In North Little Rock, Caterpillar Will Add More Products, Hire 250 People

by Sarah Campbell-Miller  on Thursday, Jul. 5, 2018 1:36 pm   2 min read

Caterpillar Inc. of Peoria, Illinois, is continuing to add new products to its North Little Rock plant, announcing Thursday plans to start making two new paving products there over the next two years and hire 250 more workers.

The plant opened in October 2010 in the former Deluxe Video facility on Faulkner Lake Road. It started out making various lines of motor graders — vehicles used to build and maintain roads, highways, airports and other construction projects. Last year, it added medium wheel loaders to the lineup, moving production from a plant in Aurora, Illinois.

During a press event attended by Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Thursday, the company said the expansion means it will have spent $40 million on the facility from 2017 to 2020.

"Adding new products into the facility gives us lots of opportunity, and I'm most excited about expanding our team to make the machines that help our customers build a better world," said Paul Rivera, the plant's operations manager. 

Caterpillar said it will add to its lines five models of cold planers, which remove asphalt and concrete before resurfacing, and four models of rotary mixers, which pulverize asphalt and mix it with the underlying base to stabilize deteriorated roadways. Production of the planers will begin next year, with the mixers to follow in 2020.

Production of the planers is being moved from a Caterpillar plant in Italy.

"It's your hard work and dedication and success that's driving that initial investment," Rivera, a former factory manager at Caterpillar's Aurora plant, told employees. "It's driving the confidence of the folks at the leadership level at Caterpillar to invest the money that they have and the confidence that they have that we can produce great machines. We've got a bright future here ..."

Hutchinson said Arkansas is sixth in the nation in terms of workforce percentage engaged in manufacturing and that more than 5,000 new manufacturing jobs have been created since he took office in 2015. 

The North Little Rock plant currently employs about 515 people. Over the next six to 12 months, it will look to hire assemblers, welders, mechanics, machinists, fork truck drivers and order pickers on first, second and third shifts. The plant will host a job fair from 8 a.m. to noon on July 21.

Starting wages for the jobs will be between $13.50 and $20 per hour, with the average being $16.50 or $17 per hour, Rivera told Arkansas Busines.

 

 

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