The first new Chatham-area automotive parts plant in two decades is coming, but those in the know don’t want to steal the company’s thunder by revealing more details at this time.
A recent job posting on the Canadian Executive Search Group Inc. Facebook Page stated: “There is a new massive plant opening in Chatham in November.”
A search company official, though, said they couldn’t divulge any other details about what they described in the post as a Tier 1 automotive plant. A Tier 1 supplier is one that provides parts or systems directly to an automotive manufacturer.
A total of 54 full-time production workers are initially being sought, according to the job posting. Training starts immediately in St. Thomas before staff will begin working at the Chatham plant when doors open later this year.
The Canadian Executive Search Group Inc. is offering free shuttles to the unnamed St. Thomas facility or those hired can drive themselves. St. Thomas is home to several automotive parts plants, including Formet Industries, a division of Magna International that makes vehicle frames; Presstran Industries, another Magna subsidiary, which makes structural components; and Amino North America Corp., which produces body panels and other components.
The posting notes there will be 110 openings to fill soon.
Chatham-Kent Mayor Darrin Canniff said the municipality can confirm some great economic news is coming, but added local officials are waiting for the company to make the actual announcement.
The mayor did say the company plans to operate in an existing building.
“We expect them to announce shortly,” Canniff said. “We’re very excited about it. We’ve been working on it for a long time and it’s coming to fruition.”
The last new large-scale automotive parts plant to come Chatham-Kent was Autoliv, which opened a $20-million state-of-the-art facility in Tilbury in late September 1999.
More than two decades later, the plant continues to produce inflatable curtain airbags that protect drivers and passengers from side-impact collisions.
Chatham-Kent’s director of economic development, Stuart McFadden, acknowledged attracting an automotive parts facility of this scale doesn’t happen on a regular basis.
“We’re very thankful for the opportunity. This is a huge coup for Chatham-Kent,” he said.
Canadian Executive Search Group Inc. stated in its post that day and afternoon shifts will pay $18.55 per hour while the midnight shift will pay $19.55 per hour.
Those interested in applying can email [email protected] or [email protected]. Applicants can also call 519-355-1200 or visit the search group office at 100 King St. W. in the Downtown Chatham Centre.
Applications have already begun pouring in from people keen on landing one of the positions at the new plant.
Although she didn’t want to provide specific numbers, Sandy Peck, a senior recruiter at Canadian Executive Group, said the respond had “been overwhelming.”
Jessica Foss, a finance manager with the recruiter, said people have even been calling to ask about jobs for family members.
“Word is definitely getting out there,” she said.
Foss said the free shuttle offered to take people to and from training in St. Thomas will be an added bonus, especially with the soaring price of gas.
“People are excited,” Peck said. “This is a positive for Chatham.”