Haslam to visit Mars plant
by DAVID DAVIS, Managing Editor
Apr 03, 2013 | 1099 views | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bill Haslam
Bill Haslam
Gov. Bill Haslam is scheduled to acknowledge Mars Chocolate North America’s commitment to Cleveland and Tennessee Thursday afternoon during a tour of the Cleveland factory on Peerless Road.

The tour of the candy maker is one of two media appearances the governor will make in Cleveland. He is the scheduled to deliver a 30-minute keynote address at the Lincoln Day Dinner hosted by the Bradley County Republican Party later in the day in the DeVos Recreation Center on the Lee University campus. Doors open at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:30.

A couple of Haslam’s most recent visits to Cleveland have included a tour of the new Whirlpool Cleveland Division plant while it was under construction, and he also served as keynote speaker during commencement ceremonies at Lee University.

Haslam will be joined at M&M Mars by state Sen. Mike Bell, state Rep. Kevin Brooks, Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland, Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce President Gary Farlow, Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce Vice President for Economic Development Doug Berry, Mars Inc., Director of Public Affairs Mark Broadhurst and Mars Cleveland Facility Site Director Joe Burton.

The governor will tour the factory, which manufactures M&Ms Chocolate Candies, before giving brief remarks about his commitment to job growth throughout the state.

The company invested $67 million in 2011 and 2012 to install two new assembly lines for its M&Ms and Twix products, and to expand an existing line for its newest candy, Pretzel M&Ms.

The two-year project was expected to add 38 full-time positions. The plant employs more than 500 people, resulting in a total annual payroll of $40.5 million.

The company publicly stated in 2010 that its goal was to not have any of its North American facilities sending waste to landfills by 2040, to do away with using nonrenewable energy sources to power the facilities and to no longer do anything to impact nearby water systems.

According to past news reports, the local plant ended 2012 being 97 percent landfill free and hopes to reach 100 percent by the end of the year through its recycling program.