Cerrowire breaks ground on $100m plant at Morgan Center
By Staff Reports
Photos by Rachel Howard
The Morgan Business Park saw its first future tenant break ground May 4 when Cerrowire welcomed city, county and state leaders along with members of the community, employees and shareholders to celebrate what will become a $100-million, 270,000-square-foot facility.
Cerrowire, which already has a plant in Hartselle, announced plans for the expansion in Nov. 2020. The new plant will eventually bring 131 jobs to Hartselle, doubling its Morgan County workforce.
Th new plant will produce metal clad cable, Cerrowire President Stewart Smallwood said, which will be marketed to commercial construction contractors.
“The past three or four years we’ve realized significant growth, and our customers have been asking for us to get into this product category. It’s a very popular cable in the market today,” Smallwood said. “It’s less labor intensive, so electricians who are struggling with labor prefer to go to MC cable so they can hang it and install it faster than the traditional conduit and wires. We need to add MC cable into our package to be relevant in the market space.”
According to the project agreement approved Nov. 9 by the Morgan County Industrial Park and Economic Development Cooperative District, the jobs will have an average hourly wage of at least $25.99 per full-time employee, excluding benefits.
Jeremy Nails, president and CEO of the Morgan County Economic Development Association said the Morgan Business Park was the vision of the late Bob Francis and other city and county leaders who wanted to see industry on the I65 corridor.
The Cooperative District finished Phase 1 of Morgan Center in November 2011, but until now the predicted jobs and revenue have not come.
Smallwood said the groundbreaking is a special event for his team.
“Filling up this park with industry will be great, but for us at Cerrowire it’s been 25 years since we have built a facility,” he said. “For us, this expansion marks a reenergized era for our vision of growth through supporting our customers, team members, suppliers, shareholders and communities.
Smallwood added the planning began well before the COVID-19 pandemic began. “Our growth with our key partners had us asking ‘What can we do to help you support your business?’” he added.
The company, founded in 1920 as Circle Flexible Conduit Co., has been headquartered in Hartselle since 1983. It also has plants in Georgia, Indiana and Utah.
Cerrowire is a Marmon/Berkshire Hathaway company.
Product coming off the line – first quarter of 2023 would be our current target,” Smallwood said.
In the project agreement, Cerrowire commits to employing at least 81 full-time workers by June 30, 2025, and 131 by Dec. 31, 2029.
The Cooperative District will provide an incentive of $1,500 per employee to Cerrowire.
State Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur), who also serves as the chairman of the Morgan County Economic Development Association, praised the county’s workforce and the quality of life in Morgan County and North Alabama, adding the decision to locate the new manufacturing facility in Hartselle speaks to the “continued strength of our economic future.”
Morgan County Commission Chairman Ray Long and Hartselle Mayor Randy Garrison welcomed Cerrowire’s decision to invest in the community.
“Cerrowire has been a great community supporter and friend to Hartselle for many years,” Garrison said. “We’re excited you all chose Morgan Center and our city to begin this new operation.”
“We’ve been waiting on this a long time,” Long added. “What better company to have than one that is already a partner with us here in Morgan County?”
Michael Wetzel contributed to this report.