ATLANTA - Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue announced today that the ZF Group, a leading global automotive supplier for driveline and chassis technology, will expand its existing Gainesville, Georgia operation through the construction of a wind energy plant.
This project represents a $90 million investment, and will create 215 jobs once the plant is fully operational.
"Georgia's a logistical advantages and the innovative research being done at our universities and prime research facilities make our state a strategic location for renewable energy projects," said Governor Perdue. "The ZF Group's decision to expand its operations here bodes well for Gainesville and communities throughout northeast Georgia."
"This is great news during an economy where job creation is our top priority," added Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, who attended the groundbreaking ceremony as well. "It reminds us that as long as we keep supporting Georgia companies with the right tools and policies to help businesses grow, businesses will keep investing in Georgia, even during tough economic times."
At its expanded Hall County operations, ZF will manufacture gearboxes for wind turbine energy generation. Construction for the new facility is expected to begin immediately, with an estimated opening in February 2011. The start of production is slated for January 2012.
"There is a heightened global focus on renewable energy production, and we believe there is an opportunity to leverage our automotive driveline and chassis technology leadership in this exciting and growing alternative energy sector," said Elizabeth Umberson, ZF division president, Commercial Vehicle and Special Driveline Technology. "ZF is very grateful that we were able to collaborate with state and local leaders to make this investment in the community and people of Gainesville and Georgia possible."
The new ZF facility will be located in the Gainesville Business Park, just minutes from the company's existing plant. The wind turbine gearboxes manufactured at this facility will work as a part of a system that turns kinetic wind energy into electricity.
"ZF has been a great partner with Gainesville and Hall County for more than 20 years, and we realize the company could have located this new facility anywhere in North America," said Kit Dunlap, president and CEO of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce. "The company's decision to locate this new business in Gainesville-Hall County and Georgia is a testament to the relationship we enjoy with ZF, the quality of the workforce and our long-term efforts to support our existing industry."
Georgia's nationally recognized Quick Start workforce training program will assist ZF in preparing new hires for work in the expanding Hall County operations. Quick Start provides customized workforce training free-of-charge as an incentive for companies to create new jobs in Georgia.
Chip Mitchell, Georgia Department of Economic Development senior project manager, assisted the company with this project.