Denso Manufacturing is investing $1 billion in North America over the next four years, which will result in the creation of more than 2,000 jobs. More than $750 million will be invested in the United States alone, with more than 1,200 jobs.
Two East Tennessee Denso facilities will get some significant improvements as part of the investment. $50 million and more than 130 jobs will make their way to the company's Athens, TN location.
Hugh Cantrell, Denso's General Manager of Administrative Services in Athens, said, "[The jobs will] vary from entry level production jobs all the way to maintenance jobs. And of course we'll have some leadership positions."
The global automotive supplier is also finalizing plans for its Maryville, TN facility, as well.
Scott Brunger, Professor of Economics at Maryville College, said, "In Maryville, they're going to bring in some top level engineering and start making some of their dyes and manufacturing some of their machinery here."
Brunger believes Denso's investment in East Tennessee could attract other businesses to the area.
"We have some very, very good car manufacturers in this area and some good experience. I would think that other companies would be looking at the area from the point of view of high quality manufacturing taking place here," said Brunger.
Cantrell said, "The community has been a tremendous asset for us. We have a great partnership with all of the local officials and state officials of the Chattanooga / Knoxville market and they have been a huge part of making this investment happen."
In a written statement, McMinn County Mayor John Gentry said:
"I am extremely pleased with Denso's announcement. This is obviously one of the desired results of strong relationship building stemming from not only our local company contacts but also from building relationships with Denso officials in Japan. This is further evidence of the local economy continuing to emerge from the recession. This recession has forever altered the manufacturing sector, and it is impressive our local industry and their employees have not only survived the changes but have managed to ultimately prosper through improved production methods, innovative efficiencies and competitive product development."
"Denso is a first class manufacturer of world renowned products. Their continued investment in McMinn County is humbling. I want to thank Denso publicly for the faith they continue to display in us by once again investing tens of millions of dollars in their Athens plant. I want to thank the employees of Denso for earning the faith of their company to continue the path of reinvestment. Our futures are becoming increasingly intertwined as we grow together," Gentry said.
Denso joins other industries such as J.M. Huber, Heil Trailer, Creative Foam, Bull Manufacturing, Waupaca and MidLab that have announced expansions or new facilities in McMinn County over the past two years.