Battery plant to employ hundreds in the Pee Dee

Photo Credit: Tonya Brown

Bulldozers are leveling dirt for a $150 million investment on Papermill Road in Florence County.

By July 2012, the Johnson Controls, Inc. battery recycling plant is expected to be ready for business. Tuesday morning, state, local and community leaders held a groundbreaking ceremony.

Johnson Controls officials tell NewsChannel 15 they will employ up to 250 people at the plant and 1,000 during construction. Senator Kent Williams says news of the jobs is uplifting for the Pee Dee economy. "In this economy, we got to create more jobs and put people back to work."

The company has already started to hire key people for their recycling center. They plan to hire the bulk of their employees around August 1st.

"As the facility goes up we'll be hiring people to go into the facility so they can learn how the facility operates," said Alex Molinaroli, President of Johnson Controls, Inc.

The facility will handle the same type of batteries that are at the company's distribution center in Florence.

This is the second plant Johnson Controls has built in the Pee Dee.

"This second time we came to Florence today is because our experience which says everything about the people the community our employees," said Molinaroli.

"It's a testament, I think, to both the community of Florence to the Pee Dee and and our experience with Johnson Controls," said Florence Mayor Stephen Wukela.

Officials with the Fortune 500 company says they look forward to this next investment in the Pee Dee Region.

The facility is the first of its kind to receive an air permit in the United States in nearly 20 years.


Earlier Story:

Johnson Controls Inc. broke ground on its new recycling center in Florence County Tuesday.

The company says the $150 million investment will create 250 jobs at the plant and 1,000 indirect jobs in the area.

The facility is the first-of-its-kind to receive an air permit in the U.S. in nearly 20 years.

The plant is being built off of Paper Mill Road on 36 acres. It's expected to be ready by 2012.

The company plans to start hiring this summer.

Johnson Controls already has a battery distribution plant in Florence County. The Fortune 500 company manufactures and recycles batteries.