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$3.5 million plant opening in Paragould; 67 new jobs coming


    An expansion of a railcar plant in Paragould will bring dozens of new jobs to the town.  The Arkansas Economic Development Commission joined Governor Asa Hutchinson and local officials for the $3.5 million dollar announcement.  67 new jobs with an average salary of $45,000 were announced at the site of the American Railcar Industries-Corbitt site on Jones Road.  Mike Preston is Executive Director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. 

“There is a spec building in Paragould that will be used by ARI and this will shift some jobs from Missouri to Paragould,” stated Preston.

He says the announcement is not just good for northeast Arkansas, but for the state as well.

“This shows the momentum that we have in the state right now.  We have 3.8 percent unemployment in the state, we led the country last quarter in GDP growth and that is good news,” said Preston.  He also praised the workforce that are available to step into those jobs. 

American Railcar Industries employs about one-thousand people between Paragould and Marmaduke.  

Here is a complete press release from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission:

Corbitt Manufacturing, a component manufacturing operation within American Railcar Industries, Inc. (ARI), today announced the company is starting up a new manufacturing facility in Paragould, Arkansas. Governor Asa Hutchinson joined local and company leaders at the announcement today in Paragould. As part of this new location, the company plans to invest approximately $3.5 million and create up to 60 new jobs. Production at the new facility is anticipated to start in August 2016.

Jeff Hollister, president and CEO of ARI, commented, “The proximity of the new facility to our railcar manufacturing plants and the work ethic of people in Northeast Arkansas were two of the factors in choosing to start up a new facility in Paragould. We are excited with the possibilities the Corbitt operations will likely bring to the city of Paragould as we expand our strong workforce and continue to support the success of our business. The capital invested in this new facility will help us to meet current and anticipated demand for key components that go on the railcars that ARI produces, at both our Paragould and Marmaduke, Arkansas railcar assembly plants.  I would also like to thank the City of Paragould, the Chamber and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission for their continued help and support through the years.”

“We are pleased to welcome ARI’s Corbitt manufacturing operations to Arkansas,” said Governor Hutchinson. “Corbitt is a key part of the company, ARI, who has a long history in Arkansas and has undergone several expansions over the years that have resulted in high-paying jobs in Northeast Arkansas. I have no doubt that Northeast Arkansas’ talented workforce will allow Corbitt and ARI to continue to grow and thrive here for many years.”

ARI’s history in Paragould dates to 1995 when the company opened a freight railcar assembly factory in the town, the first major railcar assembly plant in ARI’s manufacturing network. ARI opened a second assembly plant in Marmaduke in 1999.  Currently, there are approximately 1,000 employees in the two Arkansas facilities.

“It is always a benefit to our city for new jobs to be created,” said Paragould Mayor Mike Gaskill. “We are certainly excited about ARI’s Corbitt manufacturing operations locating here in Paragould.  Their relationship with one of our top employers, ARI, is a bonus to our community.  Our goal is to continue to recruit job opportunities to ensure the success of our citizens.”

Johnathan Reaves is the News Director for KASU Public Radio. As part of an Air Force Family, he moved to Arkansas from Minot, North Dakota in 1986. He was first bitten by the radio bug after he graduated from Gosnell High School in 1992. While working on his undergraduate degree, he worked at KOSE, a small 1,000 watt AM commercial station in Osceola, Arkansas. Upon graduation from Arkansas State University in 1996 with a degree in Radio-Television Broadcast News, he decided that he wanted to stay in radio news. He moved to Stuttgart, Arkansas and worked for East Arkansas Broadcasters as news director and was there for 16 years.