published Sunday, December 9th, 2012

Rainsville auto parts plant expansion to add 30 jobs

From left, Rainsville Technology Inc. president Akio Morimoto, talks with plant manager Hershel Fee and vice president Perry Bellomy during groundbreaking ceremonies in July.
From left, Rainsville Technology Inc. president Akio Morimoto, talks with plant manager Hershel Fee and vice president Perry Bellomy during groundbreaking ceremonies in July.
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

THE BOTTOM LINE

* Company name: Rainsville Technology Inc.

* Established: June 2000

* Present employees: 450

* Employees, post-expansion: 480

* Specialty: Injection-molded plastic car parts

* Address: 189 RTI Drive, Rainsville, Ala.

* Website: rtial.com

A $3.3 million expansion at a Rainsville, Ala., car parts manufacturer will add 30 jobs for folks living in DeKalb County and surrounding areas.

Rainsville Technology Inc., known as RTI, is expanding its facility to 282,000 square feet to build more parts for Honda's plant in Lincoln, Ala., plant manager Hershel Fee said Friday.

The company, which makes plastic injection-molded automobile parts, is a tier one supplier to the Lincoln Honda factory.

"We're actually adding two different expansions, one on each end of the building," Fee said.

The work started in July and should be done by the end of the year, he said. Hiring for the 30 new positions starts in early spring.

Fee said the expansion includes warehouse and production space, as well as a new recycling area as the company starts employing some "green" initiatives.

"That's going to be a big part of the expansion," he said.

Each growth spurt at Honda's Lincoln plant could translate into another for RTI, according to Jimmy Durham, executive director of the DeKalb County Economic Development Authority.

The expansion brings desperately needed jobs to DeKalb, Jackson and Marshall counties, Durham said.

DeKalb's unemployment rate stood at 8.5 percent in October, according to records from the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations. Alabama's rate was a slightly lower 8.1 percent, while the national rate in October was 7.5 percent, U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics figures show.

RTI workers have a significant economic impact on the DeKalb/Rainsville area, Durham said.

"They draw a more of a regional workforce," he said. "Anytime workers come from outside the community, they'll spend money here."

Durham said RTI is valuable in other ways, too.

"They've built walking tracks that the community can use and they've been a major player in other assets in the community," he said. "They really participate tremendously in our community and schools."

The Rainsville City Council over the summer approved sales tax and non-education property tax abatements to assist in the expansion. The abatements are available to any qualifying company, Durham said.

The company will pay about $147,000 less in sales taxes during the construction period, he said, and about $13,000 a year less in non-educational property taxes for the next 10 years. The property tax figure is roughly equal to the non-educational portion of property taxes the company will continue paying over the 10-year period, he said.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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