Huntsville-based Brown Precision Inc. plans to invest $7 million to open a manufacturing facility in southwest Alabama’s rapidly expanding aerospace corridor, officials said this morning.

Brown Precision’s facility in Atmore’s Rivercane Industrial Park will create more than 100 jobs, said Mayor Jim Staff, who welcomed the company at a joint meeting of the City Council and the Atmore Industrial Development Board.

The family owned company, founded in 1964, performs precision machining for the aerospace and medical industries. It manufactures complex components ranging from aircraft and helicopter parts to artificial human joints. Clients include GE Aviation, GKN Aerospace, Bell, PPG Aerospace and Smith & Nephew.

Atmore is strategically located in a growing aerospace corridor in the state. (contributed)

Atmore is strategically located in a growing aerospace corridor in the state. (contributed)

“We think the Atmore area is a great fit for what we do at Brown Precision Inc., and we look forward to being part of the community,” said Dan Brown, the co-CEO and chief operating officer. “We believe southwest Alabama and the Coastal Gateway region is positioned extremely well as a point of growth for the aerospace industry, and we wanted to be on the leading edge of that.

“We look forward to putting down roots that will hold for many years to come.”

Co-CEO and Chief Financial Officer Greg Brown will move to the Atmore area to oversee the facility.

“Brown Precision Inc. is excited to be part of the growing aerospace market in southwest Alabama, and for the partnerships we’ve already formed in the area,” he said.

‘Aerospace cluster’

The Atmore facility is expected to eventually employ more than 100 workers in jobs involving computer numerical control-based manufacturing, custom fabrication and component coating. The company expects to make an initial investment of approximately $7 million in the facility, with expansions possible.

“Aerospace is Alabama’s second-fastest-growing industry sector and a key target in my Accelerate Alabama economic development strategy,” Gov. Robert Bentley said. “I’m committed to helping companies like Brown Precision expand in Alabama and strengthen their aerospace business.

“Rural communities are important to me, and I am honored to know the hardworking men and women in Atmore will soon have an opportunity to compete for more than 100 skilled, well-paying jobs.”

Aircraft components arrive at the Airbus assembly facility at Mobile Aeroplex. (Image: Mobile Aeroplex)

Aircraft components arrive at the Airbus assembly facility at Mobile Aeroplex. (Image: Mobile Aeroplex)

Southwest Alabama’s aerospace sector has been on the rise since Airbus decided to place its first U.S. aircraft production center in Mobile. The $600 million factory is producing A320-family passenger jets and acting as a magnet for other companies.

“Brown Precision is a great addition to southwest Alabama’s growing aerospace cluster, which is poised to become a key region in this global industry over the next decade,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “Brown Precision counts many of the industry’s biggest names as clients, so its expansion to Atmore says a lot about the region’s potential.”

Project partners

Brown Precision will be the first industrial tenant in Rivercane Industrial Park, located at the intersection of Interstate 65 and Alabama 21. An access road will be built in coming months, connecting with the state highway in front of Jefferson Davis Community College.

The Rivercane Industrial Park has landed Brown Precision and could be a key location for future companies. (contributed)

The Rivercane Industrial Park has landed Brown Precision and could be a key location for future companies. (contributed)

To develop the park, the city received funding commitments from the Alabama Department of Transportation, the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs and the Delta Regional Authority.

The Alabama Department of Commerce and AIDT, the state workforce development agency, lent support to the Brown Precision project, as did local agencies, businesses and the Poarch Band of Creek Indians and Creek Indian Enterprises.

“We believe our region is going to benefit greatly over the years from the presence of Airbus and the expansion of the aerospace industry in general,” said John Johnson, executive director of the Coastal Gateway Economic Development Alliance, which acted as project manager.

“Adding Brown Precision Inc. to existing local aerospace companies, such as Muskogee Technology, and connecting with our local community colleges and training programs, serves notice that the Coastal Gateway region is not only ready to expand our aerospace sector, but has also proven capable of doing so,” Johnson added.

Positioned for growth

Staff called it “an important day” for his community.

“Atmore now has more than 200 acres of prime industrial park property along the interstate that will have an access road, utilities and a community college offering technical training programs literally across the street,” the Atmore mayor said. “I can’t think of a better place in Alabama to be, and I can’t think of a better company than Brown Precision Inc. to bring to Atmore.”