From Alcan’s Kingston Works to Novelis Inc., the aluminum manufacturing plant is celebrating 75 years in the Limestone City.
“I think in the heyday there was 4,100 to 4,200 employees, three plants,” Jake Czyz, Novelis plant manager, told the Whig-Standard Saturday. “We pretty much say everybody in Kingston knows somebody who has retired or worked here at the plants.”
The Aluminum Company of Canada plant was built in 1940 to support the Allied effort during the Second World War. The plant — referred to as “the annex” — housed manufacturing and research facilities. During the 1960s and 1970s, the plant was responsible for the research and manufacturing of aluminum sheet metal, cans and supplies for major industries such as automotive, transportation, beverage and packaging.
Today, Novelis, a subsidiary of the Aditya Birla Group, has 25 operating facilities on four continents with approximately 11,500 employees. The Kingston location employs approximately 275 people and creates aluminum products for Ford, BMW, Mercedes, General Motors, Thyssen Krupp and Peterbilt.
To mark the anniversary the new Novelis Inc. CEO, former CFO Steve Fisher, travelled north of the border from the company’s headquarters in Atlanta, Ga.
“Novelis as a whole is a Canadian company,” Fisher said. “We still remain a Canadian company with this plant being the only Canadian plant right now.”
To mark the anniversary Novelis hosted a ceremony at Fort Henry with retirees, current employees and local dignitaries.
“It’s really an opportunity for past and present employees to get together and have a formal union for the 75th,” Czyz said.
In addition to the ceremony, there was a golf tournament earlier in the week. On Thursday the plant will be hosting a public tour from 3-7 p.m. and next Saturday there is a family and retiree picnic and plant tour from noon-4 p.m. on the plant’s grounds.
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