FLINT, MI — American SpiralWeld that’s bringing at least 50 jobs and supplying water transmission welded pipe for the Karegnondi Water Authority pipeline plans to start manufacturing on the edge of the old Buick City site next week.
Patrick Hook, vice president of operations for American Spiral Weld Pipe, said the company is almost ready to begin manufacturing 60- and 66-inch diameter welded pipe with steel expected to be brought into the new factory Wednesday, Dec. 10.
“It’s been pretty smooth. The city has been cooperative and tried to expedite things,” Hook said as workers installed fixtures inside offices and assembled massive machinery inside the 183,000-square-foot plant.
Two-thirds of employees that will ultimately be needed at American have been hired, including the management team for the plant, which is also serving as a landing spot for spiral weld pipe and ductile pipe that will be used for the KWA project.
KWA is building a new pipeline to transfer Lake Huron water here for Flint and Genesee County.
Although most positions at the $20 million American plant have been filled, Hook said candidates can still apply through http://www.mitalent.org/ or Genesee/Shiawassee Michigan Works!.
Hourly positions pay $17-$22 an hour, company officials have said.
“The quality of the workforce here is a positive for the area,” Hook said. “There are people who have worked in heavy manufacturing anxious to find a good job with good benefits.”
Plant Manager Tom Andersen has said workers can expect American will operate according to its core principles — partnership, personal accountability and performance — from the first day the Flint plant opens.
Mayor Dayne Walling called the American plant “a major victory for our community to have manufacturing return to the former Buick City corridor.”
Hook said he’s received emails and letters from former General Motors employees who worked at Buick City as well as their families since they’ve heard manufacturing was returning here.
The site was abandoned by GM during its bankruptcy and is being held and marketed for sale by the Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response Trust, which was established by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to sell off unwanted GM assets.
“People say, my father or grandfather worked at Buick City. Maybe this is the seed to make something start again,” Hook said.
American SpiralWeld is a subsidiary of American Cast Iron, which was founded in Birmingham, Ala., in 1905. The company manufactures ductile iron pipe, spiral-welded pipe, fire hydrants and valves for the waterworks industry, and electric-resistance-welded pipe for the oil and gas industry.
Officials have said the new plant in Flint will give SpiralWeld a bigger potential sales footprint and officials are working to secure contracts in the region that will be supplied by Flint — about 500 square miles.