Dixie invests $5.5 million

Dixie invests $5.5 million

October 21st, 2009 by Brian Lazenby in Business

The city's Industrial Development Board on Tuesday cleared the way for a multimillion-dollar expansion at Dixie Industries that will double the company's local work force.

The Board approved a resolution authorizing the city to lease property to Dixie's new York-based parent company, Columbus McKinnon Corp., which has agreed to invest $5.5 million over the next three years.

Jerry Basham, improvements manager at Dixie Industries, said the local investment is a result of the company closing its facility in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and moving forge operations to Chattanooga.

"Over the next three years we plan on doubling the amount of our employees from 120 to about 240," he said.

Company glance

* Name: Columbus McKinnon

* Headquarters: Amherst, N.Y.

* 2008 sales: $623.3 million

* Employees: 3,233

* Products: Manufacturer and marketer of material handling equipment.

Source: Hoover's

Jeff Franklin, division control manager for Dixie, said a small number will be brought in from the closed operation, but the overwhelming majority of them will be new, local hires made through the Tennessee Career Center at Eastgate.

"We are not taking applications," he said. "We are going through the Career Center."

According to Ed Seiler, director of operations improvement for Columbus McKinnon Corp., 100 jobs will be added in Chattanooga the first year and about 20 the second. A few others will be added in the third year.

Pay will average $16.31 an hour, Mr. Seiler said.

Dixie Industries has operations at East 14th Street and Orchard Knob Avenue. It forges such items as hooks, tie-downs and other metal products, supplying the forestry, logging and towing industries.

Mr. Basham said the hiring process already has begun.

Anyone interested in a position with Dixie Industries should submit an application at the Southeast Tennessee Career Center. Applicants must apply at the center at 5600 Brainerd Road, Eastgate Town Center, Suite 5, next to the YMCA branch.