The Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, in its role as an economic developer for the city of Mobile and Mobile County, announced aggressive growth plans on behalf of two local businesses last week.
On its face, the press release provides an eye in the hurricane of bad economic news that has blown across headlines for months due to COVID-19 shutdowns, ranging from the death knell of well-known companies closing permanently to record levels of unemployment not seen in decades.
In the middle of this, Prichard-based Jones Welding Co. (JWC) and SpillTech (found near Brookley) have proclaimed plans for operational expansion.
The two companies are making new internal investments that will add up to nearly $13.5 million and are expected to generate over a dozen new high-paying jobs in the next few years.
“Both Jones Welding and SpillTech are two strong companies that call Mobile home. Their investments show a continued commitment to our area, and the people who work with them,” said Shelby Glover Zaricor, the Mobile Chamber’s director of business development.
JWC President Roy Parker announced in a prepared statement he wanted to expand the capabilities of his family-owned business, not just by volume, but by the physical size and complexity of projects.
Founded in 1911 and currently employing close to 40 workers, JWC specializes in the repair of industrial equipment, and is reportedly one of the largest and longest-serving businesses of its kind in the Southeast.
With an $8.5 million investment, primarily in equipment, plans are in place to hire around 10 more employees to keep up with growth.
“In today’s machine shop environment, you either make technological advancements or you become obsolete,” Parker said. “In the acquisition of more modern and sophisticated equipment, we will need more floor space and more highly trained employees.”
JWC also expects to move out of its current building this year, relocating their home office, currently found at 1926 Telegraph Road, to construct a new site on some 17 acres of land in Prichard. Buildout timelines were unknown as of press time.
SpillTech, a manufacturer of polypropylene mats for absorbing fluid leaks, announced their second expansion this year.
The company’s latest chunk of dollar outlay geared toward growth is nearly $5 million ($4.98 million), with money earmarked for buying new equipment and growing payroll; eight new hires are expected to be added to a current staff of 75 employees.
SpillTech has a global customer base, with the majority of its clientele found in the U.S., Canada, Middle East, Netherlands and U.K. New technology acquired is reportedly needed to increase capacity, keep up with competitors and meet current and future demand projections, according to company officials.
Business moves, transactions
New York Life Insurance has leased a 1,417-square-foot office space on the 15th floor of the historic Waterman-Smith Building, in addition to the 4,000-square-foot office they currently lease at Montlimar Place in West Mobile.
Located at 61 St. Joseph St. downtown, the 70,000-square-foot professional office complex was built in 1947 by 101-year-old, Mobile-founded Waterman Steamship, now a subsidiary of Mobile-based International Shipholding Corporation.
According to Josh Hall with NAI Mobile, who handles leasing for the site, the most recent owner of the building has been renovating the property since its purchase in 2018. The 15th floor has been out of commission for years, but is now fully renovated and has two remaining vacancies available for lease.
Chris Harle with White-Spunner Realty recently reported the closing of a lease signing on some 2,400 square feet of retail space by Powell, Ohio-based Dell’s Ice Cream, located at 25637 Canal Road in Orange Beach.
The parlor will be an exclusive reseller of Mobile-headquartered Cammie’s Old Dutch ice cream in the Orange Beach and Gulf Shores area.
Rhen Bartlett, COO for Irby Home Buyers (IHB), a privately-owned single-family acquisition firm, reported the company’s expansion plans into the Mississippi Gulf Coast this year. “We will be buying houses in Jackson, Harrison and Hancock counties with plans to expand deeper into the state,” Bartlett said.
The company currently operates in South Alabama and the northwest Florida area and anticipates adding 10 to 15 more employees to cover the Mississippi Gulf Coast, as well as possibly adding satellite offices in the near future. IHB currently employs around 30 in its headquarters located at 503 Government St. in downtown Mobile.
Adams and Reese’s Williams-Maynard named to NBL ‘40 Under 40’
New Orleans-based Adams and Reese’s Mobile office recently announced attorney Suntrease Williams-Maynard has been named one of The National Black Lawyers’ (NBL) “Top 40 Under 40” in Alabama, following an extensive nomination and vetting process.
According to the news release, only 40 lawyers in each state are recognized. Based on merits, they must exemplify superior leadership skills and perform at a superior level in their areas of legal practice.
“I am appreciative of organizations such as the NBL, who are dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion within the legal profession,” Williams-Maynard said. “Opportunities such as these provide minority attorneys an opportunity to share their talents and network with others, while simultaneously continuing their professional development. I’m truly humbled by this selection.”
Prior to joining Adams and Reese, Williams-Maynard served as a trial attorney for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in Mobile. In this role, she was the sole legal counsel to federal investigators and the local office director for Mobile on case development strategies.
A military veteran, she has also served as assistant judge advocate for the U.S. Army Reserve since 2013 and currently moonlights as an adjunct professor in sociology and criminology at Spring Hill College.
Williams-Maynard holds B.A. in Sociology: Criminal Justice from Shaw University, a master’s in public education (MPA) from Penn State and a J.D. from North Carolina Central University School of Law.
The NBL facilitates legal competencies by promoting attorneys as subject matter experts, developing a strong national network of top African American attorneys and facilitating the exchange of timely information to enable members to maintain their status as leaders.
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