Berea mayor Steve Connelly and representatives from Congressman Andy Barr’s office and Sen. Mitch McConnell’s office were among the dozens of people who gathered Wednesday morning to celebrate a recent expansion at Novelis, an aluminum recycling company in Berea.
Despite the cold, attendees gathered outside the Berea plant as company representatives spoke of the company’s investment in Berea.
The company employs 138 at its Berea plant, and pays more than $12 million in wages and benefits, plant manager Ramon Romero said.
The expansion at the plant took about six months to complete, said Marco Palmier, senior vice president and president of Novelis North America.
Novelis invested about $2 million into the expansion project, which resulted in eight additional jobs, Romero said.
The project was a redesign of the plant’s entrance, which allows for more efficient flow of trucks coming in, bringing raw material. The one-way traffic flow also decreases vehicle and pedestrian traffic.
Now that it is complete, the plant will be able to produce more, and will be safer, Palmier said.
Connelly said the company opened in Berea at a time when the city most needed it. When the plant opened 28 years ago, the city’s effort to close the landfill — at a cost of about $4 million — was just beginning, Connelly said.
“We see what a true public, private partnership can achieve,” the mayor said.
Novelis’ Berea plant recycles about 20 percent of the aluminum cans recycled in the United States.
“We know we make a positive impact on the world,” he added.
The company melts down the recycled cans and makes aluminum sheets, which are used to create new aluminum cans, according to a company press release.
The Berea plant is more than 200,000 square feet.
After the ribbon-cutting celebration, attendees were treated to a luncheon by the company.