Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Autom Celebrates Grand Opening in Lewisburg Business Park

Last week, the people of Autom Church Supply opened the doors to its beautiful new facility in the Lewisburg Business Park to welcome and to thank the state, county and local officials who worked hand-in-hand with the company to assist in the monumental task of moving it from Phoenix, AZ to Lewisburg, TN.
Autom has been in business for 60 years distributing church supplies to customers across the nation. The company had been operating in Phoenix, AZ until a couple of years ago when owners Paul and Thomas DiGiovanni, sons of founder Ignatius DiGiovanni, decided to bring their operations east and found Tennessee. After many negotiations with Tennessee Economic and Community Development officials, Marshall County and Lewisburg officials, and several agencies including the Tennessee Valley Authority, Middle Tennessee Industrial Development Association, South Central Tennessee Development District and South Central Tennessee Workforce Board, the company chose their new home in the Lewisburg Business Park.
“In a project of this size and scope, so many have played in a role in making this possible,” said owner Paul DiGiovanni. “The sense I got from the people of Tennessee is that they wanted this and they moved mountains for us. I think Tennessee is the best kept secret in the United States.”
To celebrate this most successful partnership, Autom welcomed all the people involved in the move from Phoenix, AZ for a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, Feb. 12. The celebration consisted of tours of the facility, prizes, food and fun for children; but the main goal of the event was to welcome Autom to the Lewisburg community and recognize all the people who helped to make it a success.
“It excites me every time I am asked to come to a ribbon cutting, especially when it is for such a first-rate operation as this,” said Marshall County Chamber of Commerce President Chad Fox. “Welcome.”
And with that, the ribbon was cut making official the opening of Autom as a new partner in the Lewisburg Business Park.
“This is truly a great day,” said City of Lewisburg ECD Director Terry Wallace. “I’ve made some new friends with a great bunch of folks. It’s been a pleasure.”
Along with the ribbon cutting, the City of Lewisburg unveiled a plaque placed at the entrance to the new facility in honor of Autom’s move to the Lewisburg Business Park.
“We are delighted Autom has settled here,” said Lewisburg Mayor Bob Phillips. “What they have built shows their desire to be a high-class facility and a flagship for our Lewisburg Business Park.”
The building Autom built with architect Richard Williams and John Chunn of Truette Construction is a beautiful 120,000 sq. ft. facility that neighbors the U.S. Tank and Cryogenics facility as the first two industries to call the Lewisburg Business Park home.
“Lewisburg is grateful,” said Lewisburg Industrial Development Board Chairman Eddie Wiles. “For the IDB, it’s been a great relationship and we are very pleased with the building.”
The facility is also a source of pride for Autom as well.
“We are obviously ecstatic with the building and we are very, very proud of it,” said Autom Operations Manager Monte Mertens. “This is the prettiest building I’ve seen for miles and you should be proud of it as well.”
Mertens and his family, including brother Marty, wife Beth and son, Aaron, have spent the past year in Lewisburg making sure that the move from Phoenix ran smoothly. Marty and his family have already set up a home in Lewisburg and their children are currently in elementary school in the Marshall County school system. Monte and his family are in the process of making Lewisburg their home as well.
“They are going to live here and be a big part of the community,” Wallace said.
“We are in love with Lewisburg and Tennessee,” Mertens said. “We cannot tell you how joyful it has been to work in this community and how we were welcomed.”
Autom has actually been up and running for a few months now bringing in their products and preparing them to be shipped out to their customers. Currently, Autom has 35 employees but is expected to add even more in the near future. Autom is planning on moving their Will & Baumer candle factory from Long Island, NY to the Lewisburg Business Park as well.
“We have been very pleased with the people who we’ve hired to work here during the transition,” Mertens said. “There was never a moment someone said ‘that’s not in my job description’. Thanks to all of you.”
Autom recognized all the following people and the agencies they represent for their efforts in making their new facility possible in the Lewisburg Business Park: Tennessee Economic and Community Development Commissioner Matt Kisber, Phillip Trauernicht, Jeff Bolton, Tommy Burns and Jerry Merriman of the State Department of Economic and Community Development, Deborah Cameron of the Tennessee Valley Authority, Sims Lance of the Middle Tennessee Industrial Development Association, Doug Williams of the South Central Tennessee Development District, Dean Dickey, Tia Anderson and Nancy Tipper of the South Central Tennessee Workforce Board, Lewisburg Mayor Bob Phillips, Lewisburg City Administrator Eddie Fuller, City Treasurer/Recorder Connie Edde, Lewisburg City Council Members Quinn Brandon, Hershel Davis, Robin Minor, Phil Sanders and Odie Whitehead, Lewisburg ECD Director Terry Wallace, Lewisburg ECD Assistants Lisa Jackson and Greg Lowe, Industrial Development Board Chairman Eddie Wiles, Lewisburg Industrial Development Board Attorney Bob Binkley, Lewisburg Industrial Development Board Members Jackie Abernathy, Tommy Harris, Sam Kirby, William Gentry, Jim Weaver, Edward Tankersley, Lee Morrison, Steve Adams, Marshall County Mayor Joe Liggett, Joint Economic and Community Development Director Mike Wiles, Joint Economic and Community Development Board Chairman Edmund Roberts, Marshall County Chamber of Commerce Director Ritaanne Weaver, Marshall County Chamber of Commerce President Chad Fox, Lewisburg Electric System Director Richard Turner, Lewisburg Gas Department Manager Pat Morgan and Customer Services Representative Craig Blackwell, Lewisburg Water and Wastewater Director Kenneth Carr and Assistant Director Robert Biggers, John Chunn and Nick Steelman of Truette Construction, Richard Williams of Williams Architecture, Jim Brown of U.S. Tank and Cryogenics, and First Commerce Bank of Lewisburg.

Cutlines for Photos
Autom Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting Three
Autom cuts the ribbon at the grand opening of their new facility in the Lewisburg Business Park. Pictured are: Front Row L-R, Lewisburg ECD Director Terry Wallace, Autom Owner Thomas DiGiovanni, Lewisburg Mayor Bob Phillips, Autom Operations Manager Monte Mertens, Lewisburg IDB Chairman Eddie Wiles, John Chunn of Truette Construction and Autom Owner Paul DiGiovanni. – Photos by Greg Lowe

Autom Grand Opening Building Front
The Autom Church Supply facility in the Lewisburg Business Park.

Autom Grand Opening Plaque
The plaque presented to Autom by the City of Lewisburg.