One of Northwest Arkansas' long-time manufacturers announced today that it will be increasing its production capacity at its Rogers plant by 50 percent.
Along with that, Bekaert will gradually add 100 jobs in connection with the expanded production.
"Bekaert is a company with a global presence and could have chosen to expand at any location throughout the world," said Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who attended today's announcement and said the latest investment by Bekaert in Rogers is near $32 million. "The fact that we are here today celebrating this expansion displays Arkansas' continued momentum in job creation. Bekaert's decision to grow in the state is a recognition that Arkansas is prepared to compete and win in job creation."
Attendees at today's ceremony included Rogers Mayor Greg Hines, former Rogers Mayor John Sampier, State Sen. Jane English, State Rep. Jana Della Rosa, State Rep. Jim Dotson, State Highway Commission Chairman Dick Trammell, and Bekaert CEO Matthew Taylor.
The expansion of the Rogers plant, which began operation in 1989, will contribute to the growth of the automotive markets in the U.S.
Employees at the Rogers plant make steel cord for the tire industry, and about 30 percent of the steel cord in U.S. tires is made by Bekaert. Bekaert projects continued strong and growing demand from U.S. tire manufacturers.
"Our expansion plans fit within Bekaert’s strategy to drive growth in this very important sector," Taylor said. "We are committed and dedicated to creating value for our customers and we are expanding the Rogers plant to contribute to the growth of the North American-based tire makers."
Raymond Burns, president and CEO of the Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce, remembers when Bekaert decided to come to Rogers in 1989. Sampier was mayor at the time; Jane English worked for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. They both played a role in convincing Bekaert to locate to Rogers, beating out a city in Oklahoma.
"It's great to see them having success, expanding and creating more jobs for our area. Bekaert has been a long-standing partner and supporter of the Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce as well as all of Northwest Arkansas, and we are happy to be here celebrating with them today."
Bekaert, which is headquartered in Belguin, has 30,000 employees worldwide. Of those, 1,600 employees work at 10 locations in the U.S. and Canada. The company has five U.S. locations, including Van Buren and Rogers.