CLARKSVILLE, TN (NOW CLARKSVILLE) – Major new industry recruiting is in full swing in Clarksville, although some projects have had their timelines extended due to the pandemic.
Montgomery County is preparing to welcome a new FedEx distribution center, with about 250 jobs, and electric vehicle battery maker Microvast, with about 300 jobs. Additionally, Amazon recently shared an update on its new Amazon Fulfillment Center.
FedEx Recruitment in Progress
Montgomery County officials shared details with Clarksville Now about the new FedEx distribution center, located in the North Industrial Park behind LG’s home appliance manufacturing plant.
The new FedEx facility creates approximately 250 new jobs and will also work with other companies for package pickup and delivery.
Michelle Hueffmeier, spokeswoman for the Clarksville-Montgomery County Economic Development Board, said the leadership positions are now filled.
The new fulfillment center will see strong hiring pressure to support the holiday season and temporary facilities will be put in place to support the effort, she said.
“Executives said they expect to have very few hiring issues because nearly half of Nashville FedEx’s staff reside in Clarksville, and they expect many to abandon their commute to work on the new Clarksville location,” Hueffmeier said.
Construction of the facility is still ongoing.
Microvast moves into a brake factory
Microvast is an American global company specializing in the manufacture of fast-charging lithium-ion batteries for commercial electric vehicles. They have been in business since 2006 and are a fully integrated company, dealing with everything from chemistry, electrodes and modules to creating complete batteries.
The company purchased a braking systems plant from Bosch Braking Systems Corp. in 2021, with plans to convert the facility into a battery manufacturing plant. Since the initial purchase, the building, located at 780 International Boulevard, has begun undergoing modifications to accommodate the new battery plant.
Over the past few months, the Microvast team has been working on a cleanup of the existing plant, according to William Muir, Microvast’s senior operations manager.
“There has therefore been an enormous amount of cleaning work on the existing installation. Quite simply, the manufacture of the brakes is quite dirty and the manufacture of the batteries is extremely clean. We have therefore carried out a very detailed and thorough cleaning of the existing plant and are now in the reconstruction and new construction phase.
To do things well
Muir noted that the team spent a lot of time on designs and hiring the right people, citing the need to mitigate environmental concerns. He told Clarksville Now that Microvast has strong relationships with Montgomery County, the State of Tennessee and regulatory authorities.
“So to make sure that all of that (the environmental concerns) is actually more than mitigated, but meets and exceeds all code requirements, we have a lot of expertise that we have hired or that have worked for Microvast.”
Between hiring the right contractors and engineers, the design phase was anything but fast. However, with all of that in the rearview mirror, construction finally began. Over the past six weeks, contractors have invaded the site and started work on the structure.
“We are in a very detailed design phase, so all of this, of course, needs to be done and worked through by our architect and our general contractor so that we can get the permits to start construction, which has now started,” said Muir. . “At this point, we are still pursuing our schedule to be in production by the fourth quarter of 2023.”
The construction will see a 50,000 to 60,000 square foot expansion of the original building, giving the factory a good deal of additional manufacturing space. The space will be used for the start of the battery manufacturing process, which includes mixing the slurry that starts the electrode process, Muir said.
“They’re getting ready to pour the foundations, and the steel will start in October, and that’s very much on our schedule,” he said.
In addition to the new structure, the company is upgrading utilities and expanding the Central Utilities Building, which houses chilled water and mechanical equipment.
“There is a fair amount of work that you can see around our utilities as well. We have a central utility building and we are doubling the size of that,” Muir said. “In terms of the visible things, you see, it’s really the erection of the additional building as well as the expansion of our utilities.”
Although the project is on schedule, it has not been immune to supply chain issues created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Muir said the electronic components needed to redesign the building took a long time. He said they spent a lot of time making sure the electrical design was locked in and parts were ordered well in advance.
“What’s happened is a lot of creativity, a lot of strong partnerships with our equipment vendors as well as our general contractor, and frankly, some changes we could make from one widget to another widget. which shorten lead times. So we went through our design to the smallest detail, questioning everything and the delivery times of the things we need to buy. And it continues, but at this point everything is still on target.
Clarksville Recruitment Begins
Microvast has begun to ramp up its hiring process and is now seeking candidates for top leadership roles. Over the next four to five months, the company is expected to begin hiring for all positions, shift operators, quality control, administrative staff and other key management positions.
“We are definitely hiring. Our webpage is where jobs are posted right now. We recently added staff to include a Human Resources Manager, so our hiring process is becoming more aggressive. »
The company still plans to hire about 300 employees for the plant and says Clarksville is the right place to do so.
“One of the main reasons we’re in Clarksville is that we feel like the employee base here in Clarksville and Montgomery County, in addition to coming out of Fort Campbell, is exactly what we want. exploit,” Muir said.
Once operational, the batteries manufactured in the factory will be shipped to several companies and buyers around the world.