Polartech Chief Operating Officer Gary Smith welcome U.S. Senator Bob Corker, Cleveland and Bradley County government officials and local state legislators to a ribbon cutting ceremony at the plant off APD 40. Many local civic leaders, including members of the Industrial Development Board, Cleveland/Bradley County Chamber of Commerce and Cleveland Utilities also gathered at what was once United Knitting Company.
The red ribbon cutting used for the ceremony was a swath of bright red Polartec material used in clothing worn by flight deck crews aboard America's aircraft carriers, Smith said.
Polartec, which makes specialized fabrics for outdoor wear as well as the military, acquired the mill here a year ago and began making its move from Massachusetts.
Smith said the number of jobs at the plant has grown from 65 to 150 and will be at 200 shortly.
"The support we have gotten here has been phenomenal," Smith said. "We will end up tripling the workforce when all is said and done."
Polartec is making a nearly $10 million investment in plant upgrades and new equipment, Smith said.
Low TVA energy costs and the local workforce were among the reasons for the move, Smith said.
"The productivity and mindset of the folks here is phenomenal, "Smith said. "I can't thank our Tennessee workers enough,"
Senator Corker also praised local workers and said that's a major reason companies move here. He said he is proud of all Polartec does to support the United State's military. He also reminded Smith that Polartec has moved to a premier area of the country for outdoor recreation.
"This area is rich with outdoor opportunities," Corker said. "You are in a place that is going to support you."
Mayor Rowland said, "we are proud of our workforce here and appreciate the face that Polartec recognizes our workers as well."
Ross Tarver, Industrial Development Board chairman, welcomed Polartec to Cleveland and Bradley County. He pointed out some workers have been at the plant for many years.
Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis welcome the latest industry to mover here as well. He noted that during the first year Polartec has already doubled the number of jobs at the plant.