JTEKT’s Historic Expansion Underway (The Advocate & Democrat)8/4/2015
VONORE, TN - The county’s largest employer, JTEKT, will get even larger thanks to one of the largest plant expansions and economic investments in Monroe County’s history.
JTEKT, located in the Tellico West Industrial Park, purchased the 375,000-square-foot former MARCA/Cobalt building across the street from its current plant, doubling its manufacturing space. Plant Manager Brad Franklin and Human Resource Manager Terry Knight said JTEKT will use the new building to manufacture the automobile steering technology of the future: rack parallel and dual pinion. There is also a new customer for JTEKT, BMW, along with the stalwart Toyota. Some of the vehicles that JTEKT’s Vonore, Tennessee facility provides steering for include Camry, Lexus, Accord, Tacoma, Nissan Altima and Chrysler vehicles.
For 27 years, the company has used the Vonore site to produce the elec
tric and hydraulic power steering components on the road today.
The company’s $200 million investment in a new production facility will add about 100 more jobs to the more than 1,100 employees JTEKT already has. JTEKT could have chosen any number of sites to produce the new products that will likely insure the company’s future for decades to come. The company’s decision to choose Vonore is tremendous economic news for the area and is a source of pride for the county. JTEKT plans to have the new facility operational in the fall of 2016.
“Monroe County continues to stand out as a place where industries can succeed and grow,” Monroe County Economic Director Bryan Hall said. “We celebrate JTEKT’s decision to create more jobs and increase its footprint in our county. This is tremendous news for Monroe County and is further evidence of the confidence that industries have in our local workforce. This announcement is huge for Monroe County and shows that cutting edge companies are finding success here in our area.”
Franklin and Knight also point out the decision to produce the new technology in Vonore shows the company’s full confidence in the current Vonore facility’s workforce and the community in general.
“We feel this investment shows the company’s commitment to Vonore and Monroe County,” Franklin said.
Franklin points out an investment of this nature not only positively impacts Monroe County, but surrounding counties as well. JTEKT’s Vonore plant provides jobs to residents throughout much of East Tennessee.
“We take this commitment to our employees and the community seriously,” Knight said.
JTEKT has a long history of being one of the very best corporate citizens in Monroe County. In 2014, the company was recognized at the Monroe County Chamber of Commerce Banquet as the top job creator in Monroe County and that was even before the latest expansion.
JTEKT is active in donations to support education and other endeavors across the county, including the United Way.
JTEKT is an environmentally-friendly company, putting no pollutants into the air, water or ground. The company recycles everything to be good stewards of the environment.
JTEKT North America was established in 2013, bringing together all of JTEKT’s global products under one regional umbrella. With more than 5,400 people and 14 manufacturing facilities, the companies that make up JTEKT North America have been doing business since 1958, supplying bearings, driveline components, steering systems, and machine tools.
In 2013, JTEKT celebrated 25 years in Vonore with a huge celebration at its plant with thousands of people in attendance. Knight and Franklin believe the company’s success is due in large part to its great employees.
JTEKT’s Terry Knight and Brad Franklin look over the facility JTEKT will be opening up in the fall of 2016.