Update: Giti Tire construction is “on the ready”

Grading on schedule. An air quality and construction permit on the verge of being approved. An announcement of an earlier start to production than was anticipated. A subcontractor outreach event. All the elements of a continued successful project seem to be coming together for the Richburg Giti Tire plant facility, Chester County Economic Development Director Karlisa Parker said.
Giti Tire officials and Shimizu Construction officials met at the Gateway Conference Center recently and Parker learned the grading work for the plant site was on schedule.
“It was very exciting to learn the grading was 85 percent complete. The crews of Brad Cole Construction (who won the site grading contract) and Shimizu Construction were celebrating that,” she said.
There are other elements of the Giti Tire plant project that are also coming together.

Air construction permit
“As you know S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control has scheduled two meetings on the air construction permit (one is a public meeting on Thursday, July 23, 2015 at 6 p.m. and the second, on August 10 is a public hearing) at the Gateway.
“The timeline for the permit seems to be about mid-August. Once that permit is issued, everything changes. The foundation work and the structural steel will start coming out of the ground. The estimation is there will be anywhere from 600-800 construction workers on site. I think that’s going to make a change for the Richburg area. And that number of construction workers at the end of the project could be as high as 1,200,” Parker said.
“It seems to me that Giti is getting prepared to be on the ready. Once that permit is issued, then there are several things they can do at the same time, and they can take place simultaneously,” said Parker.

Subcontractor outreach event
“We are presently preparing for a subcontractor outreach event. This will be on Wednesday, July 29, from 4-5:30 p.m. here at the Gateway,” Parker said.
“This will be for the construction side of the project. We really want everybody that has that kind of background, who can meet the Giti Tire qualifications, to attend,” said Parker.
According to the release, ‘at the outreach event, subcontractors will be able to gain information about the Giti Tire plant construction project, including the projected schedule. Information on current and upcoming bid packages will be available and subcontractors will also receive instructions on Contractor Pre-Qualification forms.
Attendees will also hear an overview of Giti Tire and Shimizu Corporation’s diversity philosophy and have a chance to meet the construction management team and network with other interested contractors.
For more information contact Karlisa Parker at 803-377-1216, or by email at kparker@choosechester.com. The event is hosted by the S.C. Department of Commerce and Chester County Economic Development.’
“This is not a meeting for the non-production side, people that provide rugs and uniforms and video cameras for security and those sorts of things to industries,” said Parker but adds an outreach for suppliers and services is planned for a couple of months from now.
“We really want anyone located within the county to be able to say ‘I’m a pipefitter’ or ‘I sell pipe’ or ‘I’m a welder, an electrician or a plumber’ to be able to meet with the construction managers, and for those people in the county who sell pipe or other supplies or equipment, there will be a time for them to come forward and be introduced to Giti and Shimizu,” she said.
Parker expects experienced construction people will be able to attend this subcontractor outreach event and for example, if they have a resume of years working as a welder, be able to talk to someone from the construction team about being hired as a welder.
“The way we’d like to see the event is it will be broken down into different fields; just like in the building phase you’ve got HVAC and plumbing and electrical and so on. People will be able to come in, introduce themselves, present a resume or a program of work, and Giti and their construction managers will give them a form to be filled out.
“The Shimizu construction team may call for general laborers first, and if they do, we would expect that to happen fairly soon. We are looking at planning some sort of event with Giti and readySC in the fourth quarter of 2015,” Parker said, “but I don’t look for those to be construction workers. I think they’re going to be people where Giti has gotten some good applications in, have checked the backgrounds, and meet the skill requirements, and those people will be ready to go overseas, go learn the process and the culture, and come back and train other people. readySC is very big on that. It’s called ‘Train the Trainer,” she said.

First test tire
Parker said Giti Tire has said they plan to produce their first test tire in the 4th quarter of 2016.
“They’ve really pushed the schedule to where they’re producing the first test tire in the 4th quarter of 2016, so you can see they are going to be ramping up production,” Parker said.

Buy-in to Chester County’s Youth Apprenticeship Program
Some other Chester County industries, most notably Sunfiber, Giti’s across-the-highway neighbor, have committed to participating in the Chester County Youth Apprenticeship Program, a joint program of Chester County and York Technical College. Parker said Giti is also interested in the program.
“At a recent meeting with Giti officials, they showed an interest in the Apprenticeship Program. It seemed they wanted more information. But I think also they’re thinking the program will benefit them in 2018 and 2019 (once the first class of apprentices graduates). They’ve pushed that production schedule…and I don’t see them bringing in youth apprentices until about 2018 or 2019,” Parker said.
She said the Giti leadership is very interested in the kind of training offered by the Chester County School District and York Tech.
“York Tech in Chester was a very crucial piece of why Giti Tire came here, because the Giti Tire leadership were interested in how York Tech could be Giti’s training facility. The Youth Apprenticeship Program just put the icing on the cake,” she said.

By Brian Garner, Staff Reporter with The News & Reporter