Local community leaders gathered with company officials this week at the plant to celebrate the restart of the G1 float glass line, which will produce both high-quality clear and tinted float glass for the architectural and automotive industries.
The company shut down the production line in 2008 and laid off about 250 people at the time.
AGC announced last January it had decided to restart the line.
“The restarted production line marks another important step in our efforts to strengthen the company’s operations in North America,” said Mark Ishiko, president and chief executive officer of AGC Glass Company North America. “AGC is committed and fully intends to succeed here.”
The G1 line will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, according to the company.
Some of the employees hired for the restarted line were laid off late last year when AGC announced the closure of the company’s Blue Ridge Plant in Kingsport. That plant produced glass for the solar industry, and business had been negatively impacted by a big influx of imports from China, according to AGC officials.
Although the company closed its Kingsport plant, Hawkins County officials said they were pleased AGC opted to invest in the Church Hill facility.
“During the last few years, we’ve had multiple business closings in the area and that really hurt the city of Church Hill and Hawkins County. So we are very happy that AGC has chosen to invest in restarting this float line,” said Church Hill Mayor Dennis Deal. “This will create a lot of jobs and will put money back in our community, which is much needed.”
Hawkins County Mayor Melville Bailey said AGC is “an extremely important asset to Hawkins County and the surrounding communities.”
“The economic impact that AGC has in local tax dollars and employment opportunities enhances the quality of life for all Hawkins Countians. We are proud and honored that AGC is doing business in Hawkins County,” Bailey said.
AGC Glass Company North America is headquartered in Alpharetta, Ga., and is part of Japan-based Asahi Glass Co., Ltd.