By Hannah Lester
Hanwha Cimarron, LLC is building a new manufacturing facility in the city of Opelika. The base of operations will provide a capital investment of $130 million and bring 261 jobs to the city.
“They are producing products for the use [in] many industry sectors including aerospace, drone defense, marine, rail, vehicle and gas transportation, in addition to the jobs that they already have it the automobile business,” said City Council President Eddie Smith during the city’s announcement Tuesday. “We’re very fortunate to have Hanwha who is already a major presence in our community, has made a difference in our community by being a part of it, that we owe them a debt of gratitude to them for.”
The facility will cater to the Carbon Overwrap Pressure Vessel industry. David Jeon, CEO of Hanwha Cimarron said on Tuesday that the company is excited for local partnerships in Opelika.
“I want to thank you so much for your hospitality,” he said. “I’m very fortunate to serve as CEO … and in fact, Opelika is very special to me because I was a young project manager years ago when Hanwha first decided that Opelika, Alabama, would be the U.S. home … so fate has brought me back here.”
Hollie Pegg, assistant director for the business development division of commerce for the state of Alabama, said the state welcomes what she dubbed the ‘second generation’ of Hanwha.
“They’ve been a great corporate partner,” she said. “Now to have this new entity, new division, to join us here will be wonderful. And our commitment to you is to provide the best-skilled workforce to you.”
This workforce development will include partnerships with community colleges and high schools in the area, Pegg said.
“Opelika is a community that ‘gets it,’” Pegg said. “I think that’s an overused expression but we’ve seen for really almost twenty years now, certainly for the past fifteen-plus years, the commitment by the leadership, by the city council, by the county commission, by the IDA to invest the money to be ready so when an opportunity comes, they will be the best prepared to welcome and create jobs for your residents. So thank you.”
This new facility will not be just focus on automobiles, like the previous Hanwha partnerships, Smith said, but a host of other opportunities.
“Hanwha Cimarron’s decision to build a new manufacturing facility in Opelika is great news for the city and for the state,” said Gov. Kay Ivey in a press release. “This is another project that will create jobs for our hard-working citizens while also showing Alabama offers the kind of business environment that companies seek for success.”
Although Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller could not attend the announcement due to contracting COVID-19, he shared his gratitude in the city’s press release.
“We thank the leaders of Hanwha Cimarron for having confidence in Opelika,” he said. “Our city provides a strong workforce and offers great living amenities. We are excited to support this new industry.”