Assuring owners of Great Dane they picked wisely in selecting Statesboro as the site to build a 450,000-square-foot manufacturing plant, Gov. Sonny Perdue welcomed the company to Bulloch County during a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday.
"Great Dane's decision to put a plant here sends a strong message that advanced manufacturing is alive and well in Georgia," Perdue said. "This is a company with deep Georgia roots and a bright future here in our state."
Great Dane Limited Partnership picked the site after an extensive property search. The company will build a $33.5 million manufacturing plant on a 118-acre site in the Gateway II section of the Gateway Regional Industrial Park.
The plant, in its first phase, will encompass 450,000 square feet, and will have the capacity to produce 5,000-plus single- and multi-temp refrigerated trailers annually. At that level of production, the facility will employ more than 400 people.
"We have been impressed with the State of Georgia and Bulloch County's ability and willingness to address our needs, as well as keeping us close to the beginnings of Great Dane Trailers in Savannah," said Phill Pines, Great Dane's president and chief operating officer. "We are confident that we have made a sound choice in joining such a plentiful community that will help further grow our business while giving us many opportunities to be a good corporate partner."
The new plant will be less than an hour's drive from Great Dane's division offices in Savannah which will remain home to its sales, marketing, engineering, and state-of-the-art research and development center. The company was founded in Savannah in 1900 as the Savannah Blowpipe Company, and the first Great Dane trailer ever built was assembled at its Savannah plant, which closed in 2009.
Construction of the Statesboro plant will begin shortly and is expected to be complete in 2012. Great Dane officials said they would take advantage of Bulloch County's status as a Certified Work Ready Community to ensure a steady pipeline of qualified workers. Also, the company plans to partner with Ogeechee Technical College and Georgia Quick Start, the state's workforce training program, which will help train workers so they are prepared when the plant opens.
Great Dane's decision to come to Statesboro came after more than a year-long search for the ideal location, Pines said.
"While many different sites throughout the southeast region were considered, we believe the Statesboro location best meets our strategic and corporate needs," Pines said.
"We are proud to welcome Great Dane Trailers to Bulloch County," said David Holland, chairman of the Development Authority of Bulloch County. "Our entire region will benefit from these much desired manufacturing jobs. We are confident that our community and Great Dane will enjoy a long, mutually rewarding partnership."
Great Dane can be accessed online at www.greatdanetrailers.com.