FMH Conveyors $12.5 million expansion nearly complete in Jonesboro

by George Jared ([email protected]) 684 views 

FMH Conveyors is nearly finished with its expanded 195,000-square-foot facility at the corner of Highland Drive and Barnhill Road in Jonesboro. The $12.5 million project should be completed before the end of the year, FMH President Kurt Huelsman told Talk Business & Politics.

When it’s finished, the company will add 110 new workers, bringing their total employment to over 200.

“Local officials in Jonesboro are telling us our building is being built the fastest they’ve ever seen … we’re working at light speed,” he said.

The company is in the process of expanding its management team, and will begin to hire machinists, welders, assembly line workers, and others in the coming months. FMH plans to consolidate its Suwanee, Ga., and Hampton, Va., plants into the Jonesboro facility. Those plants will remain in operation through the first quarter of 2017, Huelsman said. Ultimately, the entire operation will be in Northeast Arkansas.

FMH officials considered expansions at all three sites, but the Jonesboro plant was the most attractive option, he said. The local workforce was deemed to be a good fit with the company’s future plans. Jonesboro’s strategic position in the center of the country, and its closeness to major trade centers such as Memphis, were also a major factor.

The incentive package offered by the Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce and the state tipped the scale in Jonesboro’s favor, he said. FMH received $1 million from the Governor’s Quick Action Fund to pay for infrastructure improvements and buy equipment. The chamber gave the company $50,000 for infrastructure and site improvements.

FMH may also qualify for other financial incentive programs offered by the state. One program, called Create Rebate, allows for a cash rebate equal to 3.9% of payroll for the new jobs for 10 years; while the second program, the tax back program, will give state and local sales tax refunds on building materials, taxable machinery and other equipment, Scott Hardin, a spokesman with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission said previously.

The conveyor market has been strong in 2016, and the expansion is coming at the right time, Huelsman said. The company president didn’t offer specifics as far as how much their market share has increased or decreased. New hire employees will be paid based on market values and their credentials, but no other information about pay scales was released.

Industrial jobs have fled the country for almost a generation now. Huelsman said he is proud his company has been able to develop a workforce in the U.S.

“We strongly believe in the workforce in Jonesboro,” he said. “We believe in and are proud of the quality of our products.”