Johnson Controls on January 18 broke ground on a fully integrated battery recycling facility in Florence, S.C. The Florence Recycling Center, slated for completion during 2012 and to be operated by Johnson Controls' Power Solutions business, represents a capital investment of more than $150 million and will create an estimated 250 new jobs and approximately 1,000 indirect jobs in the area. The facility is the first facility of its kind to receive an air permit in the United States in nearly 20 years.
The groundbreaking was led by Alex A. Molinaroli, president of Johnson Controls Power Solutions, with more than 150 area leaders and community members in attendance. South Carolina State Senators Hugh Leatherman and Yancey McGill were in attendance, as well as Florence Mayor Steve Wukela.
"I'd like to thank the leaders from the Florence area and throughout South Carolina for their support and collaboration through this process, including the Florence County Economic Development Association, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Senators Hugh Leatherman and Yancey McGill, and many others," said Molinaroli. "They have been instrumental in helping us to achieve today's milestone to be able to break ground on this important facility."
"The collaboration between the Florence community, organizations and business has been vital to the success of this facility," said Allen Martin, vice president and general manager for Johnson Controls Power Solutions Americas. "Today is particularly rewarding for everyone who has been involved in the process."
A number of area leaders spoke during the event, highlighting Johnson Controls' leadership and the importance of the Florence Recycling Facility to the local community and the state of South Carolina.
"Johnson Controls continues to be a state leader in job growth and a committed community partner concerned about the environment," said Leatherman. "I'm proud to have been closely involved in making the Florence Recycling Center a reality and look forward to the future of the facility and our community."
"Today's event is a culmination of Johnson Controls' commitment to the Florence community and support of economic growth for the region," said McGill.
"Johnson Controls continues to be a great corporate citizen, particularly through the extensive public process it took in getting this facility off the ground," said Mayor Wukela, mayor of Florence.
"The collaborative approach Johnson Controls took in working with us really illustrated its commitment to the region and the environment," added Nancy Cave, North Coast office director for the Coastal Conservation League (CCL).
As part of the groundbreaking, Johnson Controls introduced the facility's plant manager, Steven Ewart, who has been with the company since 1999. Prior to joining Johnson Controls, he served for 12 years as an officer for the U.S. Army Armor Corps. Ewart and his family are relocating to Florence from Fort Wayne, Ind., where he was plant manager at a battery distribution center.
The facility will be located directly off of US-76, on Paper Mill Road. Johnson Controls plans to develop 36 acres of the site for its new facility and parking, with the remaining acreage undeveloped. Portions of this undeveloped acreage will be permanently protected through a conservation easement.