HALEYVILLE - One of Haleyville’s top employers has landed a lucrative contract, and they are preparing to hire dozens more employees.
Exxel Outdoors, LLC, is adding many new jobs and expanding production to fulfill its new, long-term, five-year contract with the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency to produce sleep systems for the troops. The Defense Logistics Agency is the U.S. Department of Defense's combat logistics support agency.
Exxel is filling over 50 new positions in Haleyville, including 50 sewing machine operators, as well as new positions in specialty line management, quality assurance and industrial machine maintenance. To fill the need for 50 sewing machine operators to produce this sophisticated Sleep Systems line for the armed forces, Exxel is doing a major outreach and giving on-the-job training to people who want to learn sewing machine operation skills.
Exxel is holding two job fairs to help fill the new jobs. The first will be Thursday, March 11, from 4-7 p.m. at their plant in Haleyville, just off Highway 13 and County Highway 85. The second job fair will be Wednesday, March 17, from 4-7 p.m. at the A. W. Todd Centre, located at 201 Washington Ave. SW, Russellville.
Haleyville Mayor Ken Sunseri is very pleased with Exxel’s news.
“I’m excited for the economic development at the Exxel plant. The five-year contract with the Defense Logistics Agency will provide 50 new jobs and opportunities for the citizens of Haleyville and surrounding communities. This is a unique opportunity for Haleyville,” Sunseri said.
“We’re thrilled to fulfill the production of these high tech sleep systems for the military at our Haleyville facility, which has been producing superior quality gear for our troops for many years, “Armen Kouleyan, Exxel Outdoors co-founder and chief manufacturing and global sourcing officer said. “It brings a tremendous opportunity to strengthen Haleyville’s economy by creating more new jobs, and contributes to our nation by providing protective equipment to our service members. We look forward to making more and varied advanced products for the DLA.”
Kouleyan believes his employees in Haleyville are a key reason why Exxel was able to secure this lucrative contract.
“They have a deep sense of pride in being the ones to make these exceptional products in America, and a commitment to participating in the continuous improvement of our plant. From the time we first purchased and rebuilt the Haleyville factory in 2000, our key competitive advantage has always been our workers,” Kouleyan stated.
Due to the closure of textile factories across north Alabama approximately 30 years ago, the number of people who have the skills to be sewing machine operators has significantly decreased. That is why Exxel is reaching out beyond Haleyville and the surrounding area in search of job candidates who may live in other areas, such as Russellville and the Shoals.
Exxel is making capital investments in equipment and job training to ramp up production within its 250,000 square foot plant in Haleyville.
Under the contract for the DLA, Exxel will be producing sleep systems comprised of mummy bags, compression sacks and one-person bivy tents for camping in rugged terrain. These military products are Berry Amendment compliant, meaning they are made with 100 percent U.S. materials and 100 percent U.S. labor.
Exxel’s military/specialty department is separate from its commercial/mass market department. The commercial department produces basic, rectangular, family camping sleeping bags -- approximately two million per year. Exxel’s military/specialty department produces technically advanced sleep systems, tents and backpacks.
For the Haleyville Job Fair, online navigation systems lead to the wrong location by a mile, so please contact the Exxel office for directions and questions by calling (205) 486-5258 or by email at email@example.com.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.