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Continental says 'Beam me up, Benny!'

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Continental Tire the Americas LLC celebrated a significant milestone on June 18, 2013: A steel beam was used in the 80,000-square-foot production expansion of the company's commercial tire plant in Mount Vernon, Ill., now in progress.

City officials and Continental employees were invited to sign the beam in an official ceremony held at the construction site.  Event attendees included Mary Jane Chesley, Mount Vernon's mayor; Benny Harmse, plant manager; and Paul Williams, executive vice president of the truck tire division.

“We are committed to the city of Mount Vernon and the state of Illinois, and we want to share our successes with them,” said Harmse. “It is exciting to see such great things happening for the Continental plant as well as for the local community. It signifies the progress and commitment of our company."

Construction remains on schedule and is expected to be completed by the end of 2015. The expansion was announced in January.

In addition to the beam signing, attendees were given a tour of the facility.  The tour began in the Commercial Vehicle Tire side of the facility and ended on the Passenger and Light Truck Division side, where the 2011 announced expansion is nearly 95% complete.

With an investment of almost $95 million, the Commercial Vehicle Tire production area will increase production to an annual volume of more than 3 million truck tires when completed.  Included in this investment is a new mixer to support the additional tire production and the introduction of equipment for emerging tire technologies, including wide-base truck tires.

“This investment will help us continue to produce some of the most technologically advanced commercial vehicle tires on the market, and also addresses our growth in the region,” said Williams. “Our research and development engineers for the Americas, working at our Truck Tire Technology Center in Mount Vernon, have developed tires and technologies for a complete lifecycle solution that begins with excellence in new tire production. In turn, our customers have responded with increased demand for our tires.”

Altogether, Continental has invested more than $615 million into the multi-plant Mount. Vernon facility since 2006.

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