Shelby visits county on jobs tour

U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) made a stop in Franklin County this past weekend as part of his statewide jobs and industry tour.

The tour is something Shelby has said is important in order to understand what businesses and communities truly need.

“Job creation must be our top priority as a nation, and it has been the focus of my statewide travel,” Shelby said.

“Visiting with businesses across Alabama has provided me with important information about how federal policies are affecting job creation efforts in each of our 67 counties. This feedback will play a critical role in informing how I vote on issues before the Senate.”

Shelby and his staff met and talked with employees and executives of Russellville industries G&G Steel and Franklin Manufacturing, which are family-owned and operated industries that have been a major part of the county’s economy since 1975 and 1977 respectively. They also took a tour of the facilities.

“I had an excellent visit to Franklin County,” Shelby said.

“As with my visits to businesses across the state, we discussed the regulatory burden that the company faces and how we can establish the conditions for job creation.

“Alabama has a great workforce statewide, and it will continue to grow larger if we don’t over-regulate the economy.”

G&G Steel is one of the largest steel fabricators in the USA. It started out as a machine and fabrication shop utilizing CNC machinery and the latest technology in fabrication.

After the company began to grow, Danny Gist, the president and founder of G&G Steel, developed Franklin Manufacturing, Inc. as a separate company that handled all the responsibilities of the machine shop, which has its own product line.

Bret Gist, Danny’s son and the companies’ vice-president, said Shelby’s visit on Saturday was helpful because it allowed them to show the senator what their company is able to offer.

“I think the visit with Sen. Shelby went very well, and we appreciate him taking the time to talk with us about what we do and how he can be of help to us in the future,” Gist said.

“He was very interested in what we do here and let us know that he is very supportive of industry. He is very jobs-oriented and told us that supporting business and industry is a top priority of his.”

G&G Steel handles all types of steel fabrication and specializes in the fabrication of such things as industrial furnaces for the aluminum and steel industries, grinding mills and kilns for the cement, gold mine and lime industries, and components for the pre-fab metal building industry.

Gist said G&G Steel also handles several different federally funded projects with various types of lock and dam steel structures and heavy movable bridge structures for the Army Corps of Engineers, which is one of G&G Steel’s biggest customers.

“I believe it was good for Sen. Shelby to see the federally funded work we do,” Gist said.

“There are times where we may be competing with foreign companies, so it’s good for him to know we’re a viable and competitive business located right here in Alabama.”

Gist said he also thought the visit was beneficial for the county as a whole because it gave Shelby an overall picture of what’s offered industry-wise here locally.

“Sen. Shelby was able to see that we are a large industry that is flourishing in a small town and in a rural county,” Gist said.

“He seemed to be intrigued that we are a family-oriented business and that we are a diversified company. We don’t just make one thing here or offer one type of service.

“Seeing that type of a company doing well in a rural community will hopefully reinforce the idea that industries don’t have to be located in a large, metropolitan area in order to do well. Small communities still have a lot to offer.”

The visit to G&G Steel/Franklin Manufacturing on Saturday marks the 64th stop in Shelby’s statewide jobs and industry tour.

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