Bentley joins in on SEHomes grand opening

By Matt Wilson

For the FCT

Governor Robert Bentley made a stop in Russellville this past Friday at the grand opening of Southern Energy Homes’ new manufacturing facility where the end product of investment and planning for economic growth came to fruition.

General Manager for SEHomes, David Brewer, said the new 176,000 sq. ft. facility will produce 1,500 homes annually and add 50-70 new jobs to the already 270 at the plant.

The cutting-edge operation for SEHomes, a subsidiary of Clayton Homes, is located on 27 acres in Russellville’s Industrial Park #2.

The facility, which was relocated from its previous facility in Double Springs, features advanced technology, such as motorized decking and shingle systems, state-of-the-art adjustable floor jigs, self-enclosed paint booths, advanced remote controlled cranes, and it allows for team members to build larger homes up to 86 feet in length.

Gov. Bentley, along with Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow and Sen. Roger Bedford, welcomed the expansion and the new job opportunities during the event and praised the local governments in assisting with the positive move for the area.

Bentley said the decision by Clayton Homes to expand and bring in new jobs was a compliment to the workers of the state.

“Seeing something like this—this expansion here by Clayton Homes—reminds me that it is all about lives and people,” Bentley said.

“I truly believe we have some of the best workforce and work ethics in Alabama.”

U.S. Representative Robert Aderholt said he expects to see growth in rural Alabama continue.

“Manufactured housing as an industry has seen some tough times,” Aderholt said.

“But it is good to see Clayton Homes do something like this and follow through.

“Governor Bentley has been committed to rural Alabama and this is the end product of that dedication.”

Bedford said he has seen the same dedication to rural Alabama from the governor as well.

“When these homes are built, it not only benefits the families that get the homes, it affects our whole community,” Bedford said.

“The opening of Southern Energy Homes will provide a great opportunity for good-paying jobs for the people of Northwest Alabama. We are thankful for the expansion and continued investment in the area by Southern Energy Homes and look forward to putting more Northwest Alabama citizens to work.”

Mayor David Grissom gave an enthusiastic welcome to the expansion of SEHomes, and said he hoped it was the beginning of something long-term.

“This is a great day for Russellville and a great day for Franklin County,” Grissom said.

“I’m glad to see this all come together and I’m looking forward to a long-term relationship. Southern Energy Homes is a great addition to our team of businesses and industries who are all working together to make our city even better in the future.”

Samuel Rashkin, chief architect for the Department of Energy, was in attendance to award Clayton Homes for manufacturing the nation’s first Zero Energy Ready Home.

SEhomes was also selected by Systems Building Research Alliance (SBRA) to build three homes for a 15-month test of energy performance. The homes represent three levels of energy efficiency: a home that complies with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) thermal standards, an ENERGY STAR® qualified home and a home that meets the requirements of the U.S. Department of Energy Challenge Home Program. All three test homes will be located at SEhomes’ new Russellville facility through July 2015.

Gov. Bentley said expansion and growth in the state by companies like Clayton Homes is a trend he hopes to continue to see, but replacement might be a more likely theme.

“Newer companies coming in and older companies being phased out is kind of what we’re seeing right now,” Bentley said.

“The demand for some things drops and that’s when we see new products and new companies move in and replace the older companies. Hopefully we can see that continue in Alabama.”

Morrow told the crowd risk is sometimes part of the equation when it comes to economic development.

“Sometimes someone has to take a risk and I’m glad that Clayton Homes has decided to come through with this [expansion],” Morrow said.

“And I don’t think this particular product and the workforce in this area are really a risk at all.”

The Russellville facility is the second home building facility the company has opened in Alabama this year. It will solely produce SEhomes’ Southern Homes brand, which consists of home models that are all built to HUD code, and require multiple inspection points. The homes from this facility will be available throughout the Southeast.


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