Nokian Tyres announces $360 million investment, 400 jobs in Dayton

DAYTON, TN —  Finnish tire company Nokian Tyres announced they will invest $360 million to build a new manufacturing facility in Dayton creating 400 new jobs.  Construction on the 830,000-square foot facility is scheduled to begin in early 2018 and the first tires are to be produced in 2020.

After careful consideration, the company chose Dayton’s Rail Hub South, a property recently acquired by the city, as the location for their new state of the art North American Corporate Headquarters. The project represents the largest capital investment and largest job announcement in the history of Rhea County.

photo: Nokian Tyres / media

Nokian Tyres is known world-wide for their trademark, Hakkapeliitta tires, designed for demanding winter and off road conditions.  The Dayton factory will focus on the production of passenger, SUV and light truck tyres that are sold exclusively or primarily in the North American market.

“This is a significant announcement for both the state of Tennessee as well as the city of Dayton. It showcases how our state’s ideal location and strong workforce creates an environment where companies like Nokian Tyres will thrive and succeed,” says Governor Bill Haslam.

Dennis Tumlin, executive director of the Rhea Economic & Tourism Council said “This investment represents the single largest private investment and the single largest job announcement in Rhea County history.”

“Our local partnership with the Greater Chattanooga Economic Partnership along with the entire Team Tennessee has created this opportunity that will be felt for the next 50 years in our community,” added Tumlin.

“We are so proud to announce this opportunity with Nokian Tyres,” Dayton Mayor Gary Louallen said. “This investment will forever change the economic landscape of our entire region and provide hundreds of great paying jobs right here in Dayton.  Nokian Tyres will be a great fit for our community.”

Rhea County Mayor George Thacker said, “This was a great regional and statewide team effort to align the resources to deliver the plan for long term success. We’re excited to have Nokian Tyres here in Rhea County. Our team is all aligned to help bring this project to life.”

State Economic and Community Commissioner Bob Rolfe was delighted in Nokian Tyre’s “choice in selecting the rural community of Dayton,” adding it will prove “an enormous boost to Rhea County and its citizens as well as the state of Tennessee as a whole.

“I look forward to our future relationship with Nokian, and I am excited to watch this company grow in our state,” Rolf said.

“Selecting a North American site shows our commitment to our customers in one of our most important growth areas. The Dayton, Rhea County site was selected based on several factors, including skilled workforce availability, logistical advantages and business friendly administration. After thorough investigation, it was clear that Tennessee was the best choice for the factory, and we are proud to become part of the community,” says Andrei Pantioukhov, Nokian Tyres’ Interim President and CEO.

“The factory is above all a strategic decision to continue and enable Nokian Tyres’ growth path. The total sales of tires is estimated to grow in coming years. With this investment, we will get the needed capacity for growth. And while the Dayton factory clearly enables us to serve our North American customers better and more efficiently, it also improves our production capabilities and customer service throughout our global operations,” says Petteri Walldén, Nokian Tyres’ Chairman of the Board of Directors.

La-Z-Boy to invest $26 million in Dayton, 115 new jobs


Upholstery furniture manufacturer and marketer to build new Innovation Center

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, the Department of Economic and Community Development and La-Z-Boy Incorporated officials announced today that the upholstery furniture manufacturer and marketer will expand in Rhea County. La-Z-Boy, Rhea County’s largest employer, will invest approximately $26 million over three years and create 115 new jobs in Dayton.

“La-Z-Boy has been a part of the Rhea County community for more than 40 years and we appreciate its commitment to Tennessee and for creating more than 100 new jobs in Rhea County,” Haslam said. “This expansion helps us become one step closer to our goal of making Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”

“I want to thank La-Z-Boy for choosing to expand operations in Rhea County,” Ted Townsend, chief operating officer of TNECD, said. “There are more than 333,000 Tennesseans employed in manufacturing and it means a great deal that a company with such a long history in our state will continue to strengthen our Team Tennessee workforce and this sector.”

La-Z-Boy Incorporated is a manufacturer, marketer and retailer of upholstery products. The company has been located in Dayton since 1973. La-Z-Boy’s Dayton plant has 1,492 employees, which makes it is the largest employer in Rhea County. In 2012, Industry Week Magazine named the Dayton Facility one of the 10 best plants in North America.

“We have a long history in the state of Tennessee, having built the Dayton facility almost 45 years ago, and it has grown to become our largest plant,” Kurt L. Darrow, chairman, president and chief executive officer of La-Z-Boy Incorporated, said. “We are proud of our longstanding relationship with the community, which is very much a part of the fiber of our company, and we look forward to continuing to operate in Dayton for many years to come. We thank the great State of Tennessee and City of Dayton for their support throughout the years and, in particular, for this important project as we continue to invest in our U.S. facilities.”

La-Z-Boy will be expanding its current facility as well as adding a new innovation center and logistics facilities. With this expansion, the company will develop, manufacture and distribute La-Z-Boy products.

Local leaders and partners expressed gratitude to La-Z-Boy for choosing to expand in Rhea County.

“La-Z-Boy has been in Dayton since 1973 and it has continued to seek growth opportunities,” Dayton Mayor Gary Louallen said. “It is the largest employer in the county and the fact that it is willing to expand even further, as well as locate their research and development department here, speaks volumes about La-Z-Boy’s confidence in our community. We are happy, as community leaders, to have partnered with La-Z-Boy and TNECD to bring this project to life here.”

“Rhea County is fortunate to have an industrial facility such as La-Z-Boy –a nationally known brand in the furniture industry with a great reputation for quality and customer service,” Rhea County Mayor George Thacker said. “We are excited to see it grow, and the jobs created by this expansion will help boost our economy and expand our tax base.”

“We work really hard to create an environment in this community that is conducive to industrial success,” Dennis Tumlin, executive director of the Rhea Economic and Tourism Council, said.  “The fact that La-Z-Boy feels comfortable in making this kind of investment in our community means we have created the right infrastructure for them to continue growing their business.”

“La-Z-Boy’s decision to expand here is a direct reflection on the quality of the workforce we have here in the Rhea County area. Hats off to those employees who continue to deliver long-term quality and reliability,” Tumlin added.

Dayton and Rhea County are represented by Sen. Ken Yager (R – Kingston) and Rep. Ron Travis (R – Dayton) in the Tennessee General Assembly.

Watts Bar 2: Economic Catalyst for the Tennessee Valley

  • New industry attracted to area “creates customers for us”
  • Nuclear plants’ reliability vital for high-tech businesses
  • Clean energy important for region’s environmental goals

By Mitch Singer of the Nuclear Energy Institute

Aug. 22, 2016—If you believe that only large bulk users of electricity will benefit from the imminent commercial operation of Watts Bar 2—the first U.S. nuclear power plant to open in 20 years—you may wish to consider the viewpoint of David Snyder, president and chief executive officer of RevTel Inc. The provider of phone lines, private networks and internet services has but six employees in offices in Dayton and Cleveland, Tennessee.

TVA Senior Vice President of Operations and Construction Mike Skaggs inside Watts Bar 2’s reactor containment during a tour earlier this year. The plant is expected to begin full commercial operations shortly. [Photo: Doug Strickland/Times Free Press]
TVA Senior Vice President of Operations and Construction Mike Skaggs inside Watts Bar 2’s reactor containment during a tour earlier this year. The plant is expected to begin full commercial operations shortly. [Photo: Doug Strickland/Times Free Press]
“Sure, there are big companies like Wacker and Whirlpool, where it’s obvious reliable and abundant power is critical to their operations and their decisions to locate in the Tennessee Valley,” Snyder says.

“But these large companies create customers for us with more direct employees, more insurance agents, car dealers and restaurants. We’ve enjoyed steady growth in my business since 2007, which coincidentally is when TVA decided to move ahead with Watts Bar 2.”

Snyder’s insights on the economic chain reaction are supported by the Cleveland-Bradley County Chamber of Commerce, whose data shows there has been $3.2 billion invested in the area since 2009. One of the biggest examples is Wacker Polysilicon North America LLC, which invested around $2.5 billion in the county to build a new plant that provides hyperpure polysilicon for solar power panels and semiconductor electronics. The plant began operating in 2015 and eventually will have 650 employees. Access to available and reliable electricity was a key factor in the company’s decision to locate to Bradley County.

Wacker’s $2.5 billion, 650-employee polysilicon plant in Bradley County is powered by TVA’s Watts Bar and Sequoyah nuclear plants. [Photo: Chattanooga Times Free Press]
Wacker’s $2.5 billion, 650-employee polysilicon plant in Bradley County is powered by TVA’s Watts Bar and Sequoyah nuclear plants. [Photo: Chattanooga Times Free Press]
“The biggest consideration for Wacker when they looked at our area was not only the capacity of the power system, but also [its] quality and reliability,” says the chamber’s president and CEO, Gary Farlow. With Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) Watts Bar and Sequoyah nuclear power plants operating in the region, “we were able to make a strong case to them,” Farlow says.

Wacker’s facility needs so much electricity that there is a direct 500 kilovolt distribution line from Watts Bar and Sequoyah. In fact, the Wacker facility needs from 20 percent to 25 percent of the full capacity of a nuclear power plant, Farlow says.

Other large users of electricity in the Tennessee Valley include Fortune 500 companiesWhirlpool Corp., Archer Daniels Midland Co., and Merck & Co. Inc. Other prominent companies in the area are Mars Chocolate North America and Olin Corp.

The construction phase of Watts Bar 2 was a big boost to the local economy in Rhea County, and that will continue as the plant moves toward full commercial operation this summer, Rhea Economic and Tourism Council Executive Director Dennis Tumlin says.

“I see a two-fold benefit to Watts Bar 2 being in operation,” Tumlin says. “In addition to continued industrial growth, we’ve seen expansion of support businesses—and we’ll get a boost [from] refueling outages for both plants.”

Watts Bar 1 began operating in May 1996. When Watts Bar 2 joins its sister later this summer, the two reactors will power about 1.3 million homes and businesses in the TVA service area. With an average availability exceeding 90 percent, the nation’s nuclear plants provide more than 60 percent of all carbon-free electricity in the United States—the largest source of zero-emission electricity. These attributes are an attractive feature to companies locating in the Tennessee Valley.

“Clean energy is a big issue for the Tennessee Valley, as we’re surrounded by mountain ranges and have significant air quality issues,” Farlow says. “With nuclear we have a reliable source of clean electricity. That is a big selling point, as many of the companies that locate here are environmentally conscious.”

As an example, Wacker’s manufacturing processes limit waste material through a closed loop system that uses various technologies “to recycle and reutilize by-products to the process,” Wacker’s website says.

More recently, environmentally steadfast Google announced plans in late 2015 to open a data center in Clarksville, Tennessee, near Nashville, joining a similar data center also announced last year for Bridgeport, Alabama—all of which will be served by TVA’s nuclear plants.

RevTel’s Snyder likes that the overwhelming majority of his electricity comes from “green power,” like nuclear and hydroelectric plants. But equally important to the company is the plants’ reliability—RevTel has significant investments in sensitive electronic equipment that can be severely damaged or broken if the area suffered extended power outages.

“I have no concerns that the needs of large plants and new industry can’t be met in my local area, and if economic growth were to go into overdrive here I’m confident that TVA has plenty of capacity to meet the demand,” Snyder says.

“Watts Bar 2 will ensure that we won’t have to deal with rolling blackouts or brownouts that could have a severe impact on my equipment for decades to come.”

La-Z-Boy Manufacturing Facility Breaks Furniture Industry Safety Record

Achieves over 6.8 million production hours without a lost time case

MONROE, Mich., (April 12, 2016) – La-Z-Boy, a leader in the residential furniture industry, announced today that its Dayton, Tenn. manufacturing facility has broken the American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA) safety record after working over 6.8 million production hours without experiencing an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recordable lost-time case. This is a new record for La-Z-Boy, who also set the previous record with over 6.4 million hours in 2004.

The La-Z-Boy Dayton manufacturing facility has also been recognized with numerous other awards including: being named an IndustryWeek Best Plants recipient in 2012; receiving the Commissioner’s Award of Excellence for Workplace Safety and Health from the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development; and becoming one of the first manufacturing facilities to become certified for Enhancing Furniture’s Environmental Culture (EFEC) through the AHFA.

“At La-Z-Boy, safety isn’t just a word, it’s a mindset of every employee … it’s ingrained in our culture and in everything we do,” said Kurt Darrow, Chairman, President and CEO of La-Z-Boy. “We are extremely proud of our safety record, but it takes the commitment of our associates to make it work, so I congratulate them on this remarkable achievement.”

Nearly 1,300 associates are employed at the Dayton, Tenn. location and manufacture La-Z-Boy’s fully customizable furniture line including sofas, chairs, ottomans and more.

“This is an enormous accomplishment that demonstrates La-Z-Boy’s aggressive commitment to safe operations and a safe work environment for all its employees,” said Andy Counts, AHFA Chief Executive Officer. “AHFA salutes the La-Z-Boy Dayton manufacturing facility and all its workers on their achievement.”

Safety is paramount to all La-Z-Boy manufacturing facilities and employee safety has improved greatly, with OSHA recordable incident rates being reduced by half since 2012. Currently, the Neosho, Mo. facility has 6 million hours without a lost time case, the facility in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico has 5 million hours and Siloam Springs, Ark. has achieved 3.5 million hours.

In addition, “reduce, reuse and recycle” are part of the company’s core business culture every day.La-Z-Boy’s manufacturing facilities have reduced energy consumption by 30 percent, water consumption by nearly 50 percent and waste disposed to landfills by close to 60 percent. Recycling and reuse have increased to 90 percent, and most of the wood products used in the company’s manufacturing efforts are from sustainable resources or recycled materials.

“We are committed to protecting our environment and preserving the planet for future generations,” said Darrell Edwards, Senior Vice President and Chief Supply Chain Officer at La-Z-Boy. “Our focus has been and always will be on integrating environmentally sound and sustainable practices into our daily business decisions and to help ensure an even greener tomorrow than we are today.”

About La-Z-Boy

Headquartered in Monroe, Mich., La-Z-Boy has been producing some of the world’s most comfortable furniture for over 85 years. The company manufactures a full line of comfortable products for the living room and family room, including the company’s world-famous recliners, reclining sofas and love seats, sleep sofas, modular furniture and leather upholstery, as well as stationary sofas, love seats and chairs. It is a division of La-Z-Boy Incorporated (NYSE: LZB), one of the world’s leading residential furniture producers, marketing furniture for every room of the home. “Live Life Comfortably.®

Dayton’s newest hotel nears completion

Sleep Inn & Suites-55 rooms plus other amenities – Three stories and 21,000 square feet lay behind the walls of Dayton’s newest hotel. The Sleep Inn, located at 4450 Rhea County Highway is expected to open sometime in February, according to Dennis Van Meter of Van Meter Hotels LLC.

Read More