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Work begins on $18M auto plant

Construction has started on Hematite Inc’s U.S. headquarters and $18 million plant, which local leaders expect to employ 100 workers.

In a 106,000-square-foot facility off Lau Parkway in Englewood, the Canadian auto parts manufacturer will serve original equipment manufacturers Toyota, Ford, Fiat Chrysler and build a hoped-for relationship with Honda, said John Pavanel, president of the Canadian company.

RELATEDConstruction to begin June for Canadian manufacturer

Hematite intends to work with the Montgomery County Job Center to recruit its workers, and after construction is finished in about November, production is expected to start in the first quarter next year.

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“We’re going to amass our full workforce team to get you the people you need,” Montgomery County Commissioner Dan Foley assured Pavanel and his associates who were at a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday, including Mike Panayi, president of Pinnacle Capital Partners, who helped finance the deal, and Hematite’s chief operating officer Jacques Nadeau.

Hematite describes itself as a “green” company, born as a material-recycling business able to divert scrap parts and materials from landfills. The company’s focus today is treating vehicle under-bodies, including acoustic components that affect how much noise penetrates a vehicle. The business also makes air- and water-management parts.

“This is a green manufacturing company,” Foley said. “They were green before it was cool.”

Though the Dayton area is no longer home to a full vehicle assembly plant and a cohort of Delphi plants — in the late 1990s, the area at one point had some 15,000 Delphi workers — the Dayton Development Coalition and Montgomery County officials have pursued deals with foreign transplants and domestic companies that make parts, such as Fuyao Glass America, which has 2,000 employees in Moraine.

“The Dayton region likes to make things,” said Julie Sullivan, vice president of development for the coalition. “We always have. And we’re good at it. “

Last month, county commissioners approved $400,000 to Englewood to assist in the plant’s building.. And in the month previous, the Dayton-Montgomery County Port Authority board voted to issue $4.3 million in bonds to help finance the the Hematite site — what Jerry Brunswick, port authority executive director, Tuesday called the “boring” part of the development.

Manufacturing will always be in the Dayton area’s DNA, Brunswick said. “We have a great history in the Miami Valley, but we also have a great future.”

"We welcome Hematite’s decision to choose Ohio for its first U.S. manufacturing facility,” Kristi Tanner, JobsOhio managing director for automotive, said in a statement. “Hematite’s investment will bring 100 jobs to a new factory in Englewood and establish yet another tier 1 auto supplier in the Dayton region.”

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