Source: The Courier-Journal
The opening of steelmaker POSCO's wire processing plant in Jeffersonville on Friday came with far more fanfare than the typical salutations and snipped ribbons.
Four Hoosier veterans of the Korean War received rose bouquets and commemorative medals forged from barbed wire from the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.
The company flew in executives from across the globe. They heard Jeffersonville High School's wind symphony perform a Korean song – and presented the school with a $30,000 check.
POSCO, the world's fifth-largest steelmaker and one of the biggest South Korean companies behind Samsung and appliance maker LG, intends to produce fasteners, nuts and bolts for automotive customers, including Ford and Nissan, which sent its North American purchasing director to the event.
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, a Republican, thanked Oh Joon Kwon, POSCO's chief executive, for the company's confidence in the state and the local workforce. "We're grateful for the trust you've placed in us as Hoosiers," Holcomb said. "We're going to be with you every step of the way."
The company's newly opened facility is a $21 million, 80,000 square-foot plant and distribution center on 13 acres. Plans are to expand it to 136,000 square feet in three more phases. With the completion of the first facility, the company expects to hire 60 people – paying $23 an hour or more, based on experience.
There may be more high-wage jobs added because the company, with 312 facilities in 43 countries, intends to double production globally in the next four years.
On Friday, while news emerged of a fresh exchange of threats in between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un over that country's deployment of nuclear weapons, POSCO executives tried to keep the focus on their business and the Hoosier launch.
But Jong Kook Lee, Korean Consulate General in Chicago, appeared to speak for many of the executives in crisp dark suits when he said that the latest developments on the Korean Peninsula are worrisome. But leaders across the globe are committed to seeing that the situation, Jong said, is "resolved through peaceful means."