Hagerty joined P&G Duracell Plant Manager Bill Barkley, Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis, Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland and Cleveland/Bradley Industrial Development Board Chairman Ross Tarver to disclose the company will expand its battery manufacturing and packaging facilities in the city. The investment by P&G Duracell, the world’s leading manufacturer of high-performance alkaline batteries, will be an ongoing project over the next three years.
“Existing Tennessee industries are an integral part of the communities they call home, and I would like to thank P&G Duracell for reaffirming its commitment to the citizens of Bradley County,” Hagerty said. “Expansion decisions are only made after careful and thoughtful consideration, and this announcement shows a tremendous vote of confidence in the area’s quality workforce and the state’s favorable business climate.”
Barkley said the Cleveland manufacturing facility is one of only three P&G Duracell plants in the United States and will be the sole producer of C- and D-cell batteries for the Duracell brand. The company’s other manufacturing plants are located in Lancaster, S.C., and LaGrange, Ga. The Cleveland packaging facility is the only one of its kind in North America, packaging batteries for all three U.S. plants at the Bradley County location. The batteries made and packaged in Cleveland are then distributed throughout the U.S., Europe, Asia and Latin America.
“Duracell has been making batteries in Bradley County since 1961. As county mayor it’s good to know that Duracell is reinforcing its commitment and belief in this community, our citizens and our workforce,” Davis said. “This $36 million is more than an investment to secure the future of Duracell’s largest plant. It also adds to this community’s tax base, provides 60 new jobs at a competitive wage and secures the future of hundreds of employees already on the Duracell payroll. I think it’s great that the world’s most trusted battery is trusting Bradley County to be a partner as we continue to expand and grow together.”
Barkley said the expansion acknowledged the “great work of our people at the P&G Cleveland site, who are the catalyst of our continued business success.” The new jobs will be primarily production jobs requiring various levels of skill. The minimum requirement is a high school education.
He said the company began working on expansion plans in early 2011. As the company considered expansion, it looked at the culture within the plant and all economic factors. After careful consideration of all factors, expanding in Cleveland was determined to be the right thing to do, he stated.
“On behalf of the city of Cleveland, I can say that we are very pleased to see Duracell continue to invest in our community,” Rowland said. “This is another testimony to the employees of Duracell and the strong quality of our local workforce. We compliment the leadership of the Cleveland/Bradley Industrial Development Board and the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce staff for their work on behalf of our community. We are proud to support the continued expansion of one of our fine manufacturing companies, which will bring over $500,000 in new tax revenue to the city of Cleveland and Bradley County. Congratulations Duracell.”
Tarver said any commitment the size Duracell is making is a mirror image of its employees because without a dedicated workforce, Wednesday’s announcement would not be possible. He said the expansion was a true team effort of the company, city, county, Chamber of Commerce and state.
“This is a great announcement for Duracell, Cleveland and all the citizens of our community,” Tarver said. “It is yet another example of the importance of supporting our existing industry and what it means to our community to have strong companies like Duracell reinvesting in America. My compliments to P&G/Gillette corporate management for choosing Cleveland for this exciting expansion project. My hat’s off to Bill Barkley and all the employees of Duracell for their hard work and effort in making the Cleveland facility a true world-class operation. I’d also like to thank Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Haggerty for the strong support the project received from the state of Tennessee.”
Barkley said in September 2011, the Cleveland plant celebrated 50 years of battery production. The facility opened Oct. 1, 1961, under the Mallory Battery name. It began producing batteries under the Duracell name in 1964. The Duracell brand is now part of Procter & Gamble’s portfolio of trusted quality brands.
The announcement was only the most recent advance made at the local plant in its 50 years of operation. In recent memory, Duracell, in 1993, became the first manufacturing plant in Cleveland to be ISO certified by the International Organization for Standards. The test and packaging center was built in 1980 on Coppertop Lane and a warehouse was added in 1991. The packaging center was completely automated in 1995 and three years later, a distribution center was opened in Cleveland. In 2001, as technology changed, the plant adopted lean manufacturing methods.
State Rep. Kevin Brooks, R-Cleveland representing the 24th Legislative District, said, “We are thrilled that The Gillette Company, who powers Duracell, has announced this new $36 million dollar expansion which is expected to power up 60 new local jobs. Our local Duracell family has been such an important part of our local existing industry — not only in their manufacturing and shipping Cleveland-made products around the globe, but also with their hometown heroes who quickly and willingly came to the rescue of co-workers and neighbors, after the tornadoes in both 2011 and 2012. Duracell has helped our community to prepare and protect for these natural disasters, and we are grateful for it.”
Brooks added, “In the aftermath of the storms, we are also grateful that our Cleveland Duracell family helped to equip our local first responders who became a lifeline for so many here in Bradley County.”
The Cleveland legislator pointed out, “Duracell programs such as the ‘Power Those Who Protect Us’ demonstrate their corporate commitment, not just to investment and expansion, but for their investment in people, in families and in communities like Cleveland. Duracell, we congratulate you, we celebrate you and we are grateful to you.”
State Rep. Eric Watson, R-Cleveland representing the 22nd Legislative District, remembered that his mother once worked at the Cleveland facility when it still bore the Mallory name.
“It is nice to think that my own mother had a small part in helping to build a positive environment and culture in the workplace,” Watson said. “In return, I am thankful to Proctor & Gamble for its commitment to its people who depend on the company for their livelihood.”
He said the announcement is a win-win for Bradley County that is still one of the leading economic development spots in Tennessee.