Historic Kone contract adds jobs to Coal Valley plant

KONE Inc. is announcing a $154 million deal to build escalators for Washington, D.C.’s mass transit system at its Coal Valley plant.

That’s the largest contract in company history. It will create up to 25 new production and engineering jobs in Coal Valley.

It’s a massive deal for a company that builds huge escalators. The project is set to last for at least seven years.

“For Coal Valley, it represents further economic development and also jobs for our employees,” said KONE Americas CEO Larry Wash.

In addition to 74 current workers, the company will add new jobs by the time  production goes into full swing in 2014.

“For us, it just helps to solidify KONE’s name in the industry,” said KONE Unit Director Enio Marcello. “We’re very proud of being in this situation.”

That’s why KONE team leaders held a ceremonial signing on Thursday. Each signature represents an investment in the Quad Cities.

“With this type of quality and this type of commitment for our employees, this also affords us to win further business for the mass transit system,” Wash said.

Montgomery Elevator first opened the Coal Valley plant in 1971. Finland-based KONE bought the company in 1994.

That tradition with transporting people keeps KONE going strong after more than a century. It’s the kind of success rooted in the Quad Cities.

KONE already makes escalators that move millions of people each year all over the country. With work scheduled for Coal Valley, it’s also investing in American manufacturing.

“We’re very happy with the future and looking forward to it,” Marcello said.

As company leaders led a tour through the plant, Wash paused to reflect on the impact of this deal.

“I see it here every day when I walk through the plant,” he concluded. “It’s about pride. We have an opportunity to do some great things in Washington, D.C., coming out of Coal Valley.

For KONE and the Quad Cities, it’s an escalator deal that’s rising to the top.