GE record production

Decatur’s GE Appliances plant had record production in 2020 and 2021 and is expecting another record year in 2022 after a 2020 expansion increased its capacity and allowed it to hire hundreds of new employees.

According to Leifje Dighton, executive director of the Decatur plant since March, the top-freezer refrigerator plant in 2020 completed a $125 million expansion which boosted production capacity by 25%.

“The investment came just in time as people were beginning to stay at home because of the pandemic and needed refrigerators and other appliances,” Dighton said. “We had a record production in 2020 with our second highest year in 2021. While the appliance industry is down this year, Decatur is on track to have another strong year with production at similar levels to 2020 and 2021.”The 2020 expansion included adding 40,000 square feet to the plant. Dighton said the extra space has been beneficial.The expansion investment allowed the plant to add 255 jobs. The plant now employs 1,500 people after adding a third shift.

“We are the largest single-site employer in this county,” Dighton said.

The expansion allowed the plant to produce two new models, the 19- and 22-cubic-foot refrigerators, in addition to the 16-, 17- and 18-cubic-foot models it already produced.We introduced a new refrigerant to our products, too, that from a greenhouse emissions standpoint was much better. We did it earlier than the industry was going to expect it,” Dighton said.

Wood said the Decatur plant sells in all 50 states and sells some products in Canada.

“We sell to national retailers such as Lowe’s, The Home Depot and Best Buy as well as independent appliance dealers, home builders and property management companies,” she said.

Dighton said GE Appliances, a 100-year-old manufacturer, is part of the largest appliance company in the world and GE appliances are in half of the homes in the U.S. In 2016, GE Appliances was acquired by the Haier Group

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