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German company announces plan to build plant in Dunlap

A German manufacturing company announced plans Wednesday to build a $10 million plant on property adjoining the Precision Aeronautics plant in Dunlap.

March 6, 2019 – The German rubber manufacturer, HÜBNER, has decided to build a $10 million manufacturing plant in Dunlap, which will employ nearly 70 people in “high-paying jobs,” Tennessee Governor Bill Lee said today.

Lee was one of several speakers announcing the company's move to Dunlap.

It's a great honor that they picked this state and this community,” Gov. Lee said.

Managing Director Ingolf Cedra said the new plant will be built on property in the city's industrial park adjoining Precision Aeronautics on Tram Trail.

"Today we can announce, 'Yes!  We do!'  German engineering and American business development -- it fits together," Cedra said.  "Keep your fingers crossed that our success will be your success."

Gov. Bill Lee made the announcement to a room full of community leaders and dignitaries. L-r at the head table are: Sequatchie County Executive Keith Cartwright, HÜBNER CEO Ron Paquette, HÜBNER Chairman Reinhard Hubner, and Dunlap Mayor Dwain Land.

The company's CEO, Ron Paquette said HÜBNER originally was looking at 11 sites in the United States to locate their plant for making advanced rubber products. All 11 were good locations, in six different states, and a contingent from the company visited every one of the sites, finally narrowing it down to just three sites.

Dunlap, for me, was in the third spot,” Paquette admitted, but his visits to the town “put Dunlap over the top. Mayor (Dwain) Land and his counterparts in the county and state were phenomenal.”

Factors that made Dunlap outshine the others included a strong work ethic, family values, and “the opportunity to engage with local schools” in training the workforce, he said.

We were looking for foreign investment that would provide high-paying family-wage jobs,” said Commissioner Bob Rolfe of the state Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD). “When we identify a family-wage job, we look at what the county median wage is, and this company, HÜBNER, is going to be paying 75 percent above that wage.”

Rolfe went on to say that 20,000 Tennesseans work for German companies, and Germany is one of the state's biggest foreign trading partners, with $1 billion of Tennessee product going to Germany and $3.5 billion of German goods being imported to Tennessee.

Gov. Lee pointed out that HÜBNER initiated contact with the local schools, to develop vocational training that will prepare graduates to work at their plant.

These partnerships with industry help us understand what you need,” Gov. Lee added. “They help us develop curriculum and a workforce that matches the needs of industry.”

Lee said this process exemplifies his plan to improve vocational, technical, and agricultural education in the state's public schools.  His "Governor's Investment in Vocational Education -- GIVE Initiative" is intended to give a higher priority to vocational training.

HÜBNER Chairman Reinhard Hubner said partnering with Dunlap and Sequatchie County was “a super pleasure for my wife and me. We love the United States.”

HÜBNER manufactures rubber bellows for trains, buses, and subways. Upgrades of the New York transportation system recently brought the company a contact there, and tighter environmental regulations in Germany are resulting in increased demand for mass transportation. As a result, Hubner said he expects the company to continue to prosper and grow.

The chances for development are really great,” he said.

HÜBNER plans to have its new Dunlap plant in full operation by January 2020.

L-r are: HÜBNER CEO Ron Paquette, Tennessee State Senator Janice Bowling, Mayor Dwain Land, Gov. Bill Lee, HÜBNER Chairman Reinhard Hubner, and HÜBNER Managing Director Ingolf Cedra.