The right chemistry: Wacker plant thriving in Bradley County after a decade of production

Times Free Press / The April 9, 2011 Chattanooga Times Free Press business section announces Wacker Chemical's groundbreaking on a plant in Bradly County, Tennessee. The site is Wacker's biggest manufacturing facility outside Germany.
Times Free Press / The April 9, 2011 Chattanooga Times Free Press business section announces Wacker Chemical's groundbreaking on a plant in Bradly County, Tennessee. The site is Wacker's biggest manufacturing facility outside Germany.


It's been almost 13 years since Wacker Chemical broke ground on its polysilicon factory in Bradley County, Tennessee.

Officials with the German manufacturer said at the April 2011 groundbreaking that the plant's first 70 job openings drew about 4,000 applicants. Wacker leaders anticipated having 650 workers in place for the plant's 2014 production start.

At full capacity, officials said, the 550-acre factory in Charleston, Tennessee, would have about 1,000 employees -- double the company's estimate when it announced in 2009 that it would build in Bradley County.

"We have every reason to smile," Doug Berry, vice president for economic development at the Cleveland-Bradley County Chamber of Commerce, said at the groundbreaking.

Wacker announced in 2009 that the plant would cost $1 billion. Now a $2.5 billion operation after two expansions in the past dozen years, the Charleston site is Wacker's biggest manufacturing facility outside Germany.


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