Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Stuart McWhorter, and WACKER officials announced the company’s intention to expand its presence in Southeast Tennessee with the addition of new silicone production facilities in Charleston.
A feasibility study is currently underway for the first step of WACKER’s plans to expand production within its existing campus in Charleston. The expansion would involve a phased investment of more than $200 million over several years and create more than 200 new jobs in Bradley County, adding to WACKER-Charleston’s existing workforce of 700.
This is the second major expansion the global chemical R&D and manufacturing company will make in the region since creating a major manufacturing footprint in Charleston eight years ago. The decision aligns with announcements WACKER has made earlier this year about further expanding capacity in the regions where its customers operate.
In 2015, WACKER-Charleston began production of hyper-pure polysilicon used in semi-conductor and high-efficiency solar cells. In 2019, WACKER added production of pyrogenic silica. With the newly announced expansion of these specialty silicones, the company will have invested nearly $3 billion in Southeast Tennessee in less than a decade.
The first phase of the proposed expansion will add plants to manufacture high-consistency silicone rubber and silicone sealants.
Since 2018, TNECD has supported nearly 50 economic development projects in the Southeast Tennessee region, resulting in approximately 7,000 job commitments and $2.5 billion in capital investment.
“Companies choose to invest in Tennessee because of our skilled workforce, strong business climate and quality of life. I commend WACKER for its continued investment and job creation in Bradley County.” – Gov. Bill Lee
“Germany is one of Tennessee’s top countries for foreign direct investment, so we appreciate this additional investment from WACKER, a company that could have chosen anywhere in the world to expand its global footprint. TNECD continues to support the growth and opportunities that will result from WACKER’s expansion in Bradley County, and I thank the company for its continued partnership.” – TNECD Commissioner Stuart McWhorter
“WACKER continues its specialty strategy providing U.S. domestic production to markets such as construction, consumer care, automotive, and health care.” – WACKER’s U.S. entity President David Wilhoit
“We are pleased to explore the expansion of our production capability in Charleston and add jobs in a market that continues to grow. This additional manufacturing capability allows us to continue to expand our global portfolio for downstream products while accelerating our growth and adding high-quality, well-paying jobs in Tennessee.” – WACKER-Charleston’s Senior Director and Site Leader Ken Collins
“I am thrilled about WACKER’s investment and expansion at the Charleston facility here in Bradley County. The company’s commitment to adding more than 200 new, well-paying positions to the existing workforce of more than 700 will be a tremendous shot in the arm for our community and the region. The addition of silicone production to its existing Charleston operations in polysilicon and HDK is a clear sign that WACKER is fulfilling its commitment to develop a fully integrated production system focused on closed material loops and energy efficiency. WACKER continues to be a partner that I am proud to work with, and we look forward to many more years of successful partnership here in Bradley County.” – Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis
“We are grateful for the continued expansion in our region and community from WACKER. This company continues to create generational shifts in our job market and local economy with this new investment. Having worked with the WACKER team during their initial recruitment as a state representative for Cleveland and Bradley County to now as mayor, it has been gratifying to see this dream become a reality in north Bradley County. The State of Tennessee continues to show that our state is truly ‘America at its Best’. Thank you, WACKER, for making Bradley County and the city of Cleveland, Tennessee, the best place to live, work and raise a family in East Tennessee.” – Cleveland Mayor Kevin Brooks
“TVA congratulates WACKER on its planned expansion of operations and creation of new jobs and investment in Charleston. We are proud to partner with Cleveland Bradley County Chamber of Commerce and the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development to support WACKER’s continued commitment to innovation and growth in the Valley and celebrate this impactful announcement together.” – John Bradley, TVA senior vice president of Economic Development
“WACKER’s more than $200 million investment in Bradley County is proof-positive that we are attracting 21st century companies to add to this region’s economic momentum. This project will not only boost the local manufacturing sector and provide job opportunities to more than 200 residents, but it will also strengthen the regional economy and support a more sustainable community for generations to come.” – Sen. Todd Gardenhire (R-Chattanooga)
“This proposed expansion by WACKER will be a substantial investment in Bradley County that will create even more job opportunities for our community. I appreciate all of our local and state economic development leaders who helped make this announcement possible.” – Rep. Dan Howell (R-Cleveland)