Brantley announces new Tier Two facility

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 9, 2004

Everyone in the south end of Crenshaw County is now breathing a sigh of relief following Tuesday's announcement that Silla Engineering, LLC will be coming to the Town of Brantley.

This came after what CCEIDA Executive Director Doni Ingram called "intense competition" from other communities in neighboring counties.

"The competition was very intense, and we ended up having to go to Korea to finish the negotiations," Ingram told approximately 200 people at the announcement on North Sasser Street, in the building most recently occupied by Sean Hyland Motorsports. "We had representatives of SMART with us, and also a contingency of representatives from the Industrial Board. In the end, we were proud that we made the trip, because we brought home the facility to Crenshaw County."

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Silla Engineering, according to Ingram, offered a better price to Hyundai Motors Manufacturing America (HMMA) then General Technologies did, and that is why they won the bid.

Brantley Mayor Bernie Sullivan, who also accompanied the group to Korea, served as Master of Ceremonies during the announcement.

"Back in the early 20th century, Brantley was one of the chief producers of crossties," Sullivan said. "In fact Brantley became known as the crosstie capital of the world. With an area like Brantley, rich in agriculture and a great workforce, we were also unequaled in the textile industry. We enjoyed many decades of economic prosperity. But then of course, it slowly declined.

"Thanks to Silla Engineering LLC, we stand on the brink of an even larger era of growth of achievement," Sullivan said. "The full impact of our growth and prosperity will be measured by our children, and our children's children. As we look back and see the American, Alabama and Korean flags flying, we are reminded that this impact will not only be economic, but cultural as well. Today the hammer has been struck to the anvil, in order to forge and strengthen the bond, not only between an industry and a rural community, but in a much larger sense, between two countries - two cultures - the United States and South Korea."

Sullivan said along with everyone else in the room, he looked forward to a rejuvenation of south Crenshaw County, in every facet of the community.

The mayor then introduced President Bong Soo Chun of Silla Engineering, LLC, who spoke through his interpreter, Kenneth Shin, who will actually serve as Project Manager for Silla Engineering, and live in the Town of Brantley.

"Ladies and gentlemen, how are you today," Chun said. "It is a great honor for me to bring our company to Brantley, and to bring our production here. It is a great pleasure for me to meet all of you, and to bring with me jobs for your community, and to be here in America and in Alabama."

Chun then spoke of his company's history.

"We started business in Korea in 1987,"Chun said. "Our company is manufacturing support equipment for the Tier One facilities and for HMMA. It is traditional for us that we will make one item for the other facilities - the pallet that stamped metal parts will be transported on. We have done this for a long time, with no trouble at all. We have found great friends in Doni Ingram, HMMA, SMART, and others, as well as the entire community of Brantley, and we are very happy to be here today."

President Chun then explained that his company would take great care of their employees, with a good benefits program and pay.

Senator Wendell Mitchell then spoke to the group, and congratulated Mayor Sullivan for running unopposed in his quest for re-election.

"That is always the best way to run - unopposed," said Mitchell.

He then commended Doni Ingram and the CCEIDA for their remarkable work in drawing industries into Crenshaw County.

"I just want you to know, President Chun, that you have made the right choice in selecting Brantley, Alabama to locate your manufacturing facility," Mitchell said. "You won't regret it."

John Moseley, representing Gov. Bob Riley and the State of Alabama, presented President Chun with the Great Seal of the State of Alabama, made of pecan wood.

"On behalf of the governor and the State of Alabama, I wish to welcome you President Chun," Moseley said. "No one person is responsible for the efforts to draw industry into a community. It takes the efforts of many people to bring something like this to fruition, and you will never regret coming here to Alabama, and to Crenshaw County."

Following the ceremony, a reception was held in the rear of the facility, and the Korean executives were introduced to members of the community.