HAZELWOOD, Mo. (KMOX) - They’re still more than two years away from actually manufacturing their first hybrid electric van, but officials with Emerald Automotive say 2012 will be a very important year for them.
“We’re absolutely on track,” Emerald General Counsel Sharon Heaton tells KMOX News. “It has been our intent all along that 2012 is going to be the important building year, and that we would begin commercial production in 2014.”
But first things first.
Heaton and the rest of the Emerald management team has settled into their temporary office located in the historic Knobbe House in Hazelwood.
Team members have been evaluating several locations in Hazelwood for the company’s permanent assembly and office facility, an important step in the process that can’t be rushed according to newly-named Director of Sales and Corporate Marketing Gary Marble.
“It just takes a lot of time to make sure that any facility that ultimately we would utilize can handle the type of operation that we’re going to need,” he explains. “Simple things…such as the make-up of the concrete floor, can it handle the equipment that will need to be there?”
Next, the hiring process will shift into high gear.
Emerald hired the first local employees before the end of last year, including Marble as Sales Director, as well as a management accountant and business administrator.
They eventually expect to hire around 600 workers to start with, and General Counsel Sharon Heaton says that available pool of potential workers was a key reason that Hazelwood was chosen by Emerald.
“That was clearly a major factor in locating here,” Heaton says. “The existence of a skilled, trained workforce with a terrific work ethic.”
But the jobs available through Emerald will be like nothing that even long-time automotive workers have seen before.
“This type of technology…it is a bit different than what most of the folks that I have visited with are accustomed to,” explains Gary Marble, “so we’re going to have a significant training budget.”
As for financing, Emerald Automotive is in advanced discussions with several equity groups and has a number of loan applications in progress, one of which is through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) Program.
Work is nearly completed on the first two t-001 demonstrator models at an undisclosed locations, and the first Emerald is expected to roll off the assembly line some time in 2014.
For more information on Emerald: www.emeraldautomotive.com
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