“I am seeing a business in every county to see how I can help them and create more jobs,” said U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) as he toured Eissmann Automotive North America Inc. Friday. “I am pleased to see the job creation. I have learned a lot by listening and seeing. I want to know what can Washington do to help, not hinder.”
Eissmann Automotive North America’s Managing Director Jost Bierbaum said Eissmann produces parts for Mercedes, Corvette, Jeep and Tesla. Technical diversity includes leather cutting, scoring invisible airbags, sewing and stitching airbags, application of adhesive, function monitoring and flame treatment.
“We are in the process of moving into a new 3,500-square-foot warehouse,” he said.
Bierbaum said the new warehouse space frees up space for $2.8 million in new equipment.
“It will equip a new Mercedes line, a large SUV crossover, and our first Ford program, the Lincoln MKC, is set to go online in October,” he said. “It will have an economic impact of about $15 million in sales per year.”
Bierbaum said the company began with 45 employees in 2004.
“We are currently at 330 employees, and will have 450 at the end of this year, exceeding projected employee growth,” he said. “The demand for what we do is growing. Everyone wants to upgrade their cars and that is what we are here for. We want to thank local leadership, Goodgame Company, local contractors and the St. Clair County Economic Development Council.”
Shelby asked how he can help Eissmann continue its growth.
“Education of employees and people in this area,” Bierbaum said. “Our work here is an art. You have to have the talent and passion.”
Bierbaum said the majority of employees come from St. Clair and Talladega counties.
“Education is the largest challenge, and St. Clair County is doing good things,” he said. “We are working with them on better training.”
Shelby said students should have the basic skills to hit the ground running when they graduate from high school.
“I think we need that in a policy,” he said. “Everybody can’t or won’t go to college—not everyone is cut out for it.”
Pell City Mayor Joe Funderburg said the city is pleased with Shelby’s visit.
“This visit shows his concerns about this area,” he said. “And we are very proud of what Eissmann has brought to this community. They are a partner with Pell City in progress.”
Contact Elsie Hodnett at email@example.com.