City, IDB enter project agreement with Brown

Published 3:24 pm Thursday, August 4, 2016

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Company to bring 100 jobs, multi-million dollar investment to Atmore

The city of Atmore and the Atmore Industrial Development Board agreed to enter into a project agreement with Brown Precision Inc. last Thursday, hailing the bringing of 100 high-tech jobs and a multi-million dollar investment to the city.

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“I almost can’t put it into words,” Atmore Mayor Jim Staff said. “What really makes it is the help we’ve had to put this together. It shows you how much people want to help and want to make things happen.

“All you’ve got to do is turn them lose and they get after it,” he said.

Brown Precision is a Huntsville-based precision machining manufacturer that focuses on the aerospace and medical industries. The company is family owned and manufactures high-quality, complex components, both large and small, from helicopter and aircraft components to artificial human joints. Brown’s clients include GKN Aerospace, Bell, PPG Aerospace, Smith & Nephew and GE Aviation.

“We are super excited about expanding our company,” Brown Precision CFO and Co-CEO Greg Brown said. “We’re excited about being in Atmore, and it is the perfect fit for us.”

The company’s south Alabama arm will be located in the Rivercane Industrial Park, right next to Interstate 65. To develop the park, the city of Atmore received commitments of funding from the Alabama Department of Transportation, ADECA and the Delta Regional Authority, in addition to using its own funds.

Brown Precision’s financial partners for the project include United Bank, The Valued Advisor Fund and U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation, a subsidiary of U.S. Bank. Other partners who provided assistance or who otherwise worked on the project included the Alabama Department of Commerce, Gov. Robert Bentley, the Poarch Creek Indians and Creek Indian Enterprises, the South Alabama Regional Planning Commission, Galloway Wettermark Everest & Rutens LLP, Civil Southeast Engineering, the Escambia County Commission, Southern Pine Electric Co-Op, AIDT, the Atmore Industrial Development Board, the West Escambia Utilities Board, the Escambia County Industrial Development Board, JDCC and Southern Light Fiber.

Brown Precision will be located at the southwestern corner of the park, which is situated at the intersection of Highway 21 and Interstate 65.

The company expects to make an initial investment of at least $7 million in its facility, with further capital investment in equipment and the potential for expansion planned for the near future.

“Aerospace is Alabama’s second fastest growing industry sector and a key target in my Accelerate Alabama economic development strategy,” Bentley said in a statement. “I’m committed to helping companies like Brown Precision expand in Alabama and strengthen their aerospace business. Rural communities are important to me and I am honored to know the hard working men and women in Atmore will soon have an opportunity to compete for more than 100 skilled well-paying jobs.”

Coastal Gateway Regional Economic Development Alliance, along with Muskogee Technology, were the two main players who brought Brown Precision to Atmore, Staff said.

“Muskogee had a heap to do with it,” Staff said. “It isn’t what you know, it’s who you know.”

Coastal Gateway, which served as the project manager, also assisted the city with acquisition of grant funds to mitigate the city’s expense in developing the park.

“The Atmore area is primed to become a cluster of aerospace manufacturing that supports Airbus and the other things Airbus is going to bring to this area,” Creek Indian Enterprises President and CEO Tim Martin said. “Bringing Brown Precision to this community has also been a catalyst for the educational system to build a center of excellence. We can generate an interest in our younger generations that I can be an aerospace person, too.”

Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield said Brown Precision’s decision to locate its company in Atmore is like that of a marriage.

“The 100 jobs that are going to come from this are going to be the jobs that represent the future of the state of Alabma, the future of Escambia County and the future of Atmore,” Canfield said. “As we grow this aerospace industry and we look particularly in the south today — and the newest partner in Airbus — we’re seeing a synergy, a footprint of aerospace being establish in our part of the state that had not been known for that before. This is big. This is game changing.”