Strange applauds community#039;s effort
Former ADO Director Todd Strange told the Butler County Manufacturers Association the city of Greenville played a major role in bringing Hyundai to central Alabama.
He made the remarks at the group’s quarterly meeting held Monday night at the Depot.
&uot;We got Hyundai despite the fact that our incentives package was not as high as others,&uot; he said.
&uot;It had federal incentives, state incentives, local incentives and private interests covered.
What helped us was that we presented it in unity and in a cooperative spirit.&uot;
He said everyone involved met every need of the company in a welcoming fashion, and that sense of unity and teamwork impressed the Koreans.
As for Greenville landing HwaShin and Hysco, Strange credited Mayor Dexter McLendon and Butler County Economic Director Ricky McLaney for aggressively seeking suppliers and bringing them in to a welcoming city.
&uot;The billboard that Greenville put up was a great move,&uot; he said.
&uot;It showed Greenville in a welcoming fashion.&uot;
He advised those present to keep the friendliness alive and well and that the city may see future announcements made here.
&uot;Don’t stop now,&uot; he said.
&uot;Make them feel welcome.
Take them to the low-country boils and such and do everything to make them feel at home here and you value the importance of community.
It takes commitment.&uot;
Strange recalled how he visited Greenville for the BCMA banquet a few months before Hyundai announced its intentions.
He said he believes that after that, everything in the future will be marked back to April 1, 2002.
&uot;We will see 300,000 units from Hyundai when it is in full production,&uot; he said.
&uot;We have 150,000 coming out of Mercedes and 300,000 out of Honda. Of those three, Hyundai will have the most technologically advanced plant in the world.&uot;
He said it is important to remember that Tier One suppliers announced thus far, relate only to the Americanized Sonata.
&uot;We have 23 announced Tier One suppliers so far,&uot; he said.
&uot;Those are for the Americanized Sonatas only. None of the Tier One and certainly none of the Tier Two suppliers have announced for the Santa Fe SUV.&uot;
So was Strange hinting Greenville may see other suppliers arrive in the future?
In a way, yes, but he said he said it will go back to how well Greenville and Butler County presents itself.
He said Greenville has the elements in place and they are available, educated labor force, existing infrastructure and a good quality of life.
All, he said, appeals to the Koreans.
Before he finished, he thanked Butler County and Greenville for all it did in the process.
&uot;Thank you for what you did with Hyundai,&uot; he said.
&uot;We put on a unified front and the rewards will be great.&uot;
He ended with a Korean toast that roughly translates as:
&uot;Together, we go successfully.&uot;
The BCMA presented Strange with two of West Point Stevens finest pillows.
Also, before the speech, Randy Nykamp, Key Safety Systems Inc. plant manager, presented on behalf o f the BCMA to Gene Hardin a check for $1,000 in memory of C.H. &uot;Buster&uot; MacGuire for the World War II memorial.
Hardin said he was not going to try to replace MacGuire, but would fill in until his old friend fulfilled his duties elsewhere.
MacGuire passed away in Nov. 2003, but had expressed as one of his last wishes that the BCMA donate the money to the memorial.
McLaney said it was an honor to fulfill this last wish.
During the social hour before the banquet, Probate Judge Steve Norman remembered the &uot;Squire&uot; with a toast.