MFG plans expansion soon

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Construction has begun on the approximately 20,000 square foot expansion to Molded Fiber Glass (MFG) Alabama’s Opp location, which is expected to double the plant’s production of windmill enclosures and increase its number of employees by 2010.

Mike Leonard, plant manager for MFG Alabama’s Opp facility, said a new sales agreement with General Electric Wind Energy created the need for the expansion, which will occur in three phases.

“The first two phases will take place in fiscal year 2009,” he said. “There will be approximately 25 to 30 employees for each phase and 50-60 new employees next year.”

Leonard added that MFG Alabama will use AIDT to train prospective employees to fill various positions occupied during the process of creating fiberglass enclosures for large power-producing windmills. Jobs will include teammates, gel coaters, choppers, laminators and assemblers.

“We used AIDT to help us train employees when we first opened in 2003,” Leonard said. “The company does an excellent job of preparing applicants to enter the facility to become productive members of the company.”

The site currently produces three fiberglass windmill enclosures per day and each phase of the expansion will add one more enclosure to the facility’s daily production for a total projected production rate of six enclosures per day by the end of 2010.

Leonard said the process for producing the enclosures was first utilized in 1950 and has not changed dramatically through the years.

“It is kind of a 1950s type of process,” he said. “It is the way the original Corvette body was produced; MFG produced the first Corvette bodies in Ohio. Spray fiberglass down into a coating and you come back to chop up the fiberglass for molding.

Leonard said the plant’s placement in Opp was established to serve as a functional production point between GE’s assembly plants in Florida and South Carolina.

”The whole reason for this plant being in Opp is because of its proximity to Pensacola, which is GE’s assembly site, and Greenville, S.C., which is their other assembly site,” he said.

“The enclosures we produce here can be shipped to either location to be combined with the other parts used to produce the windmill.”

Leonard said work has already begun on the expansion and the estimated total cost of the project will be a little more than $1 million.

”There is concrete work and foundation work that has just started this week,” he said. “The city of Opp has helped us tremendously by cutting a new road for entrance to the facility. The new expansion is going to block our existing drive and the new road will allow us access as work continues.”

AIDT is currently accepting applications for pre-employment training in conjunction with the expansions. Applications will be accepted through Fri., Oct. 10. Applications may be picked up from the Opp Chamber of Commerce or the Alabama Career System in Enterprise. Applications must be filled out and returned to one of the two aforementioned locations.

For more information about AIDT or to fill out an online application, visit