Thursday, December 20, 2012Author: Jeremy Styron
(Last modified: 2012-12-20 14:30:42)
The Loudon County Economic Development Agency and Italian ceramic floor tile manufacturer Ceramica Del Conca officially announced Wednesday the company's plans to locate its first U.S. base of operations and headquarters - a 320,000-square-foot manufacturing, research, showroom and administrative facility - on a 30-acre site at the Sugarlimb Industrial Park in Loudon.
With projected average hourly wages of $17 plus benefits, Del Conca plans to employ 178 at the facility in managerial, technical, engineering, administrative, production and distribution positions. The company is pursuing an expedited construction timeline in order to start operations before the end of 2013. "We thank Del Conca for selecting Loudon County and appreciate the support from our state, regional and local partners in facilitating this exceptional opportunity for our community and region," EDA President Pat Phillips said. Investment in the project is projected to total $70 million. The target date for completion of the Phase One construction program is December 2013, which will include $50 million in investment and 100 full-time jobs. Phase Two, with an additional $20 million investment and 78 full-time jobs, will follow after five to six years, depending upon satisfactory business conditions. Founded in 1979, the Del Conca Group is one of the leading Italian manufacturers of high-quality porcelain ceramic tiles exported worldwide for use in residential and commercial applications. The Loudon facility will establish a U.S. manufacturing and headquarters that will more efficiently and effectively serve major U.S. customers such as Lowe's, Arizona Tile, Mannington and Tile Shop, as well as Canada. "Loudon is geographically located close to the main U.S. highways and in close proximity to our sources of raw materials," Paolo Mularoni, president of Del Conca USA, said. "We have found in Loudon a very cooperative team of people who are working hard in order to help us build a successful business that better serves our U.S. and Canadian customers."
A company that embraces sustainable practices, Del Conca is a founding member of the Green Building Council Italy, whose goal is to offer eco-friendly materials that enable builders to achieve LEED certification. Gov. Bill Haslam and Bill Hagerty, Department of Economic and Community Development commissioner, joined in lauding Del Conca's announcement as a win for the state and region. "This announcement is great news for Loudon County, and I am excited to welcome Del Conca to Tennessee," Haslam said. "We are very appreciative of the investment in our state as we work toward our goal of becoming the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high-quality jobs." "Congratulations to Del Conca on this announcement," Hagerty said. "Tennessee's business-friendly environment - led by a governor and administration who understand business - are proving attractive to overseas companies looking to expand their global presence. We are proud to add Del Conca ceramic tiles to the list of quality products made in Tennessee." Known for some time locally as Project Sparrow, the official announcement has been much anticipated because of its promise of new manufacturing jobs. "It has been a distinct pleasure to work with Del Conca and the site consultant during the company's site location process that spanned four years and five southern states," Phillips said. "I am especially proud of the unanimous support from the Loudon County Commission and Loudon City Council for the inducements offered the company, which contributed to the decision to locate in Loudon."
Both Loudon County Mayor Estelle Herron and city of Loudon Mayor Judy McGill Keller emphasized the assistance and contributions provided by Haslam, Hagerty's office and the Tennessee Department of Transportation, which led to Del Conca's decision to select Tennessee. EDA is a Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley partner focused on bringing high-quality jobs and economic opportunities to Loudon County and East Tennessee.
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