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Tier one comes to area

Gov. Bob Riley joined with officials from Shin Young Metal Industrial Company on Thursday to announce a new automobile supplier facility to be constructed in Crenshaw County. The South Korean-based firm will build a $65 million facility that will employ 400 workers.

"We are happy to welcome Shin Young Metal to our state and look forward to working with them in providing jobs and opportunities for the citizens of southeast Alabama," Riley said. "I am sure they will find a skilled and qualified workforce with a work ethic unmatched in the nation."

The governor was joined at the announcement by company presidents Ho Gap Kang and Jong Chul Kim, both of whom expressed excitement about locating in the state.

"We, Shin Young Metal, are very pleased to announce that the City of Luverne, Ala., The Friendliest City in the South' is our new home," said Kang. "We thank Gov. Bob Riley for his strong support and his leadership to make our project possible. We also thank Mr. John Harrison for his commitment and vision to invite us to come to Luverne, and make this project possible, and Mrs. Doni Ingram for her total commitment and dedication to our project, and to all the people of Crenshaw County.

"And most of all, we thank all the people of Luverne for welcoming the Shin Young Company with open arms," he said.

Shin Young Metal will build its plant on an 80-acre tract off U.S. Highway 331 in Luverne, and will manufacture car frames and stamping goods for Hyundai.

Construction on the plant will begin in March of 2003, and it is expected to become operational in March 2005.

The project was a joint effort of the Alabama Development Office, the Southeast Alabama Gas District and the local community.

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA), the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT), the Alabama Industrial Development Training (AIDT) program, The Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) and the Alabama Revenue Commission were also instrumental in putting the project together.

Following the ceremony in Montgomery on Thursday morning, a reception was held in Luverne at the Country Club.

More than 500 area residents and officials representing numerous agencies involved with industrial development in Alabama were in attendance at the reception to meet the Korean automotive delegation and partake of fine Korean cuisine.

"I feel very welcomed in Luverne and Crenshaw County," said Ho Gap Kang, president and CEO of Shin Young Metal Industries, Ltd., one of South Korea's largest Tier One suppliers for Hyundai and Kia Motors companies. "I promise to hire as many of your fine people as possible, and look forward to being an integral part of the community."

"I'm sure that we will have a good friendship here," said Jong Chul Kim, vice-president of Shin Young Metal.

"It means a lot to see so many of Luverne and Crenshaw County citizens here tonight," said Charlie Cha, project manager and director for Shin Young Metal. "I am sure that we will be here for a long time."

The company plans to locate as many as 30 executives and their families in Crenshaw County immediately, provided that housing can be obtained.

"This is a really exciting time for us here in Luverne and Crenshaw County," said Luverne Mayor Joe Rex Sport. "Words cannot express what this will mean to our area, in so far as people going to work is concerned, and then there is the immeasurable impact this is going to bring upon our economy.

"Think about it n the revenue that will be coming into the community will increase the amount of services that can be provided to the citizens, and the school system n everyone is a winner in this situation."

Brantley Mayor Bernie Sullivan was equally excited about the prospect of industry coming to the county.

"We have been told that several smaller companies will follow this one, to supply it," Sullivan recently said. "I hope to put Brantley in the front of their minds when they do come."

"I cannot tell you names of all the people that have been involved with making this day happen," said Doni Ingram, executive director of CCEIDA. "Let us just say that it could not have been made possible without everyone in the county working together for the same goal n the Cities of Luverne, Brantley, Dozier, Rutledge, Petrey and Glenwood have all held equal parts in this. And none of it would have been possible if we did not have the best workforce in the state right here in Crenshaw County."

Ingram said she expects that a groundbreaking ceremony with immediate construction will take place in early March, with completion scheduled for March, 2005.

"Two years is not a great deal of time when you are talking about building such a huge facility," Ingram said.