published Thursday, May 30th, 2013

Eastman Chemical Co. adding 300 jobs, spending $1.6 billion

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, left, Eastman Chemical Company chairman and CEO Jim Rogers, center, and U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., talk before announcing Project Inspire on Wednesday in Kingsport, Tenn.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, left, Eastman Chemical Company chairman and CEO Jim Rogers, center, and U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., talk before announcing Project Inspire on Wednesday in Kingsport, Tenn.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

KINGSPORT, Tenn. — Eastman Chemical Co. will put $1.6 billion into an expansion in Kingsport that will create 300 jobs.

The announcement came Wednesday from Eastman officials and Gov. Bill Haslam.

The expansion is called Project Inspire. Eastman management said it will invest in new growth opportunities, safety and environmental projects, increased warehouse space, building renovations and expansion of its corporate campus in Kingsport.

The new jobs will be added over seven years.

"For nearly 100 years, Eastman has been crucial to the state's economy, growing into a global brand, and today's announcement means they will continue to grow right here where they started," Haslam said.

Eastman is the largest employer in northeast Tennessee with more than 7,000 employees in the region.

Eastman Chairman and CEO Jim Rogers noted the project will conclude during the company's 100th year in Kingsport.

"I can think of no better way to honor our long-term commitment to this site and surrounding community than through this very significant investment in our future," Rogers said.

Also on hand in Kingsport for the announcement were U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, along with 1st District U.S. Rep Phil Roe.

"The important news is that the headquarters of a multibillion-dollar company will be in Upper East Tennessee for a very long time," Alexander said.

"The good jobs at Eastman translate into stronger families, schools and communities."

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