In 1994 the Marshall County Economic Development Council was organized and incorporated. Later that year, funding was established by legislative act. The board, headed by Mike Alred, began the arduous task of making a viable organization and beginning work. In 1995, the first staff members were hired and hit the ground running being involved in many new and exciting projects.
Between 1995 and 1998, over 4,000 new jobs were announced in Marshall County from new companies and existing companies that expanded. The MCEDC was involved in many of those projects. New companies like Hercules Rubber and AMI Automotive made Marshall County their new home. In 1999, after the announcement that Honda Motor Company would build a facility in Lincoln, Alabama, the MCEDC began a major effort to concentrate on Automotive Suppliers. Mercedes, and now Honda were going to be major drivers in Alabama’s emergence as a player in the automotive industry and Marshall County wanted to be a part of that.
Marshall County would get that break in May of 2000 when TSTECH North America announced they would purchase and renovate the former Lee Manufacturing building in Boaz and make automotive seating for Honda. TSTECH Alabama would be not only the first Tier 1 OEM Automotive Supplier in Marshall County, it would also be its first Japanese company. TSTECH Alabama started operations in 2001 with about 200 associates. It would soon grow to over 750 where it remains today.
As the MCEDC grew and began to take shape, the organization began to fine tune its approach to economic development. Setbacks are inevitable and for every success there were many failures along the way. Companies come and go, but a community has to prepare for that and be ready to spring into action to bring new companies to replace them. The Lee building was only available for TSTECH to purchase because three years before Lee had closed its doors and laid off 500 workers. Hercules and AMI which were recruited by the MCEDC, were both closed by 2003. It is part of the cycle of economic development.
Next: MCEDC continues its mission to bring jobs and economic prosperity to Marshall County.