By Sherri Blevins
At the March 19, 2019 Fort Payne City Council Meeting, Jimmy Durham and Pam Clay with the Fort Payne Economic Development Authority announced the finalization of an agreement to keep Valley Joist in Fort Payne. Durham and Clay came before the council requesting Resolution 2019-16 amending Resolution 2019-05 which granted tax abatements to “Project Scout” which is now known as the Valley Joist Project.
Mayor Chesser commented, “This has been one of those cases where we were trying to keep our existing companies here. We are constantly working to get new industry, but we don’t want to lose what we have already got. This could have been a case where that could have happened.”
Durham confirmed that Valley Joist + Deck officials had been considering moving the twenty-five year old company out of the state. They had looked at locations in Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia, and Louisiana. This would have been a huge blow to the city of Fort Payne. Annually, Valley Joist+ Deck brings in approximately $55,000,000.00 to the area and $12,000,000.00 of that is in salaries.
Through the new agreement with the city, Valley Joist+Deck will receive thirty-nine acres of property, access to utility services, help with site work, and an abatement of building fees. In return, one hundred fifty jobs have been saved with the company promising to add an additional fifty jobs in the next five years.
Durham stated that Thad Chapman, Valley Joist Vice President, didn’t want the plant to leave the city and worked tirelessly to keep that from happening. Chapman sent a letter to the mayor and council expressing his gratitude to all that made the agreement successful. The company also released a statement to the community which read as follows:
Valley Joist + Deck announces plans to build new, state-of-the-art, joist and deck plant in Fort Payne, Alabama.
“We are committed to growing our joist and deck operation in Fort Payne. Building the new plant is an important step in our growth strategy. Through our partnership with all levels of city, county and state government, utility providers, and economic development authorities combined with the long-standing history Valley Joist + Deck has with Fort Payne, building a new plant within Fort Payne was the most viable decision. We are very thankful to the Valley Joist team, many have been with our company since the beginning, over 40 years ago, this growth would not be possible without them,” said Thad Chapman, Valley Joist + Deck’s Vice President of Operations.
Black Diamond Capital Management acquired Valley Joist last year with plans of working with the company to grow their presence in the joist and deck industry. Valley Joist + Deck is an independent steel company that designs, engineers, and manufactures a full range of steel joist and deck product systems. The company, headquartered in Fort Payne, has additional operations in Fernley, Nevada and distributes joist and deck products throughout North America.
Also at the meeting, Erin Franklin, representing the Muscular Dystrophy Association, presented a token of appreciation to the Fort Payne Fire Department for its support of the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
For a complete recap of all the action taken at the meeting visit Mountain Valley News’s Facebook page for video footage.