The River Region's Wave of the Future!
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Chuck DiLaura, president of Neptune Technology Group Inc., talks Wednesday about the company, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary in Tallassee. / AMANDA SOWARDS/ADVERTISER
Nearly 30 years before Hyundai came to Montgomery, one of the state’s first major manufacturing relocations landed in Tallassee.
Neptune Technology Group Inc., a utility systems and metering company, moved there from New York in 1972 with a $3.72 million investment.
Its workers were trained by a division of the state Department of Education that eventually would become Alabama Industrial Development Training, and the groundwork was laid for the next three decades of industrial recruitment and development.
Forty years later, the state’s manufacturing industry is booming. And Neptune is still there.
“When Hyundai came into town, I think we lost two people. We have very little turnover,” Neptune president Chuck DiLaura said. “We’ve never felt threatened as new business comes in because it’s a very nice environment.”
DiLaura has been with Neptune 36 years, and he said he’s only No. 30 in seniority with the company.
Some of the current workers were there when the plant opened. A lot more have come aboard through the years, including a burst when the city’s textile plant closed in 2004.
“When the mill closed, there were 300 employees there,” Tallassee mayor George McCain said. “A lot of those employees came over here to work for Neptune.
“We have 500 employees here in this facility, and 220 of them live in Tallassee, which means their kids are in (city schools) and all of that sort of thing. But the 280 people who commute here, while they’re in town they’ll eat lunch. They’ll buy tires here.”
In 2011, Neptune reported a $50 million impact on Alabama and a $14 million impact on the city economy. Those numbers aren’t lost on area and state leaders who gathered Wednesday at Neptune to celebrate its 40th anniversary.
Rep. Barry Mask, R-Wetumpka, executive director of the Elmore County Economic Development Authority, presented DiLaura with a proclamation from Gov. Robert Bentley that recognizes Neptune’s contributions, and McCain praised the company’s influence on the quality of life in Tallassee.
The ceremony was held inside Neptune’s most recent addition, a 19,000-square-foot engineering center that opened in 2010.
“The reason Neptune moved here originally is because they ran out of room,” DiLaura said. “They couldn’t grow anymore. So they built this for growth.
“We’ve been able to continually grow here. We’ve added on to the foundry, we’ve added on to the factory and we’ve built this (engineering center). We’ve got 40 acres here, so if it ever got to the point where that was an issue, we’ve got room to grow. Hopefully we’ll just continue to grow, and we’ll have the 50th celebration at some point.”
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