics work for Point Broadband to bring its own capital to the mix.

The result is a truly blended finance package that combines public subsidies, philanthropic grants, in-kind make-ready construction from a local utility, investment from the service provider, and Connect Humanity’s impact dollars. This investment enables the build of a +$3 million fiber network that will connect nearly 1,400 additional homes, businesses, and community institutions.

Securing long term benefits for the community

The deal includes a community benefits agreement, designed to ensure that Point makes good on its promise to deliver reliable, quality broadband for all residents within the project area. The agreement establishes safeguards, reporting requirements, and a committee of community stakeholders that will work to meet Macon County’s connectivity needs over the long term.

Where networks remain in private hands, agreements like this included as part of financing terms, can help safeguard digital equity benefits for communities. It provides a mechanism for accountability to avoid affordable rates turning extractive, promised service that never happens, or new network owners without consulting the community. Ultimately, it’s about ensuring that the needs of the community remain at the center of decisions.

Huge kudos to Point Broadband for its community-centered approach and engaging with the county in the way it has.

A network already delivering returns

The network has already demonstrated how foundational connectivity is to socio-economic growth and development with a number of early wins for the area, including helping attract a new auto parts manufacturing facility and enabling a partnership between Tuskegee University and telehealth company OnMed. This is just the beginning of what will be a game-changing investment for residents in Macon County.

Read the press announcement to learn more about the partnership:


$3 million+ partnership brings next-generation broadband to Macon County

A new partnership pools government, private, and philanthropic funds to build fiber internet for county residents and businesses

3 May. Tuskegee, Alabama – A next-generation fiber broadband network has been completed in east central Alabama thanks to a partnership between the Macon County Economic Development Authority (MCEDA), Rural LISC, Connect Humanity, and rural internet service provider, Point Broadband.

The organizations have come together to raise $3.1 million, including state and federal grants, to fund a fiber broadband network that significantly improves internet service in the county, where, until now, more than 40% of households have not had access to a wired or fixed-wireless connection at broadband speeds (25 Mbps) according to FCC data (1), and even more households have struggled to afford it, according to a recent census survey (2).

To change this, Point Broadband has built a new network that expands access to almost 1,400 additional Macon County homes, as well as businesses and community institutions like libraries and educational and healthcare facilities. The network offers access to better service, lower costs, and ‘gigabit’ speeds up-to forty times as fast as the best alternatives on offer.

For MCEDA, which led the initiative, the project provides a transformative opportunity to drive long-term economic growth and improve the well-being of residents. Joe Turnham, Director at MCEDA said: “We’re building broadband fit for the future and the County is already realizing the benefits. From healthcare innovation at Tuskegee University to $140+ million in economic impact from the area’s newest jobs-engine — Tuskegee Commerce Park — this network is bringing opportunity to businesses and families across Macon County.”

The network has secured a number of early wins for the area, including helping attract a new auto parts manufacturing facility and enabling a partnership between Tuskegee University and telehealth company OnMed, providing remote care on campus for students, faculty, and the wider Macon County community.

David Ficken, Point Broadband’s Vice President for Strategic Growth said, “Point Broadband is pleased to join MCEDA in this innovative partnership that combines community focus, world-class technology, and funding to bring broadband to Macon County and other neighboring communities. Point Broadband is committed to improving lives through fiber technology across the country and it’s very satisfying to make such a big impact right here at home.”

Point has entered into a community benefits agreement with the County, with safeguards and reporting requirements to ensure the network continues to provide quality, affordable service to residents, businesses, and community institutions along the project route. The agreement establishes a committee that will work to meet Macon County’s connectivity needs over the long term.

Brian Vo, Chief Investment Officer at Connect Humanity said: “Macon County is showing that it’s possible to build gold-standard internet service in rural and low-income communities. When willing partners come together to invest, we can build networks that meet the needs of families and businesses — and that are financially sustainable over the long term. This investment isn’t just for broadband infrastructure; it’s for improved health, more access to economic opportunities, and, ultimately, greater wealth creation for the community. Connect Humanity is excited to be part of it.

The project leverages public investment and philanthropic grants to secure private capital from investors who might otherwise see such projects as too high risk. This ‘blended capital’ approach stretches the impact of state and federal broadband subsidies and ultimately leads to more infrastructure being built and more families being connected.

“Rural LISC is thrilled to be part of the change that brings much needed broadband infrastructure to thriving rural communities like the one in Macon County,” said Caitlin Cain, LISC Vice President and Rural LISC Director. “Unique public-private partnerships have proven to be instrumental in catalyzing large-scale change that strengthens education, workforce opportunities, access to telehealth and a host of other benefits that directly support rural-based community investment.”

MCEDA Director Joe Turnham, added: “The project has brought together a phenomenal collaboration of diverse partners, from the State of Alabama, Utilities Board of Tuskegee to Point Broadband, Rural LISC, and Connect Humanity. The journey has been rewarding, and underlines the opportunity for public-private partnerships to provide impactful connectivity in challenging rural environments. From the businesses being served — including Samkee America, Inc., and our new logistics park — to the many families now able to access world-class connectivity, this project is generationally transformational for our community. Thanks go out to all our stakeholders who helped make this happen.”

Auto supplier Samkee Corp. selects Alabama for its first U.S. plant

Written by Jerry Underwood | Read the original article on Made In Alabama.

MONTGOMERY, Alabama — Governor Kay Ivey announced today that Samkee Corp., a major South Korean automotive supplier, plans to invest $128 million to open its first U.S. factory in Alabama through a project that will create 170 jobs in Tuskegee and provide an economic boost for Macon County.

After finalizing agreements with state and local authorities, Samkee Corp. is poised to begin construction on the new manufacturing facility in the Tuskegee Commerce Park, where it will become the city’s first auto parts manufacturer.

Samkee will serve as a Tier 1 supplier to Hyundai Motor Co. The new jobs will pay an average wage of just over $20 an hour, according to the Alabama Department of Commerce.

“Alabama’s auto industry is filled with world-class manufacturing companies from around the world, and Samkee will fit right in with that group,” Governor Ivey said.

“We’re proud that the company selected Alabama for its first U.S. production center and look forward to seeing it grow and thrive in coming years.”

STRATEGIC GROWTH

Founded in 1978, Samkee specializes in high-pressure die-cast aluminum components, including parts for engines, transmissions and electric vehicles, along with alloys. The company currently operates factories in South Korea and China.

Parts production at the advanced casting facility in Macon County is expected to begin during 2024.

“Samkee is a worldwide leader in quality manufactured aluminum die cast products,” CEO Chi Hwan Kim said. “Our Tuskegee plant will allow our company to serve the North American market along with Hyundai’s market growth for both combustion engines and transmissions as well as electric vehicle and battery parts.

“I give many thanks to Governor Ivey, Secretary Canfield and local officials and Hyundai Motor for their steadfast support to Samkee in our decision today,” he added.

Greg Canfield, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said Samkee’s decision to locate its first North American factory in Macon County reflects its confidence in the region’s workforce.

AIDT, the state’s primary workforce development agency, will help Samkee assemble and train its workforce.

“The skilled workers in Alabama’s auto sector have proved they are ready for any challenge the industry can throw at them, and they consistently turn out complex products of the highest quality,” Secretary Canfield said.

“Samkee has come to the right place for its new U.S. industrial home.”

LOCAL IMPACT

Joe Turnham, director of the Macon County Economic Development Authority, said local support for the project includes site work in Tuskegee Commerce Park, upgrades to the water and sewer system, and the installation of a new power substation.

“Samkee appreciated the local assets, spirit of cooperation and friendship developed over time with Macon County. We have strived with our stakeholders in a team effort to meet Samkee’s needs,” he said.

“We will remain partners going forward to see that they have a successful construction and manufacturing launch and future growth in the North American market. This is obviously a big win for our community and its citizens.”

Turnham said the recruitment project that is bringing Samkee to Tuskegee lasted well over a year.

“Today’s announcement is another major step in Tuskegee’s progression as a city,” Tuskegee Mayor Tony Haygood said. “Samkee will be a great community partner for years to come and an example of how Tuskegee is open for business in the 21st Century marketplace.

“We appreciate Samkee’s partnership with us and will strive to succeed and grow together.” The Utilities Board of Tuskegee played a major role in the recruitment, and General Manager Gerald Long said he looks forward to deepening the partnership with Samkee.

“Our utility will serve power, water and sewer to the industry. Their presence in our community will allow us to expand our system and resources to better serve them and all of our customers at an even higher-level of reliable service,” Long said. “We are proud to be a full partner in economic development countywide.”

Samkee’s manufacturing plant is expected to have a significant economic impact on Macon County, according to an analysis by the Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) at the University of Alabama.

The analysis projects that the Samkee factory will generate $140.2 million in annual economic output in Macon County, contributing over $37 million to the county’s GDP while also generating $1.3 million per year in taxes.

FOREIGN INVESTMENT

Brenda Tuck, Rural Development Manager for the Alabama Department of Commerce, said Samkee’s investment project signals that the state’s rural counties remain a magnet for foreign direct investment, particularly within the auto industry.

Since 2015, foreign companies have invested over $2 billion in growth projects in Alabama’s rural counties, with auto-related projects accounting for a large share of the total, according to data from the Alabama Department of Commerce.

“Alabama’s rural communities offer manufacturers like Samkee all the essentials they need to find long-term success with their ventures,” Tuck said.

“Corporate decision-makers around the world are increasingly gravitating towards the advantages found in these communities.”

Contact us

MCEDA
Joe Turnham
Director
608 Dibble Street, Suite 7
Tuskegee, AL 36083
334.444.2672
info@madeinmacon.com