Joining Haslam at the anxiously anticipated event will be Dr. Rudolf Staudigl, Wacker Chemie AG president and chief executive officer, and Dr. Ingomar Kovar, president and chief executive officer of Wacker Chemical Corporation-North America.
Announcement of the groundbreaking ceremonies, and the keynote speakers, came this morning in invitations forwarded to local, regional and state news media outlets.
“When our new plant comes on line, it will become one of America’s foremost and leading producers of hyperpure polysilicon, the essential material used in solar panels to generate green, renewable energy from sunlight,” according to the electronic invitation.
The day will begin at 9 a.m. at Life Care Centers of America’s Professional Development Building with a press briefing featuring Haslam, Dr. Staudigl and Dr. Kovar. The briefing will conclude by about 9:30, at which time registration and a reception will begin. A welcoming and presentations will get under way at 10 a.m. at Life Care featuring comments by Haslam, Staudigl and Kovar. Groundbreaking ceremonies will be held at the construction site near Charleston at 11 a.m.
A business luncheon by invitation will be held at 12:30 p.m. at Life Care.
The day’s events are certain to include a large number of Cleveland, Bradley County and state government representatives, as well as economic development leaders representing the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Development Council and the Cleveland/Bradley Industrial Development Board — all of whom played major roles two years ago in recruiting Wacker Chemie to bring its new plant operations to Bradley County.
Groundbreaking has been eagerly anticipated by company officials and local government and economic development leaders since a December announcement confirming the start of earth-moving work. In that announcement, Wacker Chemie leaders also pointed to increased demand for the plant’s products, which hiked the company’s originally planned $1 billion investment — announced in February 2009 — to $1.45 billion.
The product-demand increase, and larger investment, also includes a jump in expected employment numbers from the originally planned 500 to about 650.
In the past few weeks, Wacker Chemie has been advertising heavily for engineering and production positions. Last week, the company confirmed it had hired eight engineers and extended offers for procurement and logistics managers as the company’s staffing efforts continue to move full-steam ahead.
Jeff Zierenburg, Wacker Polysilicon North America human resources manager, told the Cleveland Daily Banner the company is continuing its full-media campaign which includes TV ads, newspaper advertising, billboards and radio through March 20.
“This has been a very successful effort,” Zierenburg told the Banner. “WACKER continues to receive applications and has extended the application date, not because of a lack of qualified candidates, but rather to ensure the timeline offers the opportunity and awareness for candidates due to the advertising.
“We have begun that review process which will take considerable time with the significant number of resumes,” he added. “While I cannot share the exact number, we are very encouraged by the quality and experience of the candidates.”
Zierenburg reported the majority of the applications are coming from Bradley and surrounding counties, including Hamilton County. Too, applications have been received from North Georgia and a small number from other states. As WACKER stated from the beginning dating back to February 2009, it is committed to focusing employee recruitment in the local and neighboring communities and counties, according to Zierenburg.
As for the 70 lead chemical operator jobs, the next phase is to invite a selected number of candidates to participate in a full-day assessment at Cleveland State Community College.
Zierenburg told the Banner in a previous interview, “This process is designed to measure and evaluate the factors critical and important to successfully do the job. Candidates invited to this next step will be notified via e-mail and called to schedule their appointment.”
The evaluation will take place mid- to late-April.
Wacker Chemical Co. is located in Adrian, Mich. It is the North American subsidiary of Wacker Chemie AG, based in Munich, Germany.