August 16, 2013
An emphasis on industry and its importance in bringing jobs to Missouri was the focus of this year’s Sedalia Showcase.
Gov. Jay Nixon addressed a crowd of more than 200 people Thursday at Maxion Wheels – this year’s featured showcase industry – noting the company is celebrating its 35th anniversary in Sedalia.
“For decades Hayes Lemmerz has been a pillar of the community and the Missouri automotive supply chain,” Nixon said.
Last year the company was bought by Brazil-based Maxion Wheels with the long-term goal of “forward-looking investment” Nixon added, noting that he had gone on a trade mission to Brazil to meet the company’s owners. Speaking to the Democrat after his official remarks, Nixon stressed the importance of bringing industry, and jobs, to Missouri. For the past 44 months Missouri’s unemployment rate has been below the national average and companies like Maxion are key to that sustained success, he said.
“Missouri has had solid industry growth and it’s extremely important that continue,” he said. “We have to make sure we’re assisting those companies in any way we can. My trade mission to Brazil was part of that. It’s a very positive sign that they’re continuing to invest in Missouri and see the potential we have here.”
Don Polk, Maxion Wheels President of the Americas, also spoke to the crowd, saying the past 35 years have allowed Maxion to become the largest steel wheel manufacturer in North America with 240 million global customers.
“In the past 35 years Maxion, and Hayes Lemmerz before it, have employed thousands of people in Sedalia touching just about every family in the community,” Polk said. “And the employees give back to the community, whether through the United Way program or Reading to the Max. We continue to make a difference here and will do so for many years to come.”
Polk added that Maxion was looking forward to “a bright and prosperous future” and the company would keep working on new projects to develop and continue investments in the Sedalia plant for future support.
Sedalia-Pettis County Economic Development Director Linda Christle said Maxion’s 35th anniversary made it an easy choice for this year’s featured industry.
“Something we strive very hard to do is to take care of our existing industries,” she said. “When you do that, they can realize what our community has to offer. If a company is thinking about expanding or relocating, we want them to think of Sedalia. Featuring them in the Showcase was a great way for us to say thank you, for all the investment they’ve put into our community and to also highlight the great things they’re doing every day.”
Emily Jarrett – Sedalia Democrat