Georgia’s Jet Set

Airplane engines land a starring role even as the state’s EV ecosystem keeps expanding.

Pratt & Whitney flies to France to announce that Columbus landed a big aircraft engine expansion, but nothing is growing faster in the Peach State than the branches of the electric vehicle supply chain. 

Jet Engines Roar in Columbus 

Pratt & Whitney is spending $206 million to upgrade and expand its Columbus facility for overhauling and maintaining commercial and military aircraft engines. 

Announced June 20 at the Paris Air Show, the project will add about 400 jobs by 2028 to the 2,000 the RTX subsidiary now has in Muskogee County. Pratt & Whitney operates both the expanding Columbus Engine Center, which overhauls the GTF engines used in Embraer and Airbus jets, and Columbus Forge, which manufactures parts for its engines, including those that power Lockheed Martin’s F-35 planes, partially built in Marietta. 

Pratt & Whitney President Shane Eddy called the growth of a nearly 40-year-old facility “an incredible opportunity to expand our workforce and our company’s capabilities in Columbus.” The 81,000-square-foot expansion will enable the Columbus Engine Center to overhaul 400 engines per year. 

EVs Keep Koreans Coming 

Automotive parts maker NVH Korea is building a manufacturing plant in Locust Grove, a $72 million investment projected to produce 160 jobs. 

Announced June 22 and expected to open within a year, the facility will make components to protect, connect, and sense the performance of battery cells in electric vehicles. It’s the first EV battery plant for the South Korean company, which specializes in parts to control car noise, vibration, and heat. NVH has produced vehicle floor mats, cargo mats, and cargo trays in Columbus for more than a decade. 

Although closer to Rivian’s planned $5 billion electric truck manufacturing site near Social Circle, the Henry County plant is focusing on the Hyundai Motor Group Metaplant America near Savannah and the Kia plant in West Point as customers. 

“NVH’s investment will increase our manufacturing jobs base and make us part of Georgia’s electric vehicle ecosystem,” Locust Grove Mayor Robert Price says. That EV ecosystem has produced announcements of more than $22.7 billion in investments and 28,400 jobs since 2020. 

About 100 miles from Locust Grove in Dublin, Georgia, South Korea’s Woory Industrial plans to start making electrical heaters, control units, and actuators for electric and gasoline-powered vehicles by November. The $18 million facility is expected to bring 130 jobs to Laurens County. “Over the past 10 years, Woory has successfully grown into a specialized EV component company through continuous innovation,” CEO Jungwoo Kim said in the June 7 announcement. “Georgia will be a good opportunity for Woory to take another step forward.” 

Home on the Assembly Line 

While Bryan County will have its Metaplant America producing EVs by early 2025, Ware County expects its megaplant to be manufacturing homes for EV drivers by the end of the same year. 

Finnish company ADMARES has chosen Waycross, about 100 miles southwest of Hyundai’s new home in Ellabell, for a $750 million, 2.5-million-square-foot plant to construct houses, apartments, and other buildings. ADMARES cited proximity to the port of Brunswick as a key factor in the May 31 announcement of its first mass production factory. 

Using robots to produce the pieces, a staff of more than 1,400 humans to assemble them, and proprietary technology featuring a digital twin of each unit to manage the process, ADMARES says it could roll out 5,000 to 6,000 made-to-order smart houses per year. The company has partners such as Siemens and Porsche for a process it says will cut manufacturing waste by 80 percent compared with traditional home building. 

NCR Moves Toward Split 

On June 26, Atlanta-based NCR took an important procedural step toward its planned division into two companies when it filed its Form 10 registration form with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. 

Over more than 250 pages of filings, the fintech giant with roots in 19th century cash registers describes the ATM company it plans to spin off by issuing stock to its shareholders before the end of 2023.  

The preliminary form lacks details such as the name and stock symbol. But in addition to showing profitable growth, the document lists three top executives designated to join CEO-to-be Tim Oliver at the spinoff: Stuart Mackinnon, chief operating officer; Daniel Antilley, chief security officer; and Patricia Watson, chief information and technology officer. 

NCR still holds out the possibility of selling itself instead of splitting.  

Bits, Bytes, and Bonds 

  • Homegrown, a hyperlocal Atlanta startup that finances small-business expansions, has named hometown entrepreneur Michael Davis as its first CEO. The company was spawned by Atlanta incubator Neighborhood Studios with the backing of Atlanta venture capital firm Overline
  • Jamestown has topped out a four-story Ponce City Market office building using mass timber construction. The compressed-wood panels for the building were manufactured from yellow pine grown in Georgia and processed by Georgia-Pacific in Albany. 
  • Swiss robotics maker ABB has opened an Alpharetta facility to work with U.S. packaging and logistics companies on using autonomous robots for operations such as warehouse work. ABB builds the robots in Michigan. 
  • Georgia has maintained its AAA rating from the three main credit rating agencies. It’s one of 10 states that have the top rating for general-obligation bonds. Georgia’s annual sale of such bonds, this time to finance $671 million in capital projects, was June 27.