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Business leaders hopeful for future industry announcements

When the state and Greater Jackson Chamber announced the agreement to bring 6K Energy’s PlusCAM factory to Jackson, it was the first announcement of its kind that had been prophesied beginning in September 28, 2021.

That was the day Gov. Bill Lee announced the agreement that will bring Ford Motor Company and SK Innovations to Haywood County in Blue Oval City.

And while 6K isn’t officially linked to Ford, its location one county over positions the company as a potential supplier for the global car brand that plans to build electric-powered trucks in Stanton.

“We were actually talking to 6K before Blue Oval City was announced, so if Ford wasn’t coming to West Tennessee, I don’t think that would’ve been a deal-breaker necessarily,” said Mandy White, the chief economic development officer for the Greater Jackson Chamber. “But I’m sure it helped our case to make them want to come here even more.”

White and Chamber President Kyle Spurgeon reiterated that while there’s no supplier agreement in place between 6K and Ford, the potential for one is definite.

But the plan is for Ford to begin announcing Tier 1 suppliers by the end of 2023 ahead of its scheduled opening in 2025.

“That’s a spicket that we’re just now starting to see turn on,” White said. “And we don’t really know the impact that process will have on not just Jackson and Madison County, but all of West Tennessee.”

The initial jobs created at Blue Oval City between Ford and SK will be about 5,600 jobs.

While the total number of jobs at suppliers isn’t known yet, 6K is estimated 230 new jobs at its plant when it’s built in Jackson.

Ford has not given an official public estimate on how many suppliers it will require or where they could locate, but Spurgeon said Jackson and Madison County are positioned well if any of them look at this area as an option.

“When companies are looking for somewhere to locate or build a new manufacturing plant, they’re looking for a location that will be quickly put together and ready to operate as soon as possible,” Spurgeon said. “With the infrastructure we have in place with Jackson Energy Authority, we’re good from that standpoint.

“Then when you look at how well everyone involved in industry recruitment – local government, JEA, West Tennessee Healthcare, all of our local partners – that really creates Team Madison County. And we’ve heard from others we’ve worked with in the past that there aren’t many places that have all those entities working so well together as we have here. That’s a big thing in our favor.”

And while there’s a good amount of anticipation because of coming companies in addition to 6K – like Georgia-Pacific and Great Wolf Lodge – Jackson’s industrial development is already in a good situation.

“We’ve got a lot of great industry partners who employ a lot of people here already,” White said. “And we’re taking care of them too because they are already partners that we value.

“But whether Blue Oval City is coming or not, we always want to bring in more community partners that make Jackson a great place to work, live and raise a family.”

Brandon Shields, brandon@jacksonpost.news

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