Mayor, county judge say Emerson expansion will ‘improve the lives of our citizens'

Updated: Oct. 26, 2020 at 9:30 PM CDT
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ASH FLAT, Ark. (KAIT) - A week after Emerson announced it would bring 245 new jobs to Ash Flat in the next four years, city and county leaders are weighing in on what it means for their citizens.

Sharp County Judge Gene Moore says this project has been in the works for several months now. The facility will be located in an existing building on Industrial Drive off of Highway 62.

The release states the facility will operate within the company’s “tools and home products” segment and will manufacture products for the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing industries.

Judge Moore says this $35 million investment will benefit all parties in Ash Flat.

“We were wanting something to economically develop here in this community for several years now to improve the lives of our citizens,” Judge Moore said. “We’re excited, and we’re very proud for what’s happening for the citizens.”

The facility had been unoccupied for close to a year. Now, the work begins to get the facility ready for Emerson. A quorum court meeting was held in Ash Flat Wednesday, October 26 to discuss the facility.

Several resolutions were passed to allow the county to apply for several grants, worth close to $8 million dollars to go towards renovations to the existing building.

“We greatly appreciate the support of Governor Hutchinson, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC), the Northeast Arkansas Regional Intermodal Authority, and the other local, state, and federal officials who helped to finalize plans for our new location in Ash Flat,” said Craig Sumner, president of Emerson’s professional tools portfolio in North America. “The new facility’s close proximity to our Memphis Distribution Center will allow for reduced lead times for shipping of products and materials, improvements in customer service, and opportunities for growth while achieving operational excellence.”

Emerson was founded in St. Louis in 1890 as a manufacturer of electric motors and fans. Over the past century, the company has grown from a regional manufacturer into a global technology and software solutions powerhouse.

“Since its inception more than 130 years ago, Emerson has developed a reputation as a company that combines innovation and a commitment to the communities where it operates,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said. “We are pleased that company leadership has chosen Ash Flat as the site of its new facility, and we look forward to a long and successful partnership.”

“Emerson has built a legacy as a global leader renowned for its innovative solutions, and we are pleased that Arkansas has become part of Emerson’s story.” Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston said. “Thanks to the company’s investment and commitment to Ash Flat, as well as the overwhelming support of community partners such as the Northeast Arkansas Intermodal Authority, North Arkansas Electric, Ozarka College, FNBC Bank, and the White River Planning and Development District, we are one step closer to putting more Arkansans back to work.”

The project also received support from local, state, and federal partners such as the Delta Regional Authority (DRA), AEDC, the City of Ash Flat, and Sharp County.

“I am proud that DRA funds will play a part in enhancing public infrastructure to help create opportunities for new jobs in Sharp County,” said Delta Regional Authority Federal Co-Chairman Chris Caldwell. “When state, local, and federal entities work with private industry partners, it results in a successful outcome for economic growth. Thanks to the leadership of Governor Hutchinson, hundreds of new skilled laborers will be trained and working in Arkansas.”

The company cited proximity to customers throughout North America and a quality workforce among its reasons for locating in Ash Flat.

Ozarka College and Black River Technical College will both collaborate with the company to develop a workforce training program tailored to the company’s needs.

“We are excited that Emerson has selected Ash Flat for its newest manufacturing facility,” Sharp County Judge Gene Moore said. “Our workforce in Sharp County will be a valuable resource as the company seeks quality, dependable people to continue its record of success.”

Ash Flat Mayor Larry Fowler said, “It is no surprise that a growing company like Emerson recognizes the quality of our workforce and the advantage of our central location. We are proud of our city and look forward to welcoming Emerson as the newest member of our business community.”

Construction is scheduled to begin this year.

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