Kingsport Times-News: Canadian company buying Phipps Bend spec building will hire 54

Canadian company buying Phipps Bend spec building will hire 54

Jeff Bobo • Updated May 16, 2018 at 11:17 AM

UPDATE, 5/16/2018


Composite components manufacturer to create 54 new jobs

SURGOINSVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe and RMC Advanced Technologies officials announced today that the company will locate its U.S. headquarters and establish a manufacturing facility in Surgoinsville.

The composite components manufacturer will invest $7 million and create 54 new jobs in Hawkins County.

“I want to welcome RMC to Hawkins County and thank the company for choosing to locate its U.S. headquarters and manufacturing facility in Surgoinsville,” Rolfe said. “It means a great deal that another international-based company has chosen our state for its new operations.

Tennessee is home to more than 70 Canadian-owned companies that employ approximately 8,000 Tennesseans and we appreciate RMC for creating 54 new jobs in our state and


RMC Advanced Technologies, a subsidiary of Sigma Industries Inc., produces and sells composite components. The company offers products for the heavy-duty truck, coach, transit and bus, machinery, agriculture and wind energy markets. Sigma Industries Inc. was founded in 2005 and is based in Saint-Ephrem-de-Beauce, Quebec, Canada.

“This location in the U.S. represents an important strategic milestone for us,” Denis Bertrand, president of Sigma Industries Inc., said. “It is the first step in our strategy to grow our operations in the U.S. market. In essence, it will allow us to better serve existing customers while providing us with the opportunity to grow our business in a market of significant size. Furthermore, we are proud to be in a position to serve our transit industry customers with Buy America compliant products.”

RMC’s new operations, which will be located in the Phipps Bend Industrial Park Spec Building in Surgoinsville, will be the company’s U.S. headquarters and will also include manufacturing and production. The company plans on manufacturing composite components in Hawkins County.

“I’d like to welcome RMC to Hawkins County and look forward to the company’s future growth,”  Hawkins County Mayor Melville Bailey said. “I am pleased RMC has chosen to call Phipps Bend Industrial Park home. RMC’s decision to locate here reinforces our position that Hawkins County offers the quality of workforce that industries need. We look forward to working with them to ensure many prosperous years in Hawkins County.”

“I am pleased to welcome RMC to Hawkins County. A company like this was exactly what we envisioned to locate in the spec building in Phipps Bend Industrial Park,” Larry Elkins, chairman of Hawkins County Industrial Development Board, said. “The quality of jobs RMC will bring to Hawkins County speaks volumes about the company and what it will provide to our community. RMC Advanced Technologies Inc. will have state of the art robotics technology that will require highly skilled employees. I’d like to thank NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership, TVA, Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development, and Rebecca Baker for their hard work and many hours of service in helping to locate RMC to Hawkins County.”

“TVA and Holston Electric Cooperative congratulate Sigma Industries, Inc. on its decision to locate in Hawkins County,” TVA Senior Vice President of Economic Development John Bradley said. “Helping to create new job opportunities in the Valley is fundamental to TVA’s mission of service and we are proud to partner with Hawkins County Industrial Development Board, Phipps Bend Joint Venture Managing Committee, NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership and USDA Rural Development to help further that mission.”

Surgoinsville and Hawkins County are represented by Sen. Frank Niceley (R – Strawberry Plains) and Rep. Gary Hicks (R – Rogersville) in the Tennessee General Assembly.

About the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s mission is to develop strategies which help make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs. To grow and strengthen Team Tennessee, the department seeks to attract new corporate investment in Tennessee and works with Tennessee companies to facilitate expansion and economic growth. Find us on the web: Follow us on Twitter: @tnecd. Like us on Facebook:

Previously reported, 5/12/18

ROGERSVILLE — It took almost a decade, but Hawkins County’s spec building at the Phipps Bend Industrial Park has been sold to a Canadian company that is expected to invest $7 million in the county and hire 54 employees.

Information about that company and what it will be manufacturing won’t be released until May 16 when the ribbon-cutting ceremony takes place at Phipps Bend beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe is expected to be in attendance.

It’s good news for Hawkins County and for the regional economy.

But it was especially good news for the County Commission Friday when Industrial Development Board Chairman Larry Elkins reported that the sale means the county will soon be receiving a check for about $721,000.

The 70,000-square-foot building was constructed in 2009 with about $600,000 in grant funding and a $700,000 loan from U.S. Bank that the IDB didn’t have to start repaying for two years.

The thought at the time was that the building would sell quickly before loan payments came due. But just as the building went up for sale, there was a huge national economic crisis, and new industrial development in Hawkins County dwindled to almost nothing.

After two years, the county paid off the U.S. Bank loan and interest with the understanding that those funds would be recouped when the building sold.

Commissioners get some good news

On Friday, the Hawkins County Commission concluded three days of hearings on its proposed 2018-19 budget, listening to budget requests from all county departments and contribution recipients.

Elkins timed his $17,600 funding increase request perfectly Friday morning with the announcement of the spec building sale.

“We’ve got a $100,000 good faith (deposit) on it, and we will finish up all the paperwork on Tuesday, and we will be able to pay Hawkins County every penny back that you loaned us,” Elkins told commissioners Friday. “We were not able to sell the building for what we had in it, but we were real close. You’re talking a few thousand dollars.”

The Phipps Bend Joint Venture, comprised of representatives from Kingsport and Hawkins County, had put up the $30,000 matching fund for the spec building grant in 2009.

Although the Joint Venture was supposed to recoup that $30,000 when the building sold, it has forgone that repayment to help the IDB close the books on the sale with no further debts. 

The funds repaid to the county will go into the general debt service fund, but the money hasn’t been added as revenue in the proposed 2018-19 budget.

Twelve months of economic success

The spec building sale caps a busy 12 months of industrial growth in Hawkins County which included a total of $101.6 million in new investment and 435 new jobs.

Of that growth, three projects were new construction and five were expansions of current plants, including a $1.1 million expansion with 32 new jobs which is expected to be announced later this month.

With these latest announcements, the plants at Phipps Bends will top 2,000 total employees.

Friday’s IDB budget request

The IDB serves as the recipient for pass-through federal funds totaling $348,618 that pay for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) program, which puts young people to work. That program receives no county funding.

The county-funded portion of the IDB budget is $155,220 in the current fiscal year, but the new request would increase it by $17,6000 to $172,820.

The biggest new IDB spending requests include: $4,000 for engineering services required by prospective industries; $5,000 for legal fees related to industrial expansions; $4,000 to pay for street lights on Phipps Bend Road south of the Main Street intersection; $2,500 for tractor repair; and $1,500 to replace tools that belonged to the former maintenance worker who retrieved them when he retired.

The full County Commission will meet next Friday to consider approval of all 2018-19 funding requests.


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