Photo courtesy of Made in Alabama
Polaris New Plant in Alabama to Employ Around 2000

Polaris New Plant in Alabama to Employ Around 2000

Jan. 9, 2015
Polaris said Huntsville, Ala.  was an ideal pick for its 600,000-square-foot facility because of the city’s skilled workforce, a history of technology and innovation, existing utility infrastructure, and local and state support. 

Polaris Industries Inc.  (IW 1000/323) announced on January 9 that it will build a manufacturing facility in Alabama creating between 1,700 and 2,000 jobs. The plant will produce off-road vehicles.

Medina, Minn.-based Polaris will break ground on the Huntsville facility next month, with completion slated for the second quarter of 2016.  At full capacity, the Huntsville facility will employ at least 1,700 people, and Alabama officials say the figure could rise to 2,000 by 2020. the project represents an investment of $127 million.

Polaris said Huntsville, Ala.  was an ideal location for its 600,000-square-foot facility because of the city’s skilled workforce, a history of technology and innovation, existing utility infrastructure, and local and state support. 

“This new facility will complement our already strong and growing North American manufacturing footprint by reducing pressure on our existing facilities and enable each to remain focused on their current product lines as we continue to meet the demand for our innovative, quality products,” said Ken Pucel, a Polaris executive vice president.

The company, which had sales in 2013 of $3.8 billion,  manufactures off-road vehicles, including all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles, and side-by-side vehicles.  It owns the Victory and Indian motorcycle brands, and it is actively advancing the development of electric/hybrid powered vehicles.

“Alabama’s success in advanced manufacturing is a result of the state’s successful Accelerate Alabama plan, and Polaris’ off-road vehicle production strategy fits perfectly within our manufacturing goals,” said Governor Robert Bentley.

Polaris said the Alabama manufacturing facility will feature multiple assembly lines and state-of-the-art technologies. It will support core processes including vehicle assembly, chassis and body painting, welding, fabrication and injection molding.

A  number of agencies teamed with the Commerce Department and the Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County on the Polaris recruitment, known as “Project Axle.” AIDT, a division of the Commerce Department that serves as the state’s job-training agency, will assist the company is assembling and preparing its workforce. The Tennessee Valley Authority assisted in the project, as did the cities of Athens and Decatur, along with several government agencies in Morgan and Limestone counties.

Polaris’ announcement comes almost exactly a year after Remington Outdoor Co., the nation’s oldest firearms manufacturer, unveiled plans to build a $110 million factory in Huntsville that will eventually employ more than 2,000 people.  The city has also seen other expansions recently including a Boeing technology research center with 350 jobs announced in 2013. Huntsville, home to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and Redstone Arsenal, also boasts many advanced manufacturing companies, including Toyota, which has produced more than 3 million engines at its plant in the city.

About the Author

Adrienne Selko | Senior Editor

Focus: Workforce, Talent 

Follow Me on Twitter: @ASelkoIW

Bio: Adrienne Selko has written about many topics over the 17 years she has been with the publication and currently focuses on workforce development strategies. Previously Adrienne was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck? which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics and EHS Today

Editorial mission statement: Manufacturing is the enviable position of creating products, processes and policies that solve the world’s problems. When the industry stepped up to manufacture what was necessary to combat the pandemic, it revealed its true nature. My goal is to showcase the sector’s ability to address a broad range of workforce issues including technology, training, diversity & inclusion, with a goal of enticing future generations to join this amazing sector.

Why I find manufacturing interesting: On my first day working for a company that made medical equipment such as MRIs, I toured the plant floor. On every wall was a photo of a person, mostly children. I asked my supervisor why this was the case and he said that the work we do at this company has saved these people’s lives. “We never forget how important our work is and everyone’s contribution to that.” From that moment on I was hooked on manufacturing.

I have talked with many people in this field who have transformed their own career development to assist others. For example, companies are hiring those with disabilities, those previously incarcerated and other talent pools that have been underutilized. I have talked with leaders who have brought out the best in their workforce, as well as employees doing their best work while doing good for the world. 

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