Multi-million dollar facility brings jobs to the Wiregrass

(WTVY News 4)
Published: Jun. 26, 2019 at 6:36 PM CDT
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Millions of dollars are pouring into Coffee County - along with jobs. A food and beverage distribution company is expanding and with that comes new initiatives in education.

Brent Simon is steering his life in a new direction. Soon, he will have his commercial truck driver's license and for him that's... "The opportunity to afford a better life and travel," said Simon.

Truckers are key to companies like Ben E. Keith, the Texas-based food distribution company, expanding in Coffee County - building a $100 million center and making it the southeast headquarters -

The new facility will be on more than a 100-acre field starting at Highway 84 extending to the New Brocton water tower. It will deliver 80 jobs.

"These are going to be high demand good wage jobs that will benefit citizens of the Wiregrass," said Jonathan Tullos, Wiregrass Economic Development Corporation Director.

Enterprise State Community College already has a CDL program and with Ben E. Keith's expansion, will create a new program 'mechatronics' this fall.

"It's completely based on industry need. This is what's lacking - employees that can work in the manufacturing industry and not the old manufacturing but the new type of manufacturing. We need people who can do robotics, automation, and programming," said Aubri Hanson, ESCC's Mechatronics Instructor.

And for people like Brent Simon; "I hope the job opportunities continue to come in and grow," said Simon.

Ben E. Keith will be hiring truck drivers, maintenance workers, warehouse employees, salesmen, and office staff. The company also has more than 230 employees at its Elba manufacturing plant, called Kelley foods which it also plans to expand.

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