Jemison Demsey Metals Expands

December 18, 2007

Business adds new precision equipment at Sumter location

Item Staff Writer

Jemison Demsey Metals announced on Thursday an expansion of its 80,000-square-foot Sumter facility, which amounts to an investment of roughly $4 million.

Jemison Demsey is a privately held Birmingham, Ala.-based company with facilities in Gadsen, Ala., and Cleveland, Ohio, whose flat-rolled steel products end up as auto parts, appliances and steel racking systems.

Brant Watts, vice president of finance, said Friday the company has been here since 2001, when they acquired Heidtman Steel’s Live Oak Industrial Park facility.

“We’re pretty pumped up about the area,” he said. “It’s been a good investment.”

The expansion’s centerpiece is a Red Bud multiplanking line, and the growth will allow for additional facility space. Chief Executive Officer Pete Heinke said the Red Bud is a precision piece of equipment that cuts metal sheets to specific dimensions. Steel comes to them “coiled up,” he said.

“Equipment like that Red Bud will unwind it, flatten it and cut it to precision sizes,” he said, noting the Gadsen, Ala., facility expanded last year, signifying the company’s growth mode.

Sumter Development Board President and CEO Jay Schwedler said company representatives have pondered an expansion since June.

“It was a competitive project that could have gone to any of their other facilities, and I think it speaks volumes to the confidence they have in their associates, the community and the opportunities for further growth at this facility. We continue to discuss additional longer-term investment with the JD team and look forward to assisting them in growing their Sumter operation,” he said.

Watts said Jemison Demsey employs about 150 people, and Schwedler said the company plans to add new associates during the course of the next year.

“This is a great project for Sumter — a win for the company — and it certainly increases our resources and strengthens our assets as the community develops a growing metal working and steel fabrication cluster,” Schwedler said.

Watts said the expansion increases the value of the Sumter facility to the company and its customers.

“It’s always a challenge when your company grows, but this will allow us to meet those growth challenges,” he said.

Development Board Chairman Greg Thompson said the expansion shows Sumter continues to be competitive in the manufacturing realm.

“This is the kind of expansion that adds substance to the community,” he said. “It adds to the tax base, it creates jobs for people, and it strengthens Jemison Demsey’s ability to serve its customers.”

Sumter County Council Chairwoman Vivian Fleming-McGhaney said manufacturing is alive and well in the Sumter community, and the investment and growth are greatly appreciated.