GE invest in refrigerator plant

GE Appliances plans to invest $115 million in an expansion of its refrigerator manufacturing plant in Decatur that will add 255 full-time jobs and make it a “refrigerator super site” for the company, GE Appliances and state officials announced Friday.

The investment will allow GE Appliances to increase the plant’s production capacity by 25 percent, said Greg Canfield, state Department of Commerce secretary. The announcement was made at the company’s plant on Point Mallard Drive Southeast, in a cafeteria filled with cheering employees.

The plant is the “highest-volume GE Appliances refrigerator plant,” producing GE and Hotpoint brand products, he said.lant manager Renee Story, who has been with GE Appliances for 22 years, said the plant consistently produces more than 1 million top-mounted freezer refrigerators a year, and has weathered downturns in the economy since opening in 1977.

The investment provides greater flexibility at the plant to meet customer demands and “makes the plant’s future more secure,” she said. “We won’t take this investment lightly.”

GE Appliances became a Haier company two years ago.

According to a summary of Haier’s application for tax abatements, the annual average wage for the new jobs is $30,600 a year, not including benefits.There are 993 full-time workers employed by Haier in Decatur, with an annual payroll of $58.5 million,

“This industry is hyper competitive,” said Bill Good, vice president, supply chain network with GE Appliances, and a former Decatur plant manager. “To be successful, you have to be the best at what you do. That’s why we continue to invest.”

There are 993 full-time workers employed by Haier in Decatur, with an annual payroll of $58.5 million,

“This industry is hyper competitive,” said Bill Good, vice president, supply chain network with GE Appliances, and a former Decatur plant manager. “To be successful, you have to be the best at what you do. That’s why we continue to invest.”

The company invested $120 million in the plant in 2012.

GE Appliances is the “fastest-growing appliance maker in the United States,” Good said before the announcement.

Canfield said the move is the company’s latest step to fulfill its strategic goal of becoming the leading appliances business in the country.

He said about 40,000 square feet will be added to the plant and cutting-edge equipment acquired to enable the plant to transition to “a fully interconnected digital factory.”

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