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Breaking new ground at SV Pittie Textile site

Encouraging entrepreneurs and other business owners to follow his company’s lead, Vinod Pittie of SV Pittie Texiles officially made a mark in Screven County soil Monday morning as he, Gov. Nathan Deal and other dignitaries broke ground in the industrial park for a new plant projected to pump up the local economy.
Pittie, chairman of the ShriVallabh Pittie Group, was joined by his family and additional textile officials from the India company creating not only its first United States, but also its first plant beyond its home country, where the group has established itself since 1898.
Grading the 70 acres of land in the Screven County Industrial Park along Millen Highway is to begin in August on the projected 250-employee plant scheduled to open in January 2016.
he ShriVallabh Pittie Group selected Sylvania for multiple reasons. Among those were the ready workforce; the availability to cotton; the viable roadways; the aggressive yet pleasurable pursuit by the development authority, city and county; available acreage in the industrial park; and the proximity to Savannah’s Georgia Port Authority where a harbor deepening project is expected to be in motion to keep the port one of the largest import/export operators in the nation.
As the upcoming months pass, motorists along Highway 21 are expected to see dirt moved, foundation poured, walls raised, and crews installing electrical and plumbing. Applications for employment as workers within the eventual plant will be accepted at a later date.
Monday’s groundbreaking was open to the public. While it drew state and local officials along with residents from the community, managers of companies with an interest in bidding on construction jobs also attended the ceremony.
They all were in attendance to witness first-hand the textile industry’s return to Georgia. Few new textile plants have been built in recent years and even the “Carpet Capital of the World” Dalton and outlying cities in northwest Georgia took a hit. However, the carpet industry is coming back strong and Pittie anticipates that rejuvenation can extend to south Georgia’s textiles too.
“This county, Screven County, has all the advantages for setting up a textile plant. People are apprehensive, not coming forward, because the textile industry has come into tough times two years back,” Pittie said after he and others tossed dirt at the site with shovels that had a ribbon with the ShriVallabh Pittie Group logo and the development authority’s “We Love Jobs” slogan with its bright red heart in place of the word “love.”
“We studied the textile industry and how things have changed. As for analysis, we have decided to put the facility here,” Pittie said. “Now, not many people are taking many risks, not many want to be the first to come forward. Once we are successful then the people would feel that OK Mr. Pittie is talking sense.
“As for me, we have raw material here, we can ship out with the port,” he said. “As for me, nothing can go wrong. Everybody would like to see. Once the food is made, they would like to taste it. Nobody wants to cook it. So that’s why I said once it is successful then many people would go through ‘cooking’ and follow.”
And Screven County is proud to be part of what Mr. Pittie is cooking.
“This was a great day for Screven County,” said SCDA Chairman Bobby Smith. “The investment Mr. Pittie and SV Pittie Textiles is making in our community means 250 new jobs for our neighbors. Screven County, the City of Sylvania, the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the Governor’s office, and many other individuals worked together on this project. I’m proud to be part of a community and a state that means business when it comes to attracting jobs.”
Dorie Bacon, the Screven County Development Authority executive director, played a critical role in bringing the Indian plant to Sylvania.
“ShriVallabh Pittie Group is a family company with a global reach,” Bacon said. “The strong family values and business acumen they bring to this project make it a natural fit with our community. Mr. Pittie and his team are the heroes of this story. We thank them for their confidence in Screven County.”
Georgia has been ranked as the nation’s No. 1 state to do business by two separate agencies. The governor told those who gathered that he is assured that the SV Pittie Textiles announcement helped the state achieve that mark.
“We’re one of the fastest-growing job producing states in the country,” said Deal, who lived the first three years of his life in Screven County in the Bay Branch community. “I believe I have a very basic philosophy. That is: if a person has a good job they can provide for themselves, they can provide for their family, they can be charitable in their community, and they have less reason to ask government to do things for them because they can do it for themselves. That’s the philosophy on which we have operated and I think it has paid rich dividends and today is further evidence of that fact.
“There are many things we can be proud of in our state. One of those is the fact that we have a good workforce,” said Deal, who spoke with an American flag, a Georgia state flag, and an Indian flag waving in the wind behind him. “Companies like SV Pittie do not come to the area unless they have a pretty good guarantee that they are going to have qualified and competent workers. Our Quick Start program through our technical college system is going to be working with that job force to make sure that when this plant opens its doors, the workers that are going to employed are going to be job ready and trained and make this a successful operation. We have a lot of things to be proud of, I think.”
Deal said SV Pittie Textiles will use domestic cotton from Georgia.
“I saw a lot of cotton fields on the way here and that’s an increase incentive to our agriculture community to have a sales space for the product closer to home,” the governor said.
Deal said the groundbreaking is a huge commitment on several fronts – the 250 jobs created, the manufacturing front, and the textile manufacturing front.
“As you know, we were part of the old textile belt that much of it went offshore, and this is an example of some of it coming back,” Deal said. “I don’t think any of this would’ve happened had we not been aggressive in our policies and our tax policies. The decision that was made, as we advocated early on, in our administration to remove sales-tax from energy that is used for manufacturing for both companies that are already in our state as well as new ones such as this one that’s coming to our state has been a huge impetus for us to see a resurgence of manufacturing all across Georgia.”
The Screven County Industrial Park is a GRAD-certified site that offers advanced due diligence for industrial development through the Georgia Allies’ GRAD, or the Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development, program. The ShriVallabh Pittie Group also has utilized the services of Georgia Quick Start which provides the company with free, customized workforce training and development.
ShriVallabh Pittie Group, founded in 1898, is a leading textile manufacturer with substantial presence in the Indian textile sector, operating in 13 locations. The group is an India-based industrial group with interests across textiles, finance, retail and real estate.
The company has a substantial presence in the Indian textile Industry with manufacturing capacity in multiple locations. The ShriVallabh Pittie Group has become a player in the yarn industry and has a strong and experienced management team with decades of industry experience.
Most of the manufacturing facilities for the ShriVallabh Pittie Group are in Tamil Nadu, with locations in Coimbatore, Palani and Ramnad.
Screven County has a workforce with a knowledge of how to produce yarn. Sylvania Yarn Systems, Inc., operated a factory for 40 years. It closed in 2009, putting 150 employees out of work.
“Friends, today, is a very big and very special day for me,” Pittie said. “We have come to this stage of taking the first step, and putting this facility here which is a $70 million investment in the first phase, and we will be providing about 250 jobs. Friends, I tell you that without the partners who supported us, we would have not seen this day today and you would have not come to this event. I assure you that this groundbreaking ceremony is not a ceremony for one particular manufacturing facility.
“I can assure you that after this facility is put up the whole textile world is looking at us,” Pittie said. “And once this unit is successful, there will be many entrepreneurs who are looking for work and to join us and put these facilities in Georgia.
“I want to put on record that whatever we wanted as in the company, to have our facility here, the governor and his authorities, the local authorities, everything they gave us,” Pittie said. “They gave us whatever we wanted. They have been cooperating with us on a day-to-day basis and they have provided us whatever it is that we want to put up these facilities. I also want to put on record the various efforts made by my executives and by the authorities here, and the local support that we are getting from the Screven County community.”
Will Boyd, chairman of the Screven County Commission, said teamwork made this possible.
“We’ve got a great team in place right now,” Boyd said. “Our board and the development authority are working so great together. Dorie (Bacon) is wonderful. The county and the city pulled together, and the state stepped up and they’ve really helped. Gov. Deal has been a pleasure to work with and the congressmen and everyone have just worked so well together. We’re so excited. We think this is just the beginning of great things”
Sylvania Mayor Margaret Evans also was jubilant about the day.
“What a great day for Sylvania and the county and Georgia,” said Evans who thanked Pittie, Deal, and Georgia Department of Economic Development.
“Our sincere appreciation goes to Dorie Bacon, the director at the Screven County Development Authority, and for the board chaired by Bobby Smith,” Evans said. “Without you, this would not have been possible. Last but not least, thanks to everyone else who had a part in making this day a reality. This all came about largely because the city council, the city manager, the county commissioners, the county manager, the State of Georgia Economic Department, Screven County Development Authority, all worked together with one goal. We are truly grateful. May God continue to bless our city, our county, our state and the United States of America.”
“I’m thrilled to be here today to celebrate this great partnership between the local community and the private sector,” said Chris Carr, commissioner with the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “It brings such great economic success not only to this region but to the state of Georgia. Let me also thank the SV Pittie Group for their commitment to Sylvania, and Screven County, and the state of Georgia. We are so excited.”