“I was supposed to be somewhere else today, but when I was told there were 100 new jobs in St. Clair County, I said, ‘I want to go there,’” Bentley said.
The governor was one of more than 100 local and state officials and area residents who attended the ceremony. Nufab Rebar LLC is a fabricator of concrete reinforcing steel and related products.
“This project reflects the importance of state and local partnerships in attracting new jobs and economic development to Alabama,” Bentley said. “We have worked hard to create a positive business climate, and we are pleased that the state of Alabama could play a role in bringing new jobs to St. Clair County. Further, we thank Nufab Rebar for the company’s investment in the state, and we look forward to a long-term, positive relationship with the company.”
Bentley said as he travels across the United States and the world to recruit industry, the people he speaks with talk about the cooperative effort they find throughout Alabama.
“What I learned through the tornadoes is that everything is local,” he said. “You can’t do it on a state level if the local level is not cooperative. Industries want to come to Alabama because people work together – people care about each other here.”
Bentley said the creation of 100 new jobs in a town of 3,000 is just as significant as the creation of 5,000 jobs in Mobile or Huntsville.
“I don’t care if it’s just 10 jobs. If someone tells me, I’m going to try to come,” he said.
David Camozzi, president of Eastern Operations for Harris Rebar, said he flew in from Canada to attend the groundbreaking and was blown away by the attendance.
“We are delighted to grow this company. It’s a personal challenge to grow this business in Riverside,” he said.
Camozzi said the company plans to hire 50 employees within the first three years.
“We are projected to have 80 employees in five years, but would be happy to go to 100 jobs,” he said.
Dennis Swinney, Nufab Rebar area manager, said all of the people at Nufab Rebar are excited to be building the new facility in Riverside.
“We looked long and hard to find a new home,” he said. “This really felt like home. We will begin construction of a fabrication facility that will create more than 80 new jobs. The new facility will fabricate rebar for use in reinforced concrete construction projects throughout Alabama and its surrounding states. We worked very closely with Riverside Mayor Rusty Jessup, the St. Clair County Economic Development Council, St. Clair County officials and other city staff, and appreciate the assistance and support they have provided for this project.’
Alabama Department of Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield said securing up to 80 new jobs for Riverside and for St. Clair County is significant.
“We appreciate Nufab Rebar’s confidence in Alabama’s business climate,” he said. “We stand ready to work with the company to help it prosper in Alabama for years to come.”
St. Clair County Commission Chairman Stan Batemon said this event was a long time in coming.
“We are very thrilled, not only for everyone in Riverside, but for all the St. Clair County citizens,” he said. “Here, instead of pulling each other apart, we’ve learned the lesson of keeping together. We would like to thank Mayor Jessup, the EDC staff and the Alabama Department of Commerce for all their hard work in bringing this project to fruition. I’d also like to thank Sen. Del Marsh and Rep. Randy Wood for their hard work.”
Marsh said St. Clair County can accomplish a lot of things because people work together.
“Today you see mayors from other towns celebrating this for Riverside,” he said. “You don’t see that happen everywhere.”
St. Clair County Economic Development Council Executive Director Don Smith said the Nufab Rebar project is already having positive effects on Riverside in the form of infrastructure grants and direct revenue from the company for the benefit of the community.
Smith said because of new job creation, Riverside was granted a $1 million industrial access grant from the Alabama Industrial Access Road & Bridge Program for road improvements. These improvements will provide safe and suitable access to the site for the company and surrounding users. The city also has a pending grant through the Economic Development Administration for a future public rail spur that the company will utilize.
“Nufab Rebar is a quality company and will have an incredible impact on Riverside going forward,” he said.
Jessup said Friday’s ceremony was the first time a seated governor has come to Riverside.
“This is the greatest day Riverside has seen,” he said. “The announcement of Nufab Rebar in Riverside is a monumental occasion for our community. Not only is this company creating jobs in our city, it is also creating additional potential for growth.’
Jessup said it took several years to make the project happen.
“The county, the EDC and the Alabama Department of Commerce have walked alongside us in the recruitment process, and we feel that the decision to commit to constructing in Riverside along with the accrual of the $1 million grant from the Industrial Access Road & Bridge Program, which is the largest amount of grant money ever received by this community, will move us toward our brighter future,” he said. “We appreciate Nufab and the big commitment they have made, and will support them and help make them successful.”
Contact Elsie Hodnett at email@example.com.