Officials cut ribbon on GE Aviation plant

2018-05-11 | The News Courier

May 10--There was a celebratory mood in Limestone County Wednesday, as a plant that will eventually bring more than 300 jobs to local citizens was officially opened for business.

State and local leaders, including Gov. Kay Ivey, gathered to cut the ribbon on the new GE Aviation plant, located off Greenbrier Road in Huntsville-annexed Limestone County.

The facility will mass-produce silicon carbide (SiC) materials used to manufacture ceramic matrix composites, which would be used in jet engines. The plant is GE Aviation's second Alabama facility. The $200 million center is comprised of two adjacent factories and sits on 100 acres.

"This was a collaborative effort of state and local leaders working together with business leaders to show what Alabama has to offer," Ivey said to a large crowd gathered for the ceremony. "It is a great day for Alabama. It takes a whole team effort to make our great state successful. For a world leading corporation like GE Aviation to build a plant here says a lot about our workforce."

GE Aviation Huntsville Plant Leader Jon Lyford said the plant had hired 90 employees and would more than double that number of local workers.

"We are proud of the talent we have been able to attract from this area," Lyford said.

Limestone County Commission Chairman Mark Yarbrough said the grand opening ceremony was "a great day for Limestone County."

"A state-of-the-art facility with cutting-edge technology is open for businesses in Limestone County," Yarbrough said. "Our workforce is second to none in the world, and GE Aviation locating here acknowledges that."

In addition to Ivey and Yarbrough, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle also spoke at the event, while it was attended by dignitaries including Sen. Arthur Orr, Limestone County Commissioners Ben Harrison and Jason Black, Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks and representatives for Sens. Richard Shelby and Doug Jones.

The Huntsville plant is one of only two in the world that mass-produce the SiC components, with the other being in Japan.

Yarbrough said it was a long process from the first meetings held with GE Aviation more than two years ago to Wednesday's grand opening, but it was gratifying work.

"Just like with any project, you go through a lot of work, but you're seeing it come to fruition today," Yarbrough said. "This type of project shows we can compete globally with anybody and our workforce can compete globally with anybody."

Ivey agreed, and thanked GE Aviation leaders for choosing to locate in north Alabama.

"To my friends at GE Aviation, thank you for choosing Alabama," Ivey said at the close of her remarks. "Thank you for believing in the leadership of this state, and most of all, thank you for believing in and investing in our people. I'm certain you won't be disappointed."