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Pair of Growing Companies Invest Combined $98M in Mobile County Projects

Thu May 18, 2023 - Southeast Edition #11
Made in Alabama

A rendering of Superior Air Parts’ planned new facility in Creola. (Mobile Chamber rendering)
A rendering of Superior Air Parts’ planned new facility in Creola. (Mobile Chamber rendering)

The Mobile, Ala., area will be the beneficiary of two companies launching growth projects in 2023, bringing a combined $98 million in new capital investment and almost 240 jobs, according to the Mobile Chamber.

The announcement was made May 12 by Made in Alabama, the online news site of the state Department of Commerce (DOC).

The companies headed to the Gulf Coast region of Alabama are:

  • Georgia-based Chart Industries, which plans to invest $73.7 million to open a second production site in Mobile County to increase its manufacturing capacity of cryogenic containers. The new production plant will create 59 jobs.
  • Superior Air Parts, which produces Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-approved replacement parts for piston-engine aircraft, plans to spend $24.2 million to move its manufacturing operation and corporate headquarters from Texas to Creola in Mobile County. Over five years, the company expects to create 180 jobs at the plant.
Chart Industries Opening Plant Near Mobile Bay

As part of its new project, Chart Industries purchased the former Standard Concrete manufacturing facility, found along the Theodore Industrial Canal, adjacent to Mobile Bay.

The cryogenic containers to be manufactured at the new plant will be up to 30 ft. in diameter, 100 to 200 ft. long, and weigh close to a million pounds. This location will allow the company to load the containers, which are too heavy to transport on roadways, directly onto barges.

Chart's expansion project builds on its Alabama presence, which began in 2020 when it acquired the cryogenic and hydrogen trailer business of Worthington Industries, the former operator of the Theodore site.

In March 2021, Chart announced a $2.5 million expansion project, which tripled its employee roster at the Mobile County facility. Currently, it employs 165 people at the plant.

"We are thrilled to see Chart's continued confidence in the Mobile area by expanding their operations in Theodore," Mobile Chamber President and CEO Bradley Byrne explained. "Expansions like this are made possible by support from Partners for Growth investors and Team Mobile."

Chart is a publicly traded company based in Ball Ground, Ga., just outside Atlanta. It was named one of Fortune Magazine's "100 Fastest Growing Companies" in 2020 and has customers on six continents.

"The expansion of Chart Industries is another reflection of the great workforce and thriving business environment that exists in the Mobile area," noted Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson. "We are excited to be a partner in the future success of Chart and are grateful for their continued investment."

Mobile County Commission President Connie Hudson echoed those comments.

"This substantial capital investment and the creation of these new jobs will greatly benefit and further diversify our local economy," she added.

Mobile's Education, Infrastructure Just Right for Superior

Keith Chatten, CEO of Superior Air Parts, said his company considered many factors in its decision and found that the Mobile area offered many advantages.

"The transportation system that is in place and expanding in the Mobile area is very impressive," he noted. "The area has invested heavily in education including high school programs, technical schools — with the recent addition of manufacturing programs at Bishop State — and the extensive growth at the University of South Alabama.

"All of that certainly helps us find the various skill sets needed, such as machinists, operators, test technicians, engineers and various other professionals," Chatten added.

Superior Air's Mobile County facility also will be designed to host research and development, engineering, a test cell, machining and manufacturing. Its operation, including the corporate headquarters, will be located on Radcliff Road in Creola.

The company plans to break ground by the end of this year, according to the Mobile Chamber. Operations for the first phase of the plant are set to begin in 2024.

"As a leading manufacturer of FAA-approved aftermarket parts for piston-engine aircraft, Superior Air Parts will be a strong addition to the growing aviation cluster in the Mobile region," said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama DOC. "Superior's decision to relocate its manufacturing operation and headquarters to Mobile County clearly reflects the company's confidence in the area's workforce."

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