Early this year, leading tile manufacturer Dal-Tile began full production of glazed porcelain and colorbody tile at its brand new plant and distribution center in Dickson, which the company announced in 2014. Dallas-based Dal-Tile is North America's largest manufacturer of ceramic tile and other natural stone products used in both residential and commercial design and construction.
The company has more than 9,300 employees in North America, and the 1.4 million-square-foot plant is Dal-Tile's twelfth manufacturing facility. High-profile Dal-Tile brands like Daltile, American Olean, Marazzi and Ragno are sold through 250 company-owned sales service centers, stone slab yards and design center galleries, as well as independent distributors and leading home center retailers across the U.S.
In spring 2015, the company made a big push in the Dickson area to fill many of the plant's 180 manufacturing and distribution roles initially required to operate the facility. The rush to hire workers was indicative of the training and preparation needed to get the employees and the space up to full-speed. The company held six informational sessions for potential employees to meet with Dal-Tile's representatives, learn more about the company and apply for opportunities within the facility, which include: body prep/press managers, glaze line managers, kiln managers, operations managers, process engineers and technical managers, as well as roles in EHS, Human Resources and other administrative areas.
Dickson County Mayor Bob Rial is excited about the growth and development that Dal-Tile is bringing to the county, but he's not surprised that the company felt at home in Dickson.
“We have plenty of trainable workers who can do the kinds of jobs they have out there,” Rial says. “This is a workforce that's adaptable and in a perfect location; we're near Nashville's economic boom, but we also offer the lifestyle, pace and amenities that come with suburban, rural living.”
The building of the facility and the hiring fairs they've already held are already all the buzz in Dickson, but the impact that matters most to Rial is still to come.
“Dal-Tile is bringing employment at above-average wages. Those employees will be spending that money locally, increasing the sales tax base. There will also be lots of spin-off growth to supply the plant's tool and die needs, and we're already seeing restaurants and local stores growing to meet the new demands,” Rial says. “There's even an upscale Fairfield Inn being built near the interstate.”
More Local Impact
Dickson County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Joey Graves says that in addition to the county's proximity to Nashville and Dickson's ready workforce, its access to raw materials is yet another important reason why Dal-Tile came to town.
“Feldspar is a mineral used in manufacturing ceramic tiles. Dal-Tile imports it from Turkey,” Graves says. “We're able to bring it up from the gulf through the Tombigbee Waterway and the Tennessee River to a port about 30 miles west of here in New Johnsonville, Tenn. There's also a tremendous amount of clay in West Tennessee that we'll be bringing in with trains or trucks.”
“There is going to be an impact locally, but also across the region,” Graves says. “The people Dal-Tile brought with them have been purchasing houses, buying vehicles and becoming regulars at their favorite restaurants. Suppliers throughout the region will be working with Dal-Tile, and that's going to spread the economic growth across our neighboring counties.”