UACJ Automotive Whitehall Industries, a leading supplier of precision extruded aluminum automotive components and assemblies, will take over the former Walgreen’s distribution center in Flagstaff for a new plant that will manufacture parts for electric vehicles.
The expansion of the company, based in Ludington, MI, is anticipated to bring 120 high-paying jobs to the region over the next year and 350 within five years, said Economic Collaborative of Northern Arizona President & CEO Gail Jackson.
“UACJ Whitehall plans to invest as much as $60 million dollars here,” Jackson said, noting that the average wage at the company will be 60% higher than the County per capita income.
Company President and COO David Cooper said Flagstaff was selected because it is strategically located to serve UACJ Whitehall’s electric vehicle customers. The company has plants in Ludington, Michigan, Paducah, Kentucky and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
“Northern Arizona makes sense for us because of location, ease of transportation, and an already well-established manufacturing sector within the community,” Cooper said. “We also look forward to partnering with North Arizona University as our processes are highly automated and technical.”
UACJ Whitehall has begun retrofitting a portion of the Walgreen’s building and is expected to start hiring employees and launch operations in April.
“What a fantastic win this is for Flagstaff and our northern Arizona communities,” said Governor Doug Ducey. “Our electric vehicle industry in Arizona is booming – with only further opportunity on the horizon. My thanks goes to UACJ Whitehall for choosing Arizona and to all our regional and state partners for their work on this exciting announcement.”
A business attraction “core strike team” of the City of Flagstaff, Kinney Construction Services, Coconino County, the Arizona Commerce Authority and ECoNA had been working to bring the company to Flagstaff over the past five months.
“Today’s announcement represents a historic investment for Northern Arizona and our entire state,” said Sandra Watson, President & CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “As an industry-leading producer of electric vehicle parts, UACJ Whitehall will further bolster Arizona’s reputation as a global hub for electric vehicle manufacturing. We look forward to supporting UACJ Whitehall’s growth and success in our state.”
Whitehall Industries began in 1974 manufacturing precision components for the copying and printing industry. It began aluminum extrusion operations for the auto industry in 2001. In 2016 it was acquired by UACJ Corporation, a Japanese-based aluminum manufacturer.