The New Face of Manufacturing: Van Hool NV
Belgium-based Van Hool is a global leader in the manufacture of buses, coaches, trolleybuses and trailers. It is one of the top suppliers of private coach buses in the U.S., without having a single manufacturing facility in the country. This will soon change—the company recently announced the construction of its first manufacturing facility in the U.S. in Morristown, Tennessee. The $50-million, 500,000-square-foot plant will manufacture public transit buses and create 650 jobs. Currently under construction, the plant is expected to be finished in 2020, with the first buses delivered in 2021.
After years of consideration, Van Hool decided to invest in a U.S. operation after attending the 2015 Select USA Summit in Washington D.C.
Key site considerations included availability of skilled workers, competitive labor costs, excellent technical schools, sufficient number of suppliers and subcontractors in the area, good highway access and no large multinational automotive companies nearby.
“SelectUSA was a vital resource in our search,” says Benedicte Gruwez, Van Hool’s consultant for the project. “It is a one-stop shop that allowed us to meet representatives from different states and other key players who helped us select the perfect location. Also, without SelectUSA, we would not have met Gray Construction, who is building our manufacturing facility.”