Plant to bring 72 jobs to Morristown

A metal-making plant will open near Morristown and create 72 jobs over the next five years, state and local officials announced.

McNeilus Steel Inc. plans to build an $18.8 million, 100,000-square-foot factory on Lot 8 of the East Tennessee Progress Center, near Interstate 40 south of Morristown.

It should be open in the first quarter of 2020, according to a news release.

“McNeilus Steel’s decision to invest in Tennessee and create high-skill jobs reinforces our thriving business environment and growing skilled workforce,” Gov. Bill Lee said in the announcement. “I look forward to seeing the positive impact this company will have on the residents of East Tennessee.”

Minnesota-based McNeilus, which employs about 700 nationwide, will make metal parts for area equipment manufacturers, according to the news release.

Officials from Morristown, Jefferson City, Hamblen County, Jefferson County and the Tennessee Valley Authority gathered at the industrial park to announce the news.

“McNeilus Steel’s investment in Morristown underscores the ripple effect of TNECD’s efforts to recruit new industry,” state Economic & Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe said in a news release. “McNeilus Steel will supply Oshkosh Corporation, a manufacturer we welcomed to Jefferson County a year ago. The growth of this type of manufacturing ecosystem is very promising for East Tennessee. Morristown has strong momentum, and with the presence of companies like McNeilus Steel, I’m confident local residents will continue to have quality job opportunities.”

In July 2018, truck-maker Oshkosh Corp. announced it would move into the former John Deere plant in Jefferson City, opening in 2019 and creating more than 300 jobs by 2021. The plant is 15 miles west of the McNeilus site.

“This project is a large result of not only our efforts, but a regional effort to recruit new industry,” Marshall Ramsey, president of the Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce, said via email. “This project is tied directly to Oshkosh in Jefferson County and we appreciate their efforts as well.

“McNeilus Steel is very excited to expand our services to Morristown, Tennessee,” McNeilus Chief Operating Officer Glenn Sylvester said in the news release. “Geographically this is an optimal location to continue to grow our family business. We look forward to getting this facility operationalized and adding quality employees from the region.”

The Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce website lists the site, Lot 8 in the East Tennessee Progress Center, as having 20 relatively flat acres zoned for heavy industry. It was listed at $24,500 per acre. In February, the Morristown City Council unanimously agreed to sell the land at $12,000 per acre, under the code name Project White Bear.

The Morristown Industrial Development Board offered McNeilus a choice of tax abatements, Ramsey said: 25% off real property or 45% off personal property, each lasting for five years.

Source: Knoxville News Sentinel, by Jim Gaines

The East Tennessee Economic Development Agency markets and recruits business for the 15 counties in the greater Knoxville-Oak Ridge region of East Tennessee. Visit


Published April 26, 2019