Colgate breaks ground for new facility
Taking part in groundbreaking ceremony at Colgate-Palmolive in Morristown Friday morning were, from left, W. Allen Borden, assistant commissioner of business development for the State of Tennessee; Bill Brittain, Hamblen County mayor; Cathy Zaleha, director NA supply chain, oral care; Mike Corbo, Colgate-Palmolive Global Supply Chain vice president; R. Jack Fishman, chairman of the Morristown Industrial Development Board; Pete Barile, Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce chair-elect; and Tony Cox, Morristown City administrator.
Colgate-Palmolive broke ground Friday morning on a new $25 million manufacturing plant adjacent to its existing facility. The building and infrastructure improvements will create 75 new jobs in Hamblen County.
Plant Manager Fernando Gyorfy said the groundbreaking is the “kickoff of the next phase that will bring more jobs and more Colgate smiles to Morristown.”
He said this expansion would have been impossible without the support the corporation received from Morristown, Hamblen County, Tennessee, the Morristown Industrial Development Board and the employees at the local plant.
“Because no project of this magnitude is ever easy,” he said.
Morristown Mayor Danny Thomas thanked Colgate for its commitment to the city of Morristown and called the company a “good corporate citizen.”
Marshall Ramsey, president of the Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce said it means a lot to the area that Colgate-Palmolive “is willing to invest in the workforce,” of the local area.
Hamblen County Mayor Bill Brittain echoed the sentiment.
“I tell everybody just how proud we are of Colgate-Palmolive,” Brittain said. “And it’s a proud moment we’re experiencing now. It’s not every day that we get to celebrate an expansion.”
The county mayor explained that the Morristown plant makes all of the Colgate Total toothpaste in the United States, something he brags about.
He thanked Colgate-Palmolive for its decision to expand here, saying the expansion was “another indication that a working team makes Morristown and Hamblen County a better place to live, to work and to raise a family.”
W. Allen Borden, assistant commissioner of Business Development for Tennessee, thanked Colgate-Palmolive officials for making the decision to expand at the Morristown facility.
“We’re very excited about that,” he said.
Borden said while the state was happy about the company’s 2008 plan to build a facility in Morristown, “to us, this is an ever greater day because it says you invested here in 2008 and it’s been successful.”
Saying that the success of Tennessee business depends on business, Borden added, “we still make things here in Tennessee and we’ve been known for making world-class products.
“We make world-class cars, world-class guitars and even a world-class whiskey. And we also make world-class toothpaste,” he said. “On behalf of Gov. Haslam, thank you for this investment.”
R. Jack Fishman, chair of the Morristown Industrial Development Board, thanked the plant’s local employees.
“What makes this possible are you people out there in blue shirts,” Fishman said, addressing the plant employees. “We know you try, you work hard and you do a fantastic job.”
Fishman continued that Colgate-Palmolive worldwide has three fundamental values that make the company a good fit for Morristown and Hamblen County: caring, global teamwork and continuous improvement.
“They’re a part of what Colgate does,” he said, calling them “a company that cares.”
Mike Corbo, Colgate-Palmolive Global Supply Chain vice president, said one of the joys of his job is watching the company grow.
When the company made the decision to locate in Morristown, the team of city, county and state agencies all pulled together.
“It was very impressive,” Corbo said. “You do what you said you would do. Colgate takes that very seriously. I’m excited with the plant we have here and that led to the decision to expand.”
Construction on the new stand-along facility will begin this year, with occupancy slated for early 2015 and full employment by late 2015. The facility will make products sold to dental professionals through the company’s Colgate Oral Pharmaceuticals business.
The majority of the new jobs will be dedicated to general light manufacturing positions, including line operators, mechanical and electrical and warehouse.
Corbo said when Colgate moves into a new location, “we try to be a part of the team. We want to make sure we’re part of the fabric of the community.”
He also thanked plant employees for their contribution to Colgate’s success in Morristown.
“This is not an easy job,” he said. “There are long hours, commitment to learning and improving yourself. We want to thank you for helping Colgate-Palmolive to grow here.”
-By Denise Williams, Tribune Staff Writer