A jobs contractor with a focus in the auto industry that last year employed about 1,700 workers at the BMW plant in South Carolina has landed in downtown Chattanooga.
Augusta, Ga.-based MAU Inc. has opened an office at Republic Centre, where it already is helping recruit some professional workers for Volkswagen, said Randy Hatcher, the company's president.
He said the business would like to do more work for VW, which is slated to start production at its Chattanooga production plant early next year.
"We'd like to be one of VW's partners," Mr. Hatcher said.
MAU, which stands for Management, Analysis and Utilization Inc., has employed contract workers for BMW's auto assembly plant in Spartanburg, S.C., for four years.
A MAU subsidiary had as many as 1,750 employees last year at the plant, which in late 2009 housed a total of about 5,000 workers including contract employees. For proprietary reasons, Mr. Hatcher declined to say how many contract workers are at the plant now.
At BMW's plant, the German automaker needed to balance changing production volumes based on customer demand and model changeovers, according to MAU. MAU was picked in 2006 and created a division called Tier One Solution to execute day-to-day logistical operations at the plant with its personnel.
"They're a big user of contract people and we designed a concept with them," Mr. Hatcher said.
According to MAU, its workers' wage rates were designed to be comparable with the Spartanburg area's top employers, and a benefits package was created as well.
Guenther Scherelis, general manager of communications for VW's Chattanooga operations, said that at the moment its human resources department is hiring its work force.
"All other measures will be evaluated at a later point in time, if necessary," he said. VW has said it will create 2,000 jobs at its $1 billion auto assembly plant.
MAU's Chattanooga office now has five employees plus four "virtual recruiters," people who work from their homes, to assist with its business growth and expansion in the area, company spokesman Brett Yardley said.
* Name: Management, Analysis and Utilization Inc.
* Founded: 1973
* Headquarters: Augusta, Ga.
* Business: Professional recruiting, commercial staffing, outsourcing solutions, human resource services.
* President: Randy Hatcher
As the company expands, MAU foresees up to an additional five full-time employees, but that could change if client needs increase, he said.
J.Ed. Marston, the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce's vice president of marketing, said MAU's entry into the market is part of the ripple effect of VW.
Chattanooga is starting to get "serious attention" from businesses which support the auto industry, he said.
Mr. Hatcher said his company also deals with a lot of Tier 1 and Tier 2 automotive suppliers.
He said there are other business segments in Chattanooga, including insurance, with which it would like to work.