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American Specialties Alloys names chief operating officer

Robert D Smith

Robert D Smith

By Jack Weatherly

American Specialty Alloys has been coy about where it will build its $1.2 billion aluminum plant — which, by all appearances, is planned for Columbus — but it has made a bold move in naming its chief operations officer.

Robert D. Smith had been managing director for the Danieli Corp.’s North America operations.

Italy-based Danieli designs, makes and installs equipment for the steel and related industries.

American Specialty will produce auto-body grade aluminum at its plant.

It has established an office at Columbus, from which it issued a release in November that included virtually everything, except for where.

The 1.4 million-square-foot facility will commence operations in late 2016 and eventually employ between 650 and 850. About 2,000 construction workers will be hired.

“We are very pleased to have such an experienced executive to lead our operations as we build our organizational structure and operations . . . . “ founder and Chief Executive Roger Boggs said in a news release.

Circumstantial evidence for the Columbus site also includes applications with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and the fact that Boggs held a key management position at the former Severstal steel plant at the Lowndes County city.

The launching of its website, after weeks of letting a countdown clock expire on Dec. 19 did not, as many had anticipated, announce the plant was coming to Columbus. Instead, it was explained as a “celebration” of all the hard work that had brought the company closer to reality. For now, it is a portal for job applicants.

George W. Riel, chief marketing officer, would only say this week that the big announcement would come “soon.”

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