54 jobs added here in 2015

Published 1:41 am Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Two local companies added 54 new jobs to the Covington County workforce in 2015, according to a statewide report.

According to the 2015 New & Expanding Industry Announcements report from Made in Alabama, Huhtamaki in Andalusia added four jobs and MFG Alabama LLC in Opp added 50 jobs.

MFG spokesperson Camille Cox said that the company’s CEO did not want to publicly discuss employment matters until after his scheduled visit to the Opp at the end of the month.

“MFG produces products on contract for OEM’s like General Motors, General Electric, Daimler Benz, etc,” she said. “Because they are not selling the products on the open market, they really are not at liberty to discuss much about what they are producing or employment associated with those contracts. It’s simply the nature of the business.”

Opp Mayor John Bartholomew said economic development is not something that takes place overnight.

“I’ve learned that in my time as mayor,” he said. “What seems like a sure thing one day, turns out to be totally different the next. I’m proud that of the 54 new jobs that were created in Covington County in 2015, that most belong in Opp.

“We have stayed focused, and will remain focused on working on economic development,” he said. “We continually show properties we have available to potential industries and also our available retail spaces available.”

Bartholomew said a common misconception on the streets is that they haven’t added jobs.

“I often hear how we haven’t added new jobs in Opp,” he said. “This proves for the second year in a row, we’ve done just that. That’s 100 jobs that were not here in 2013, and I hope that number continues to climb. “

Bartholomew said the city is willing to work diligently with existing industry for expansion.

“A good example is Custom Collars,” he said. “We have worked with them in helping them position the company for growth and that is what is happening. I would love to see several new industries in Opp and in Covington County for that matter. Unfortunately, we are but one city in a big state, and we’re all vying for new industry, and sometimes we come out on top, and sometimes we don’t.”

In 2014, the county added nearly 120 new jobs.

Eighty of those were at Opp’s American Apparel; 20 were at Global Aerospace and Defense Manufacturing.

Huhtamaki added 20 new jobs in 2014, which was in addition to jobs added in 2013 after the company announced a $1.9 million expansion project.

The Covington County Economic Development Commission – President Rick Clifton and Jacob Morgan – have made it a priority to focus on existing business in the county.

“We can’t afford not to work with existing businesses,” Clifton said. “They are our greatest source of job growth.”