published Sunday, June 17th, 2012

Business Briefcase: GM expansion top 2011 project

In this Oct. 3, 2008 file photo, assembly line worker Melvin Matthews, right, uses a large robotic machine to install front seats in a  Chevrolet Traverse at the GM plant in Spring Hill, Tenn.
In this Oct. 3, 2008 file photo, assembly line worker Melvin Matthews, right, uses a large robotic machine to install front seats in a Chevrolet Traverse at the GM plant in Spring Hill, Tenn.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

GM expansion top 2011 project

The $235 million expansion announced last year by General Motors at its Spring Hill, Tenn., plant was the 2011 Economic Development Project of the Year, according to Area Development magazine, a publication which covers corporate site selection and facility planning. GM expects to add 2,350 jobs from the project, which will be built on the site of where GM previously pioneered its Saturn brand.

The magazine also recognized Tennessee among the best states for economic development. The Volunteer State, along with Texas, South Carolina and Utah, were named the winners of the magazine's 2012 Gold Shovel Awards.

The awards are presented annually to states that have achieved significant success in terms of job creation and economic impact. Tennessee received a Gold Shovel award in 2009 and Silver Shovel awards in 2006, 2010 and 2011.

"In 2011, we had the second best year of job creation on record, topped only by 2007, at the height of the bubble," said Bill Hagerty, Tennessee's commissioner of Economic and Community Development. "We substantially reorganized the department and had more staff on-the-ground recruiting than ever before."

Geraldine Gambale, editor of Area Development, said Tennessee won top honors among states with populations from 5 million to 9 million.

"As the economy slowly recovers, communities are going to great lengths to attract new businesses and to help their existing corporate citizens to expand their business," Gambale said.

Pulaski plant to expand

Magneti Marelli will invest $53.7 million to enlarge its facility in Pulaski, Tenn. The automotive supplier announced last week that it expects to add 800 jobs from the expansion.

Magneti Marelli said the new automotive lighting operation will be housed inside the company's existing Pulaski facility. The company makes headlamps and rear lights for a variety of auto makers.

Overall, Magneti Marelli has 83 production units, 11 research and development centers and 26 application centers in 18 countries.

Stone Fort Inn seeks artists

Stone Fort Inn in Chattanooga is seeking artists for its new gallery exhibit. The downtown hotel said it wants Chattanooga artists to display and sell their works in its new second and third floor hallway galleries. Jackie Errico of the Stone Fort Inn said such works must be original and depict recognizable elements of Chattanooga and its surrounding areas.

For more information, or to have your work displayed in the Gallery, artists should email

about Dave Flessner...

Dave Flessner is the business editor for the Times Free Press. A journalist for 35 years, Dave has been business editor and projects editor for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, city editor for The Chattanooga Times, business and county reporter for the Chattanooga Times, correspondent for the Lansing State Journal and Ingham County News in Michigan, staff writer for the Hastings Daily Tribune in Nebraska, and news director for WCBN-FM in Michigan. Dave, a native ...

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