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As president of Hyosung North American corporate office, Yong K. Choun, right, will be looking to hire new people for his Decatur staff. Meanwhile, Marsha Sloss, human resource specialist, will help with the hiring of 25 new manufacturing positions at the former Goodyear plant.
Daily photo by Jonathan Palmer
As president of Hyosung North American corporate office, Yong K. Choun, right, will be looking to hire new people for his Decatur staff. Meanwhile, Marsha Sloss, human resource specialist, will help with the hiring of 25 new manufacturing positions at the former Goodyear plant.

Hyosung USA making HQ here
Former Goodyear plant adding
25 manufacturing jobs

By Paul Huggins
phuggins@decaturdaily.com 340-2395

A month after purchasing Decatur's oldest manufacturing plant, Hyosung USA said it will make the tire-fabric operation its North American headquarters.

In addition to the 10 corporate-level positions coming here, Hyosung said it will hire 25 manufacturing and maintenance people to boost production.

This is an excellent start to a new era, said Jim Garber, Hyosung's human resources manager.

"I think it will bring a lot of stability to our plant," he said. "It says a lot that they intend to make this a very competitive plant to work from. We look at that as being very positive for the future."

The signs in front of the red brick plant still read Goodyear, but Hyosung, a company based in Seoul, South Korea, bought it Dec. 29 as part of a deal that included three other Goodyear plants. Those three and two others Hyosung bought in 2003 and 2005 from Michelin make up the division that the corporate office will direct.

Four of the plants are in the United States, one is in Brazil and one is in Belgium.

The Decatur plant, which opened in 1927 as Connecticut Mills before Goodyear bought it in 1933, is the largest of the six plants, Garber said, and the main reason Hyosung chose Decatur as its North American headquarters.

The corporate president, Yong K. Choun, is already in Decatur, and will be looking to fill about half the 10 corporate-level positions of his staff. These will be purchasing and accounting positions, Garber said, and the company will interview local candidates.

As for the 25 manufacturing and maintenance positions, Garber said they will be a mix of line operators, line supervisors, engineers, maintenance crews and maintenance supervisors. He wouldn't say specifically what their wages would be but that they would be consistent with the industry.

The manufacturing and corporate hirings will bring the plant's total employment to about 440.

The search to fill the manufacturing jobs will begin immediately, Garber said, and is necessary to boost production enough to meet current customer demand.

The sale from Goodyear included an agreement in which Hyosung will supply $3.2 billion worth of tire cord to Goodyear during the next five to 10 years.

Goodyear is the plant's only customer at present, but the plant now has the option to sell to any tire brand. Garber said Hyosung is negotiating with other tire manufactures and, if successful, would boost production further.

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