published Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

JIT Steel invests $5 million in expansion

Audio clip

Jim Stolpa

JIT Steel is expanding its Chattanooga riverfront operations with a $5 million project that includes new equipment aimed at helping the company target the power distribution transformer market.

"We purchased a new piece of equipment that allows us to attack another segment of the steel market in the Southeast," said Jim Stolpa, division vice president for the company.

Mr. Stolpa said the company has added 25,000 square feet of space, giving it about 125,000 square feet at its Manufacturers Road facility on the Tennessee River near the Olgiati Bridge.

The company will add two employees to the 50 already employed at the site, Mr. Stolpa said. JIT could add more if it gains added business, he said.

"We're hoping to expand some more and continue to grow," Mr. Stolpa said. "In this economy, it's pretty tough. We felt this was a strategic investment."

He said the power distribution transformer market is a sizable one in the Southeast.

"It has its own special needs," Mr. Stolpa said.

The company official said that with new government energy standards, the market is going to a lighter gauge steel. He said the new equipment is currently under installation.

Sexton Construction Co. built the new facility, finishing the job last week.

"It was a four-month project," company owner Jerry Sexton said.

Mr. Stolpa said the expansion is unrelated to an Alstom Power project nearby. Alstom is expanding to make steam and gas turbines as it seeks to capture business related to nuclear and fossil power plant construction.

"It has nothing to do with Alstom," Mr. Stolpa said. "This market in the Southeast has been well established."

about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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