Gunite Leaders Consider Another Expansion Project

By: Jessica Geraci Email
By: Jessica Geraci Email

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- One Rockford manufacturing plant with a track record of adding more jobs is looking to do it again with a multi-million dollar expansion project.

Gunite's parent company, Accuride, is thinking about spending $15 to $20 million on the Rockford plant over the next 3 years. The company’s CEO says those updates could include a new foundry where tons of scrap metal is melted down every day to make the brake components for semi-trucks and other heavy machinery. Plant leaders gave a tour of the facility this afternoon to discuss future plan, the potential for new customers and more workers. Nearly 400 people work at Gunite now. That's double what it was in 2011 when Accuride made the gamble to close two other plants and invest $35 million to upgrade the Rockford facility.

“On the outside of the building, it doesn’t look much different than it did a few years ago. But inside it’s like a brand new factory. If you have good people, and good equipment and a capable building, you can make money and stay in business,” says Accuride’s CEO Rick Dauch. “If you have good people and they're willing to commit to work for you, and you give them the tools to do it, you can win and that's kind of what we did here."

The company's board of directors still needs to sign off on any expansion plans but Accuride's CEO says he's optimistic that growth will be coming to this plant over the next three years. One reason Accuride decided to stay in Rockford, it would have cost more than $150 million to build a brand new plant. Plus the company liked the legacy of Gunite, a manufacturing facility that’s been in Rockford for more than a hundred and fifty years.

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