Protomet hiring as $30 million Loudon County plant opens

Protomet Corp. is fulfilling its promise of a year ago, showing off its new $30 million Loudon County facility.

The 244,000-square-foot factory is expected to employ 200 within the next three or four years.

“We’ve got 45 now,” said Jeff Bohanan, Protomet founder and CEO.

Five or six jobs are open now; the company is always taking applications, and Bohanan interviews two or three candidates each week, he said.

“It’s a constant hiring process,” Bohanan said. Job details are available at

Protomet helps its corporate customers make their products more simply and less expensively. It also provides precision manufacturing and finishing for customers in the marine, automotive, homeland security, industrial and power markets. In recent years the company began making its own high-end brands under the name PTM Edge Watersports.

Bohanan founded Protomet in 1997 after working at the Y-12 National Security Complex for 12 years. The company grew quickly and moved into Oak Ridge’s Bethel Valley Industrial Park. It has grown several times on that site, including a $10 million expansion four years ago, according to a news release. The Oak Ridge facility now employs more than 100.

The company announced in January 2016 it would add at least 100,000 square feet of factory space, and up to 200 new jobs over five years. To that end, the company bought nearly 20 acres of adjacent land, but decided that wouldn’t work for its desired expansion.

Bohanan looked at other sites in Tennessee and other states. That raised concerns Protomet might leave this area altogether, but Bohanan settled in June 2017 on the Maremont Exhaust Products site in Loudon County. Empty since 2013, the former muffler factory covers 527,000 square feet. Protomet is occupying less than half of that, with the rest rented out as storage.

The facility includes engineering and administrative offices, manufacturing and finishing operations, the news release said. Bohanan said much of the plant mirrors the Oak Ridge factory’s capability, but with greater capacity. The Loudon plant adds finishing technology, including powder coating, which Protomet lacked in Oak Ridge, he said.

Bohanan said in 2018 the state would contribute $1.5 million to reimburse some renovation costs. Loudon County is giving the company a 10-year tax break.

Source: Knoxville News Sentinel, By Jim Gaines

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Published April 18, 2019