Hanil E-Hwa making

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 7, 2006

an impact in Selma

By

The Selma Times-Journal

Hanil E-Hwa Interior Systems has only been in the area for a few months, but they’ve already started making a big splash in Alabama’s automotive manufacturing community.

Less than six months after announcing their decision to locate a plant in the old American

Candy Building, Hanil E-Hwa has already manufactured and supplied door trim for more than 14,000 cars. At four trim assemblies per car, that winds up being 56,000 units in the month of December alone.

That’s not all.

According to David Kim, of the company’s planning department, the plant has been supplying parts since November, but didn’t start manufacturing at the Dallas

County site until December.

Hanil E-Hwa already has about 140 employees working at their new plant and everything is going fine.

Kim came into Selma just before the plant announced its intent to build here in August.

He’s been part of a team of Hanil E-Hwa employees that have been working hard &045; sometimes around the clock &045; to make the new plant a reality in an astonishingly short period of time.

Hanil E-Hwa started working with Dallas County’s economic development

officials in the middle of 2005.

Economic Development Agency head Wayne Vardaman got a call from Kim in the middle of a Friday morning prayer meeting.

In a lot of ways, Hanil E-Hwa, along with companies like Lear/Kyungshin and Renesol, are the fulfillment of a promise made by a more earthly source.

Area leaders said in May 2005 that Hyundai’s decision to put a plant in Hope

Hull would reverberate through the Black Belt region.

Perkins Jr. said when Hyundai had its kick-off celebration.

About three months later, Selma had the promise of 240 jobs and possible more to come when Hanil E-Hwa came to town.

Before it’s over, Hanil E-Hwa officials have promised to make a capital investment in the area of about $38 million, including the renovation of the American Candy company.

In fact, area officials said that the 100,000 square-foot building was one of the reasons Hanil E-Hwa decided to move into the area.

A tilt-up concrete structure, the building is sturdy enough to withstand massive tornadoes.

Of course, like all economic advancements in the area, officials are always quick to point out that Dallas County’s residents are a big selling point in any transaction.

A crowd of about 200 showed up in August to welcome the company.

Kim promised that the progress in Craig Field isn’t over yet.

Construction is still ongoing to renovate the site, and the company still needs to hire about 100 more employees to achieve full capacity at the site.

That progress will come soon enough Kim said.