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LINDE: BIGGEST INDUSTRY INVESTMENT EVER IN COOK COUNTY

The groundbreaking for the Linde Group’s $40 million atmospheric gases plant in Cook County was so big in March 2017 that company officials and local dignitaries had to break up into 11 groups to ceremonially turn the earth at the construction site. Dust rose from a U.S. Highway 41 field still stubbled with mowed-over cotton stalks from the last harvest at that location.

 

The new harvest in years to come will have a much greater impact on the community. The large-scale air separation unit (ASU) between Adel and Cecil will produce liquid atmospheric gas products such as argon, liquid nitrogen, and liquid oxygen essential to hospitals, healthcare providers, food processors, glass manufacturers, metal fabricators, and independent welding and gases distributors.

 

Completion of the plant is slated for the first quarter of 2019. The new plant is expected to create up to 35 new, permanent jobs in the local community, in addition to temporary jobs during the construction phase. Linde currently operates more than 10 sites in Georgia and employs 570 employees statewide.

 

In a press release issued by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal’s office in January, Pat Murphy, president of Linde Americas, stated, “Linde is committed to investing for growth in the Americas, and we have been expanding the market in the Southeast for several years. We chose the location of this plant based on its proximity to customers and the strong, pro-business environment in Cook County and the City of Adel.”

 

The Linde facility in Adel is the largest investment of a company in the history of our county with a $45 million capital investment. Our leadership once again stepped up to the plate.

 

The groundbreaking ceremony kicked off with welcoming remarks from Michael Dinnerman, who serves on the Adel Industrial Development Authority and who formerly served on the Cook County Economic Development Commission for more than 15 years, for a crowd gathered under a big white tent set up on the construction site. “It is a great day for Cook County,” Dinnerman said. “It is a privilege to welcome everyone to today’s groundbreaking ceremony, which celebrates Linde’s new beginning in Cook County.”

 

Dinnerman recognized special guests representing federal, state, and local partners on the project, including the offices of United States Senators David Perdue and Johnny Isakson, the office of Congressman Austin Scott, the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, Wiregrass Georgia Technical College (Wiregrass Georgia President Dr. Tina Anderson and staff), the Cook County Board of Commissioners, the Mayors of Lenox, Sparks, and Cecil, the Cook County Board of Education, the AIDA, Economic Development Commission, Probate Judge Chase Daughtrey, and the Adel-Cook County Chamber of Commerce.

 

“Approximately one-and-ahalf years ago, we celebrated the groundbreaking of Custom Ag Formulators - that’s about a half-mile from this spot, “ Dinnerman said. “Today, Custom Ag is up and running, and already planning an expansion. Today’s groundbreaking ceremony, which marks the official start of construction of Linde here in Adel, is the culmination of more than eight months of hard work for many of us today. And for us, and I believe I can speak for Linde, all of the hard work has definitely paid off.” He said the community is 100 percent behind Linde and will work with the company to make its Adel operation a great success. “We see this as being a partnership or marriage,” he told the Linde officials. “We want you to know that with this marriage, the honeymoon is not over when we break ground today. The honeymoon has just started, and you can depend on our community to be there for you.”

 

Adel Mayor and EDC Chairman Buddy Duke then thanked the Electric Cities of Georgia, Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia, City Manager John Flythe and city officials, and the Carter and Sloope engineering firm for their involvement with the project. “What a great day in Cook County,” Mayor Duke said. “We are truly blessed to be able to be here at this location, for this festive event. Looking back for the past few years, we have experienced both success with local businesses and industries, as well as trials and tribulations on the local level like we’ve never experienced before here in Cook County.” He noted such recent successes as new industries Cardinal Glass, Custom Ag Formulators, and Grimmway Farms; new retail including Walmart, Dollar General, Zaxby’s, and Dollar Tree; and local business expansions, Elite Structures, Lariat Steel, and Micro Chem Company. All those successes have occurred as a result of cooperation among the City of Adel, the County, the EDC, and AIDA in making decisions to assist the companies to remain in Cook County and continue to do business here, Duke said.

 

He remarked about the Jan. 22, 2017, tornado disaster that hit the community and how so many local citizens united to help the victims. “Most recently, the masses of the people stood up again, and as a result, the Cook County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to step forward and enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with Tift Regional Medical Center to build a brand-new, state-of-the-art hospital here in Cook County,” the mayor said. “The leadership of the people made it happen.”

 

On March 30, 2017, the community gathered again to celebrate the clearing of the pathway for Linde’s new plant in Cook County, Duke said. “On behalf of the City of Adel and the citizens of Cook County, I want to officially welcome Linde Group to Adel and Cook County. We look forward to having a great relationship with you and your company. We want you to know that we are ready and willing to step up to the plate to assist you with whatever you may need for now and forever more.”

 

Cook County EDC Vice Chairman Howard McClain then introduced the Linde Group. Headquartered in Munich, Germany, Linde generated revenue of $19.7 billion in Fiscal Year 2015, making it one of the leading gases and engineering companies in the entire world. Linde produces and sells such atmospheric gases as argon, liquid nitrogen, and liquid oxygen for a variety of industries. The Linde Group has approximately 65,000 employees working in more than 100 countries. The plant to be built in Cook County will supplement markets currently supplied by plants in Cartersville, Ga., and Aiken, S.C.

 

Chris Ebeling, vice president of sales and marketing for Linde North America, then spoke to the gathering. He thanked community leaders for the Southern hospitality shown to company representatives. The local groundbreaking was the fourth event in 10 years during which Linde has announced a brand-new, standalone facility and two have been in the State of Georgia, Ebeling said.

 

He praised the local community for the overwhelming support of such economic development projects as Linde. “This is an absolute achievement,” he said. “We are so proud and happy to stand and be your partner today.” He emphasized that the products offered by Linde could help draw more industries to Cook County.

 

Michael Dinnerman gave special recognition to Cook County Economic Development Director Lisa Collins for her role in bringing Linde to the community. The crowd gave her a standing ovation, as well as Andi Dickerson with the EDC staff.

 

County Commission Chairman Dwight Purvis welcomed Linde on behalf of the Cook County Board of Commissioners, and thanked all those who worked so hard on the project.

 

The program concluded with a prayer of thanksgiving offered by Pastor Doug Stephens for lunch served to the event’s attendees. 


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