Miller adds trailer line, expands Greeneville plant

Miller adds trailer line, expands Greeneville plant

August 2nd, 2013 by Shelly Bradbury in Business Around the Region

The logo of Miller Industries is seen on a component.

Photo by John Rawlston/Times Free Press.

Ooltewah-based Miller Industries is adding a new product line and expanding its Tennessee operations, the company announced Thursday.

The towing equipment manufacturer plans to spend $1.8 million and create 58 new jobs in Greene-ville, Tenn., and will start manufacturing and refurbishing large over-the-road trailers that can haul as many as 11 vehicles.

The new trailers will be manufactured under the Delavan brand as part of a joint venture between Miller Industries and the Lohr Group, a private French company that specializes in transportation. The two groups came together earlier this year in order to bring Delavan products to the United States and Canada.

“It’s a type of trailer used by manufacturing companies to take new cars to dealerships,” said Bill Beckley, corporate human resources director at Miller.

The company will add 6,300 new square feet to the Greeneville facility and will add an additional 40,000 square feet of rented space in order to build the new trailers. Miller Industries also operates two plants in Pennsylvania and one in Ooltewah.

“We had space and a good workforce and decided that [Greenville] was a good place to put that product,” Beckley said. “We are happy to provide some more jobs in Greene County. It’s quite a depressed market from the state’s perspective, with high unemployment.”

Greene County’s unemployment rate was 12.1 percent in June, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Tom Ferguson, CEO of the Greene County Partnership, said in a release that the jobs Miller is adding will have a significant impact in the region.

“We seriously appreciate Miller Industries’ continued confidence in Greeneville,” he said. “In today’s economic environment, 58 jobs is a big deal.”

Currently, Miller Industries employs 88 people in Greeneville and 445 workers in Tennessee. The company is headquartered — and has its largest facility — in Ooltewah.

Beckley said it’s possible the new Delavan trailer could lead to even more jobs.

“The product line could lead to more positions in our other facilities, but we don’t know that for sure,” he said.

<em>Contact Shelly Bradbury at sbradbury@timesfreepress.com or at 757-6525.</em>