That was one of the messages that W. Terry Strange, Clarksville Site Manager for Hemlock Semiconductor, gave to local government and business leaders Tuesday morning at the Career Solutions Center.
“There’s a lot of expectations for companies coming,” Strange said. “We don’t firmly know of any company that’s stated their coming. Some customers have stated they’d like to be here.”
Hemlock is looking for local businesses to supply them with a variety of products and services, including catering, although some materials and services will have to come from elsewhere, Strange said.
During the first phase of operations, about 500 people will be hired for actual work in the Hemlock plant, and most of that hiring will begin next year, said Strange, who then said that the second phase will double that workforce, although he added that the third and fourth phases are too far out for an accurate estimate to be made.
Strange said that they are looking for a variety of professionals, including chemical, electrical and mechanical engineers, as well as manufacturing operators and technicians and accountants.
“People coming out of [the Austin Peay State University program] will be given strong consideration, but it’s one of four steps they have to go through in order to get a job,” Strange said.
Joining Strange was Hemlock Community Relations Manager Liana M. Wallace, who gave a presentation on Hemlock and what it does. She gave a variety of reasons for Hemlock choosing the Clarksville area, including a large available workforce in both Kentucky and Tennessee and an area similar to Hemlock, Mich.
Strange also talked about the site being built on is a Tennessee Valley Authority-certified megasite. She also stated that the Clarksville site will produce materials for solar panels, adding that although the area is cloudier than other parts of the country, there is solar potential here.
Hemlock announced in late 2008 that it was opening a plant in Clarksville, and Strange said it will be ready for business by the end of 2012.
“There are at least 600 people on site on any given day, lots of different disciplines,” said Strange. “Most of the work being done today is around putting in the caissons … there is some other steel work going on.”
Strange said the construction will go on until the middle of 2012, and added that by the end of this year, there will be about 1,000 people working on the site, and that about 3 – 4,000 people will have worked on the site by the time construction is finished.
All of the available jobs will be posted on the Hemlock website at www.hscpoly.com, or on www.dowcorning.com.