Billets plant job fair at RCCC

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 20, 2005

AHOSKIE – The next step in reviving a former Hertford County business begins this weekend.

Officials with Aluminum Casting Technology (ACT) announced they will conduct a job fair starting at 2 p.m. on Sunday at Roanoke-Chowan Community College’s auditorium, located in the Jernigan Building. All former production, maintenance, supervisors and administrative personnel are invited.

ACT, a Roxboro based company, recently acquired the old Carolina Billets plant from Indalex Aluminum Solutions Group. The plant, scheduled to open next month, is located on the Johnny Mitchell Road, south of Ahoskie.

Butch Ginther has been hired as the Plant Manager. He formerly served Indalex as Production Manager at the Ahoskie billets plant, which closed in 2001.

&uot;We welcome anyone with a desire to join a great company that will be a part of a fast-growing market,&uot; said Ginther who remained in northeastern North Carolina after the closing of the old plant.

Ginther said he has had contact with some of the former employees of the Ahoskie plant and they expressed an interest in returning.

&uot;We will focus first on those former employees because we know, with them onboard, we can be immediately effective from an operational standpoint,&uot; Ginther noted. &uot;We invite any former employees of Carolina Aluminum, Carolina Billets and Indalex to Sunday’s job fair.&uot;

However, Ginther said the job fair is not exclusive to just former workers within the aluminum industry. He said there are job opportunities available.

He added that a minimum of 25 jobs will be filled by next month’s projected start-up. That figure could reach as high as 50 immediate openings. Plans call for a total workforce of 80 workers by 2006.

&uot;We are already fully aware that the people in the Roanoke-Chowan area have a willingness to work,&uot; Ginther stated. &uot;We think we have a career opportunity for them here with ACT. Plus, we’re very excited to be back in business and look forward to becoming a good corporate partner in the local community.&uot;

The plant will supply aluminum billet to customers in the southeastern United States. According to the new owners, the purchase deal included a five-year supply agreement with Indalex, giving the facility its launch customer and immediate market credibility.

&uot;There is a need for more capacity to produce aluminum billet in the marketplace, so the timing to re-open the facility is excellent,&uot; said Harry Phipps, one of ACT’s managing partners.

He continued, &uot;The Ahoskie plant is well-equipped and we have an experienced workforce in the community that is immediately available. We have plans for strategic investments in the business to support our goal of making the Ahoskie facility a world class supplier of aluminum billet that is known for its high quality and service.&uot;

&uot;Having Indalex, North America’s largest independent integrated aluminum extrusion company, as our launch customer gives us a running start and credibility in the marketplace. There are other aluminum extrusion companies in the area and we believe we are positioned well to supply their needs for high quality billet,&uot; said Roger Penn, ACT managing partner.

Phipps, principal of Metals Recycling Corp. and H.E. Phipps Co., Inc.

in Roxboro, N.C., and Penn, a former Indalex executive, have led ACT in the acquisition discussions. Metals Recycling Corp. and H.E. Phipps Co., Inc. are leading suppliers of new and used equipment for the global metals industry. The businesses were founded in 1987.

Both men were appreciative of the state and local efforts that helped in leading ACT to acquire and re-open the Ahoskie plant. They praised the efforts of the North Carolina Department of Commerce at Edenton, the Hertford County Industrial Development group and Hertford County Economic Development.

&uot;We are excited about what is now a reality of the reopening of the old billets plant,&uot; stated Bill Early, Director of Hertford County Economic Development. &uot;It’s been a real pleasure to work with Mr. Phipps and others in regards to this project and we will continue to offer our support and our help, including whatever is needed at Sunday’s job fair, as the reopening process moves along.&uot;

In September of 2001, Indalex closed the Ahoskie plant as a result of a decline in orders. The facility employed 83 people at that time. It had been open since 1983, first as Carolina Billets. Indalex took ownership of the plant in 1999 as part of its acquisition of Easco Aluminum.