Continental expanding

CONSTRUCTION IS will begin immediately and be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2019.

Continental announced Monday a $9.3 million expansion of the rubber mixing operations at its industrial hose plant in Norfolk — and plans to add more than 30 jobs in the process.

The expansion is designed to accommodate its North American manufacturing facilities by providing rubber for industrial hoses and whitewall tires for passenger cars.

"We have plans to add in excess of 19,000 square feet to expand our rubber mixing capabilities and better serve our internal and external customers," said Dan Granatowicz, plant manager in Norfolk. "We anticipate that the expansion will enable us to add in excess of 30 associates.

“The investment will also reaffirm our commitment as a good corporate citizen to the Norfolk community and the region as we secure jobs and support the economies of each."

The Northeast Nebraska plant currently employs slightly more than 360 individuals.

Granatowicz said construction work will begin immediately and be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2019.

Norfolk, Madison County and state officials said they are thrilled with the announcement.

“This is terrific news,” said Norfolk Mayor Josh Moenning. “We welcome and celebrate ContiTech's confidence in its Norfolk facility and its growing role in our local economy. Responsible corporate citizens help build healthy and vibrant communities. As a globally competitive, international business, ContiTech's decision to make such a significant investment here signifies a high level of commitment to and trust in the people of northeast Nebraska.

The Nebraska Department of Economic Development assisted the city’s efforts with the project through a community development block grant and by providing some site and building development funds.

Dave Rippe, director of the economic development department in Lincoln, said, “We appreciate Continental's investment and are pleased they have selected Nebraska for the expansion. Continental's decision shows confidence in Norfolk's excellent workforce and helps grow Nebraska.”

Ron Schmidt, a Madison County commissioner and vice chairman of the Greater Norfolk Economic Development Foundation, extended his congratulations in relation to the announcement.

“We are thankful that ContiTech sees our area and our workforce as a great reinvestment opportunity,” he said. “I think it says a lot about Norfolk and Northeast Nebraska.”

Andy Colvin, who serves as the economic development director of the Norfolk Area Economic Development Council and Norfolk’s city administrator, added, “We are grateful for the many partnerships that make expansions like this possible and will continue to do everything we can to keep the businesses that have invested in Madison County strong and competitive in our global economy.”

The Norfolk facility, which is about 40 years old, primarily manufactures industrial hose and supplies compound for a variety of applications, such as general purpose air and water, garden, mining, petroleum, steam and welding hose.

The new mixing operations also will enable the plant to supply compound for product-specific whitewall Continental passenger tires.

The Norfolk facility first was operated by Goodyear, but it has gone through some name and ownership changes in recent years. For a time, it was operated by Veyance, but on Jan. 30, 2015, the plant officially became part of Continental, which is based in Germany.

The Norfolk plant is part of Continental’s ContiTech division, which is one of the world’s leading industrial specialists.

Continental develops pioneering technologies and services for sustainable and connected mobility of people and their goods. Founded in 1871, the technology company offers safe, efficient, intelligent and affordable solutions for vehicles, machines, traffic and transport.

In 2016, Continental generated sales of $40.5 billion and currently employs more than 233,000 people in 56 countries

ContiTech’s customers can be found in key industries such as machine and plant engineering, mining, the agricultural industry and the automotive industry. With around 46,000 employees in 44 countries, the company uses its development and material expertise for products and systems made of rubber, polyamide, metal, textile, and electronic components to combine these with individual services. ContiTech had sales of about $5.5 billion in 2016.

In other news

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — A fight is emerging over whether a son of Aretha Franklin could be put in charge of the late singer’s estate after a 2014 handwritten will was found under cushions in her suburban Detroit home.

HAMBURG, Iowa (AP) — Two new bridges are planned for a flood-prone highway low spot near a Missouri River bridge that connects southeast Nebraska with southwest Iowa, an Iowa highway official said.

VERDEL — Finding old U.S. flags inside the walls of a Verdel house that was being reconstructed — after suffering damage during the historic March flooding — came as a surprise to everyone involved.