Nordex Breaks Ground in Jonesboro, Plans to Hire 700

Nordex USA Inc. of Chicago broke ground Friday morning on a $100 million plant in Jonesboro where some of the world's largest wind turbines will be manufactured.

At the ceremony, managers gave details of their previously announced plan to hire 700 people in the next five years and to producing up to 300 wind turbines a year by 2014.

"We are positioning ourselves for the market surge around the corner," Ralf Sigrist, president and CEO of Nordex USA, said in a news release. "We are absolutely confident that the U.S. wind market will be the biggest in the world. 'Made-in-Arkansas' is at the core of our strategy to win."

The first phase of construction began in late July at the 187-acre site in Craighead Technology Park, and production is scheduled to begin in mid-2010.

Nordex currently employs five people in Jonesboro, led by Joe Brenner, vice president of production. The company expects to begin recruiting employees in January and to have close to 100 people on the payroll by the end of 2010.

The Jonesboro plant will manufacturer Nordex's 2.5 megawatt N90 and N100 models. A $40 million facility will produce nacelles, the tubular towers that support the windmills, in 115,000 SF of production space, and it will also include a 10,000-SF "training academy" and 35,000 SF of office space. At full capacity, the nacelle plant should employ 240, according to the Nordex release.

A $60 million rotor blade plan is expected to begin production in late 2012.

Job openings will be posted on the company's Web site. Nordex has contracted with the construction firm, H&M Co. Inc. of Jackson, Tenn., which is using 250-300 workers to build the plant.