Gov. Kay Ivey came to Auburn on Monday to announce that Briggs & Stratton Corp. plans to move production of V-twin engines to its Auburn facility with a $12 million investment from the company to create 50 new jobs.
“Teamwork is absolutely required to create a positive business environment in which businesses can grow, and the economic development happens because of collaborative efforts between state and local leaders and with the businesses that are attracted to come because of all the other things that Alabama has,” Ivey said.
The news came after Ivey announced earlier this month that Alabama’s unemployment rate has dropped to its lowest level ever, tied with April 2007.
“Today’s announcement along with recent historic unemployment rate announcement of 3.8 percent shows that what we are doing in Alabama is working and as a result the people in Alabama are working,” Ivey said.
Briggs & Stratton’s Auburn facility has operated for 22 years and is the city’s largest industrial employer with over 400 workers.
Mayor Bill Ham, who was a member of the City Council when the facility opened, thanked the company for its presence in Auburn.
“We are truly grateful that the leadership at Briggs & Stratton continues to trust our community with their investment,” Ham said. “The contributions to our economy and the lives of our citizens cannot be overstated. From providing jobs to helping fund our annual Fourth of July fireworks display for many years running, they are an outstanding corporate member of the community.”
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Chairman, President and CEO of Briggs & Stratton Todd Teske thanked the governor and mayor and explained why the corporation chose to move production of the engines from Japan to Auburn.
“By bringing these Vanguard engines, these commercial engines back to the U.S., we, ultimately, are going to be closer to our customers; we’re going to be closer to the engineering; we’re going to be closer to the people who do a lot of the work here,” Teske said. “I’ve gotten the question a few times about, ‘Well why Auburn?’ … It’s really two things: it’s our great workforce here, and it’s the relationship and the partnership that we have with the folks of the state and the city.”
Ivey and city officials were given tours of the production line for the Vanguard engines after the announcement concluded.
“When Alabamians are given the opportunity to work, they do so with vigor and with pride,” Ivey said. “To Briggs & Stratton, thank you for growing your business in our state. We are proud to have you here. Thank you for seeing the potential in Alabama and especially in the potential in our people here in the Lee County area.”