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SaeHaeSung breaks ground

As city and state officials stood with SaeHaeSung owner Mr. In-Tae Heo tossing out ceremonial sand to celebrate the groundbreaking for the company’s new 72,000 square foot facility in Andalusia’s Industrial Park, the real dirt movers never paused.

Behind the dignitaries, heavy equipment operators were busy getting the last of the site prep work done so that concrete footings can be poured in the coming week.

In his comments before the “groundbreaking,” Mayor Earl Johnson praised city employees and contractors for all that has been accomplished since the council agreed on March 6 to move forward with the project.

“Two weeks ago, it looked like this property over here, only the trees were bigger,” Johnson said of the property on which the new facility will be built and indicating a wooded lot. “If we can dodge and survive the rain, they’ll pour the footings and slabs out here next week.”

Johnson said that the city has agreed to turn the keys to the new building over to Mr. Heo on June 1.

“If Andy Wiggins and Micah Blair look a little nervous, there’s a reason,” he said.

Director of Planning Andy Wiggins and Building Inspector Micah Blair are overseeing the construction for the city. They are working with Ingram Construction, LLC, ACI Building Systems, Inc., DMD Engineers, and S&M Concrete, LLC, to complete the building by June.

“Mr. Heo has agreed to invest millions of dollars into equipment for the facility,” Johnson said.

SaeHaeSung is a Hyundai and Kia supplier that currently has a welding operation in Andalusia. With the new addition, it will add a stamping process to its local facility, including $10 million in equipment, and add 150 employees over the next two years.

“I’ve never met a more determined entrepreneur,” Johnson said. “He has great vision and has always stood by his word.”

SaeHaeSung was recruited to Andalusia in 2006 with the help of Southeast Alabama Gas District. In August of 2009, Johnson and other city officials traveled to Korea to meet with Mr. Heo and began talking about the expansion.

Among those on hand for the ceremony were Speaker of the House Seth Hammett; Sen. Jimmy Holley; Bob Smith of the Alabama Development Office; Greg Henderson of SEAG;, Council member Hazel Griffin; Councilman Will Sconiers; Councilman Terry Powell; and Councilman Kenneth Mount.