Sewon Drives Positive Growth: An Update on Rincon’s Largest Economic Development Project
January 29, 2024
If you’ve been driving on Old Augusta Road lately, you can see the progress that has been ongoing at the Sewon America facility at Grande View Industrial Park. Sewon America, a subsidiary of Sewon Precision Industry Co., first announced its investment of more than $300 million in February 2023, which put the wheels in motion to begin construction on the largest economic development project in Rincon’s history.
“We chose Effingham County because of its existing infrastructure and proximity to the new Hyundai Metaplant,” says Lucas Jeung Gi Lee, President/CEO of Sewon America. “But one of the biggest selling points was also the ability to hire high quality workers within the county,”
In June 2023, a delegation from South Korea visited Effingham County to tour the new site and dedicate its address, 1000 Sewon EV Road. During their visit, they signed a memorandum of understanding with Savannah Technical College that set the framework for specialized training specifically created to train workers for careers at Sewon.
As the walls continue to rise, so too does the buzz in the community. “I've spoken with several different community leaders and members of the community; everyone is excited about the opportunity to have a company such as Sewon within the county,” says Sewon America Director of Human Resources Robert Vazquez. “I had the opportunity to go to South Korea where I was able to visit multiple different plants and learn about the Sewon culture. Everything I saw was high quality and professional.”
New Technology Makes Its Way to Effingham
Preparations for the new facility are also happening on the other side of the world. Proprietary machinery for the Sewon facility is being assembled in South Korea, including state-of-the-art robotics that will be used to make parts for electric vehicles. The new equipment will allow Sewon America-Rincon to build lighter components made of aluminum rather than steel. This will decrease the weight of the final vehicle and reduce spark output during welding, leading to safer manufacturing procedures. This new technology will be sent to the U.S. to be installed at the Rincon facility in February, along with a team of assemblers from South Korea.
Opportunity is Here for Top Talent
The first cohort of students completed training at Savannah Tech in January. As students complete the week-long training program, standouts from each cohort will be selected for additional opportunities. Thirty high achievers will be primed to be leaders at the new Rincon facility by pursuing further training at Sewon’s LaGrange facility.
The hiring process has begun for 50 technical positions that will be involved with the production of the first round of parts, and it will take many areas of expertise to build a successful plant. “As this type of manufacturing is new to the area, we’re looking for people with great learning capacity and commitment to quality,” says Vazquez. “We are building a company. We are staffing an HR department, IT department, a safety department, quality department, production line, engineers, maintenance technicians. So we are looking at all different types of skill sets.”
Once the facility is complete Sewon America-Rincon will employ 740 people at its Effingham county location, making the total number of jobs created by Sewon in Georgia over 1,600.
Commitment to Community
From the beginning, Sewon has been committed to investing in the community. To date, the company has donated $40,000 to the Effingham County School District, Savannah Technical College, City of Rincon, and Effingham County Board of Commissioners, showing their support for the county’s infrastructure and educational outcomes.
“We are partnering with the student mentorship program within the Effingham County School District to provide guidance to students interested in this type of industry. We can help build that pipeline starting in middle school, provide guidance as they get their education, and then they can come to us as a full-time employee,” says Vazquez.
Looking to the Future
Sewon’s leadership is excited about their arrival in Effingham County, but their goals remain pragmatic. “Our plan is to make a high quality product to deliver to the new Hyundai Metaplant as the first electric vehicles roll off of their production line,” says Lee. They hope to deliver the first shipment in October 2024, and be fully operational in 2025.
As benchmarks for the project’s completion are achieved, Sewon’s leadership plans to commemorate them. The rapid progress of the Hyundai Metaplant meant construction had to start so quickly that there was no time for a groundbreaking ceremony. However, they will make up for it by holding a grand opening once production begins.
“The future looks bright for Effingham County,” says Effingham County Industrial Development Authority CEO Brandt Herndon. “This partnership with Sewon will bring in a prosperous era for our county and our residents. We look forward to continuing to work with them to build new opportunities in the community.”