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Staff File Photo by Robin Rudd / U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm speaks an event last year at the future site of the Novonix production plant in Chattanooga.

Novonix, the battery materials maker that's one of downtown Chattanooga's newest companies, will be among more than 20 businesses looking for employees at a job fair next week at The Bend.

Novonix, filter producer Micronics and other companies at the 120-acre former Alstom site on Riverfront Parkway will be joined on Feb. 24 by area employers such as Volkswagen, Komatsu and Shaw Industries, said Jimmy White, whose company owns The Bend.

Businesses in manufacturing, health care, hospitality, logistics, education and finance are among those taking part.

"A lot of folks are hiring, and companies which came to The Bend over the past 12-18 months, they're all hiring and trying to place jobs," said White in a telephone interview.

He said the job fair, held along with the city, will be from 1-6 p.m. at 1201 Riverfront Parkway, or near the entrance to the Micronics building.

White said he was meeting recently with City Council members Darrin Ledford and Raquetta Dotley and telling them the development's intention is to affect the entire area.

"What we do here impacts the community surrounding us in a positive way," he said.

The Urban Story Ventures official said the hope is some people who live nearby can walk or bike to work. One of The Bend's buildings will be set up for the job fair and offer an opportunity to match skill sets with employers, he said.

If you go

What: Job fair

When: 1-6 p.m. Thursday

Where: The Bend, 1201 Riverfront Parkway

To register: TheBendJobFair.info/RSVP

Novonix is readying a 400,000-square-foot former Alstom plant where turbines were built in order to start production later this year of synthetic graphite.

The product is used in making ultra-long-life, high-performance anode material for lithium-ion batteries, specifically for electric vehicles and similar storage applications.

The company announced last year it plans to employ 300 people as it invests about $160 million into the facility.

Chris Burns, chief executive officer of the Australia-based company, said in a phone interview America has long been almost completely reliant on China for key materials such as what Novonix is producing in Chattanooga.

"Until recently, almost all battery cells were built in China," said the CEO of the company that opened a small operation in Lookout Valley in 2017.

While battery cell production has grown phenomenally in North America recently, there's a need to bring the suppliers of the materials to this region, Burns said.

"This site we're opening and expanding is one of the first scaled sites to produce some of those scaled materials in North America," he said.

The former Alstom property was renamed The Bend after White and Chattanooga hotel developer Hiren Desai bought the parcel from GE Power for $30 million in 2018.

According to Urban Story, The Bend to date has generated $180 million in investment and 750 jobs. White has said the proposed mixed-use redevelopment of the entire Alstom property could bring $2 billion to $3 billion in investments, add more than $11 million in tax revenue annually for the city and Hamilton County and spur more than 5,000 jobs.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.

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