Ad Spot

Shoals plant could spell Franklin jobs

By By Jason Cannon
Wednesday, Gov. Bob Riley announced rail car manufacturer National Alabama Corp. will locate in Barton Riverfront Industrial Park.
While this was the equivalent of landing a huge fish for the Shoals, Franklin County Development Authority Executive Director Mitch Mays said Franklin County stands to draw huge benefits as well.
"Anytime you have an industry locate to your community with that many employees and that much of a capital investment, it's a big deal for the whole area," he said.
National Alabama Corps' plans call for at least 1,800 jobs at the Barton facility with a pay range of $15 to $18 an hour.
The company has invested $350 million in the Barton operation and will occupy 640 acres in the industrial park.
Ground could be broken in less than a month and operations beginning early in 2009, which could be good news for Franklin County.
"I feel sure that many people in Franklin County will find work at the plant," Mays said. "An operation of that size will attract applicants from all over."
Now that National Alabama Corp. has committed themselves to Colbert County, the race is on for any and all suppliers that could feed the company.
"Right now, the Shoals doesn't even know what kind of suppliers, if any, National Alabama Corp. may need or have," Mays said.
But that doesn't mean people aren't clamoring to find out.
Mays said the Franklin County Development Authority is already positioning itself to compete for any suppliers that come along.
The company is a subsidiary of National Industries Inc., the parent company of National Steel Car Limited, of Hamilton, Ontario.
The Barton site will produce 8,000 to 10,000 rail cars per year once it's in full operation.