Gov. Haslam, Parkdale Mills celebrates expansion in Mountain City

Published 3:40 pm Sunday, October 8, 2017

Manufacturing Day now has a sweeter meaning for the population of Johnson County.
State and local officials gathered Friday afternoon in Mountain City to celebrate the conclusion of a multi-million dollar expansion project at Parkdale Mills Plant No. 16 that ensures the company will keep a foothold within Northeast Tennessee can continue to bring jobs into the region.
Over $140 million was placed into the expansion, which attendees were able to view during a tour of the facility before an outdoor ceremony that was highlighted by a visit from Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam.
“They could have done this with other locations. It is very important for us to have it here in Johnson County and Mountain City,” said Johnson County Mayor Larry Potter said about Parkdale Mills. “This is now one of the largest facilities of its kind in the world with first-class technology. Not only did we keep the jobs we already had, but we were also able to add another 80-plus jobs with the expansion.”
Employing over 400 from the region, Potter added Parkdale Mills’ workforce is comprised of a variety of individuals, including residents of Carter County.
Parkdale is regarded as the world’s leading manufacturer of spun yarns and has been around since 1916.
Gov. Haslam said the expansion is vital for the area and shows that manufacturing jobs can be operated out of the United States, especially from Tennessee, and that the state was willing to make sure the company would stay. The governor added Friday’s trip highlighted a business schedule, including different plant openings across the state as it looks to continue the motto of “Made in Tennessee. Part of America.”
“It’s a big deal here, but it’s a big deal for the state,” Haslam said about the expansion. “We understand it isn’t the state that creates jobs; it’s private enterprises that put dollars out and put capital at risk. In Tennessee, we will never forget that.”
Tennessee has seen a growth of manufacturing, being noted as the No. 1 in growth in the Southeast.
“It’s great to see Parkdale come together with the community and work with the state,” said State Rep. Timothy Hill. “This is really the crossroads of everyone working together. Everyone from the folks with contracts with Parkdale to local officials, like TVA. Manufacturing is coming back to the United States, and we want to see as much of that as possible in Tennessee, especially in Northeast Tennessee.”
Andy Warlick, president and CEO of Parkdale, thanked everyone in attendance for their continual support and indicated the technology would continue their goal of being the world’s top manufacturer on spun yards, with Fruit of the Loom being their largest client.
“Our goal is to be the best at what we do,” Warlick said. “That’s what excites this time. We’re going to get the funds to get the technology and make it possible.”
Gov. Haslam added the state will continue to look at bulking up the workforce for manufacturing companies, citing improvements in K-12 education and the state now offering tuition-free postsecondary school for students going into the technology field.
Friday also was a bit of a surprise for Mayor Potter with a road being named in his honor right off Highway 421 heading to Parkdale.
“It was a bit of a surprise,” he said with a chuckle. “I’m very appreciative of that.”

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