Ford Motor Co.'s Blue Oval City project, which aims to build electric vehicles and batteries in the small town of Stanton, Tenn., ranks as one of the biggest industrial undertakings in the automaker's history. It also will be the largest investment in the state's history, with a $5.6 billion price tag.
It's an undertaking that will change the landscape of the area — for the community, for its work force and the people who live nearby, and for suppliers now plotting future plant investments, says one of the economic development leaders who helped Ford launch the project.
"This is not just going to be a local impact," said Chris Berryman, who worked with Ford in his role as an auto industry recruiter for Tennessee Valley Authority Economic Development. "It won't be only a seven-county impact. It's going to be multistate. It will have an impact across West Tennessee and into the eastern section of Arkansas. It will reach into southern Kentucky and North Mississippi.
"It's going to open up new possibilities for supplier locations, for companies that want to work with both Ford in Tennessee and Ford in Kentucky," he said. "It will serve as a new anchor to supply OEM customers across this region."
Stanton is at ground zero of the Blue Oval City megasite that covers 3,600 acres. But that community cannot begin to support the massive project by itself.
Stanton has a population of fewer than 500 people, and the entire county has barely 17,000. Building the Blue Oval City campus will require some 11,000 direct construction jobs and several thousand more related personnel. The completed factory will directly employ 5,700.