Governor, Commissioner Welcome Del Conca To Loudon

Friday, December 21, 2012

Governor Bill Haslam and Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty along with company officials announced Friday that Ceramica Del Conca will build its first North American manufacturing facility in Loudon. The announcement by the Italian ceramic floor tile manufacturer represents a $70 million investment and will create 178 new manufacturing jobs in Loudon County.

“This announcement is great news for Loudon County, and I am excited to welcome Del Conca to Tennessee,” Governor Haslam said. “We are very appreciative of the investment in our state as we work toward our goal of becoming the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”

“Congratulations to Del Conca on this announcement,” Mr. Hagerty said. “Tennessee’s business friendly environment – led by a Governor and administration who understand business – are proving attractive to overseas companies looking to expand their global presence. We are proud to add Del Conca ceramic tiles to the list of quality products made in Tennessee.”

The Italian ceramic tile maker was founded in 1979 and uses high-tech manufacturing processes to keep pace with the growing tile market. Del Conca’s porcelain ceramic tiles are exported worldwide for use in both residential and commercial facilities.

Along with establishing a base for U.S. operations, the Loudon facility will allow Del Conca to serve major U.S. customers such as Lowe’s Arizona Tile, Mannington and Tile Shop more effectively. The facility will be a 320,000-square-foot manufacturing, research, showroom and administrative facility and will be located at the Sugarlimb Industrial Park.

“We have chosen Loudon, Tennessee for our new North American facility,” said Paolo Mularoni, president of Del Conca USA. “Loudon is geographically located close to the main U.S. highways and in close proximity to our sources of raw materials. We have found in Loudon a very cooperative team of people who are working hard in order to help us build a successful business that better serves our U.S. and Canadian customers.” 

The 178 new jobs will include managerial, technical/engineering, administrative, production and distribution positions. The Loudon facility is expected to begin operations by the end of 2013. The construction and hiring process will be completed in two phases; the first of which will include the hiring of 100 employees. The remaining 78 employees are expected to be retained within the next five – six years.

“Loudon County welcomes Del Conca to East Tennessee with this opportunity to bring a substantial volume of high-quality jobs and positive economic impact to this region,” Loudon County Economic Development Agency President Pat Phillips said. “We thank Del Conca for selecting Loudon County and also appreciate our partners with the State of Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and TVA for facilitating this exceptional opportunity for our community and our region.”

“TVA and Loudon Utilities Board congratulate The Del Conca Group on their decision to locate a new manufacturing facility in Loudon County, Tn.,” John Bradley, TVA senior vice president of Economic Development, said. “We are privileged to work with the State of Tennessee, the Loudon County Economic Development Agency and other community leaders to facility new jobs for area residents.”


Senator Alexander Announces Staff Changes

Senator Lamar Alexander on Thursday announced the following staff changes: Liz Wolgemuth will be promoted to senior communications director and speechwriter, replacing Jim Jeffries, who is moving to Seattle. Margaret Atkinson will be promoted to communications director. Senator Alexander said, “Washington, D.C.’s loss is Washington state’s gain. Jim Jeffries is one ... (click for more)

3 Separate Wedding Venues Planned At Howe Farms At Georgetown

Three separate wedding venues are being planned on portions of a 123-acre site at Howe Farms at Georgetown. The largest will have a capacity of 400 people. Customers will have use of the property from 8 a.m. to midnight on the day of the event. Outdoor amplification will not be permitted past midnight. All guest parking will be on-site. The entrance will be at Runyan ... (click for more)

2 Juveniles Arrested For Arson In Sevier County Fires

An investigation by special agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, National Park Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office has resulted in charges being placed against two juveniles in connection with the deadly wildfires in Sevier County.  Last week, at the request of 4 th  District Attorney ... (click for more)

Walker County Will No Longer Have Full-Time County Attorney Under Whitfield Tenure; Will Add Full-Time Communications Director

Incoming Walker County Sole Commissioner Shannon Whitfield said under his administration there will no longer be a full-time county attorney. "We will outsource this service on a fee basis," he said. Mr. Whitfield said he has begun interviewing attorneys who might be able to help out the county from time to time. Don Oliver has long been the county attorney for Walker County ... (click for more)

Vehicle Emissions Testing Causes More Pollution Than It Prevents - And Response

While a noble cause to make sure vehicles are operating efficiently with the minimum amount of pollutants, a simple analysis makes it somewhat evident the VET program in Chattanooga causes more pollution that it prevents.  Though I don't know how many vehicles are tested on an annual basis, if you assume an average round trip of 10 miles to the nearest testing station (five ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Cost Of No Discipline

At the start of the current school year, state education officials gathered at some “state testing task force” when disciplinary records from across Tennessee happened to be revealed. You probably are unaware of this, as it seems to have been kept on the “down low,” but statewide a full 20 percent of the black males in our public schools were suspended at least once during the 2014-2015 ... (click for more)