Made in Athens: E&E Manufacturing
By: Latricia Thomas
An Athens, Tennessee company is stamping out success as a supplier to the automotive industry. Each piece inside your car helps keep you on the road and out of harm's way. A journey that starts inside E&E Manufacturing.
"We supply parts to the seating industry so our parts our going in multiple vehicles," says Larry Joy. The steel employees use comes into the plant on large coils, but doesn't stay there for long.
"When people walk in here," owner Wes Smith says, "our customers even walk in here and are amazed at what we have inside at this facility." And it's easy to see why, the steel is unrolled and fed into these 15 hundred ton presses.
On the day of our visit, E&E's presses are stamping parts for a Ford Escape, two at a time inside the massive machine. Matt Frazier says, "it really makes you stop and look at a car and think maybe I made something inside that."
Each arm inside the press adds another piece of the car part puzzle, going from a flat piece of steel to these support pieces in just under a minute. "We can take those higher tech processes and use it as a cost reducer so we can compete with the parts being made overseas," Joy says.
E&E is so competitve they ship their parts to Mexico and China, as well as auto manufacturers in Tennessee, helping to keep the local economy pumping and gaining speed. "It's not only the job itself," Smith says, "but it's the people who supply us. and the local restaurants and stores and services that create jobs for the community."
Jobs that are multiplying today, even after the automotive slump that threatened so many just a few years ago. "I never experienced anything like that," Smith says. "It was a tough time, but yes we're fortunate. We're growing and we see a lot of opportunity and hopefully we've got all that behind us."
E&E is starting to use a higher strength alloy steel that makes cars more crash-safe and increases fuel efficiency.
Click here to learn more about the company.
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