A new manufacturing venture could bring as many as 300 jobs to Webster City in the next year, according to an announcement made by Webster City officials Monday.
The city of Webster City and AMS Inc., a new division of Eagle Manufacturing, Webster City, jointly announced the signing of a contract with EnVision Motor Company, Ames, to assemble a new line of all electric cars in Webster City under the "Electric Motor Cars" brand and logo.
According to company officials, the deal will initially bring 50 jobs to the community with up to 300 jobs expected to be in place by the second quarter of 2011.
"This is an incredible opportunity for our company and the city," said Joe Fleming, owner of Eagle Manufacturing and AMS, Inc.
"The city contacted us after their economic development consultant spoke with EnVision about locating manufacturing in Webster City. The project obviously piqued our interest and after months of collaboration, we're expecting to start assembly on the first cars in a matter of weeks," said Fleming
"The city is excited for this opportunity. We've been working with Joe and we've offered to assist with resources, including financial assistance tied to job creation," said City Manager Ed Sadler.
Last year, the city announced a $1.5 million economic development initiative that included the hiring of an economic development consultant, a marketing plan, and job creation and retention incentives.
"Webster City is a strategic location with an advantageous labor market and technological advantages that support manufacturing and we've been very successful here. We'd encourage other companies looking for a home to look here too," said Fleming.
Fleming said Eagle Manufacturing is a company that specializes in metal stamping, manufacturing and assembly. The company has been a subcontractor for Electrolux for 14 years. AMS Inc. will be the assembler of the new cars.
Sadler said the process began with a newspaper story about a Des Moines dealership's involvement with EnVision Motor Co.
"EnVision was looking for a manufacturing facility. We had a few calls from people asking us to look into it," he said. "So we started looking. We talked to EnVision and Gabus Motors in Des Moines. They were looking for somebody to put this car together."
According to Sadler, EnVision was looking for an experienced manufacturing workforce and location.
David Toyer, the city's economic development consultant, started making calls, according to Sadler.
"Joe Fleming was interested," Sadler said.
"How much better does it get when Iowa wants to take the lead role in alternative fuels and technology," he said. Sadler said this is just the first stage of the project.
"We hope it goes well. There are a lot of stages to go through, but right now it looks really good," he said.
"The great part about this is not just the jobs associated with the project itself, but also the secondary jobs in other businesses that could occur because of this announcement," Toyer said
Toyer was one of the local officials who had a chance to drive one of the electric autos.
"It was sweet," he said. "Most noticeably, right off there is no noise. I got to drive it around town. It was great."
"It's an announcement that we have been waiting a long time for," said Mayor Janet Adams. "We hoped that we could get something here that would be workable for our clientele, our workers and for companies that would match what we have to offer."
Adams said the plant would be a good match for the community.
"It's a good start. They'll be starting small and hopefully will expand, if all goes well."
"This isn't the only project we're working on in Webster City, but I think this announcement will give us a boost to let others know we are welcoming and have a good work force. We have a community that is a nice place to do business," she said.
Gov. Chet Culver also commented on the announcement Monday.
"This electric vehicle plant is great news for Webster City," Culver said. "Not only will this plant employ hundreds of hard-working Iowans, but it will also contribute to Iowa's leadership in renewable energy. I want to thank EnVision for choosing to grow their company in Iowa and Webster City."
Sen. Rich Olive, D-Story City, said the announcement was great news for the Webster City and the surrounding area.
"First of all, the city manager, City Council and chamber officials worked very hard to make this happen and they should be congratulated," he said. "I'm pleased they could pull this together, and the timing couldn't be better."
"This picks up everyone's spirits and that will certainly help the community," he said.
Contact Anne Blankenship at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 832-4350.