The California window maker’s president says the Phenix City plant could employ up to 500 workers

PHENIX CITY, Alabama (WRBL) — Earlier this week, WRBL reported that a California-based company is planning to locate its manufacturing facility in East Alabama.

Sierra Pacific Windows is part of Sierra Pacific Industries. And in Phenix City, they’re in overdrive.

And they’re coming to Phenix City to set up a southeastern branch in the old Johnston Textiles factory on Colin Powell Parkway. And they commit to hiring at least 300 people.

Sierra Pacific is one of the nation’s largest logging companies, owning approximately 2.5 million acres of wooded land in California, Oregon and Washington state.

The company’s President, Tom Takach, spoke to WRBL and we asked him how the company would approach the refurbishment of such a large building.

He was asked why the company chose Phenix City.

“That’s a great, great question,” he said. “And you know, we started looking about a year ago when we were expanding our window business; the south east is the fastest growing market we have. Servicing from California and Wisconsin is a little tricky. And we’re getting to the point where our capacities needed more. And from a logistical point of view, you obviously need more capacity. Let’s put it where the business is.”

This realization sparked a search that led to Phenix City.

“So we started a search. It was quite a wide net,” he said. “But you know, we looked at some facilities, and then in early January we looked at this facility. And that was again the place, if you draw a dartboard around the so-called Southeast Market, Phenix City is right on target.”

Now there is still a lot to be done to get the plant ready for production by June next year.

“A lot of work, and we probably won’t get all 600,000,” he said of the square footage. “It’s a big elephant and we’re going to bite it off bit by bit. The big focus here will be on the main building of this 400,000 square foot building. Set up the infrastructure, you know, set up new break rooms and toilets, lights and electricity, all the necessary utilities, you know, set everything up. So that will be the big focus.”

This plant will bring high-paying jobs to the Chattahoochee Valley. Starting wages are just under $20 an hour, with wages increasing as a worker grows in the position.

Phenix City Mayor Eddie Lowe said earlier in the week it will likely be more than the 300 jobs promised.

Takach explains why the mayor would say that.

“It should,” he said. “And I’m going to look at it from that perspective, Chuck. Our California and Wisconsin facilities each employ nearly 500 people. I am convinced that if we are in the same stadium, we will consider this a success.”

The company is currently in the process of hiring a HR manager and a few other positions. They hope that by June next year the building renovation will be complete and at least part of the facility will be up and running.

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