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High-tech jobs come along with new Tunica plant

Feur-image-1_4CBy Lisa Monti

The German automotive components company that broke ground last week in Tunica County will create about 300 advanced manufacturing jobs similar to the ones in another German plant that recently opened in the county.

Feuer Powertrain GmbH will invest $140 million in its Tunica facility, which will manufacture crankshafts for the automotive and transportation industry. The crankshafts will go in the Nissan Tundra model made in Canton. Production will begin in late 2014.

It is the company’s first manufacturing plant in the U.S.

Tunica County also is home to the Schulz Xtruded Products, a manufacturer of stainless steel seamless pipe used in the oil and gas industry. That $300-million plant announcement came in 2010.

“We are moving into the automotive sector and we’re so excited about that,” said Lyn Arnold, president and CEO of the Tunica County Chamber and Economic Development Foundation.

Arnold said the Feuer plant will use computer numerical-controlled machinery in its manufacturing process along with “quite a bit of robotics.” Some of the processes and equipment will be similar to those used in the Schulz plant, she said.

Tunica County offers basic manufacturing skills training, similar to the type of training that employees of the Toyota plant in Blue Springs and other plants received. Northwest Community College will be assisting in training potential employees for the new plant.

Arnold said she hopes more announcements like the one this week are in the county’s future. “We hope we see a trend,” she said. “German companies like to locate in fairly close proximity with other German companies so we’re hopeful seeing more of these.”

The county is working on other projects, she said, “but until they sign the documents, we’re still just working with them.”

Feuer worked with a group of consultants to find the best location for its new U.S. plant. Tunica officials began working with the company last October and company representatives made their first visit to the Tunica site in February. Arnold said that’s a fairly fast courtship for an economic development project the size of Feuer’s plant.

Arnold said the county worked in close partnership with the Mississippi Development Authority to get the plant. “It always takes fairly complex team effort to get these things done,” she said.

MDA, through the Mississippi Industry Incentive Financing Revolving Fund, is assisting with site preparation, infrastructure and workforce training.

“We expect local people to be able to benefit from these jobs,” Arnold said. “Tunica County is extremely thrilled to have this company become part of our corporate community.”

Feuer Powertain is headquartered in Nordhausen, Germany. The 10-year-old company has invested more than $250 million in five plants in Nordhausen, where the company employs more than 400 workers.



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