Lebanon, TN (April 11, 2017) – Commissioner Bob Rolfe, of the TN Department of Economic and Community Development, Mayor Bernie Ash, of the City of Lebanon, and Michael Kephart, President, of Wonder Porcelain LLC, were among those on hand to ceremonially open the new American Wonder Porcelain plant today, Tuesday, April 11th in Lebanon, TN. The future onsite showroom in the state-of-the-art manufacturing complex hosted the group of approximately 100 guests consisting of local officials, plant employees and foreign investors.
Michael Kephart, President of Wonder Porcelain LLC, began the event by thanking the State of TN, Governor Bill Haslam (not in attendance), Mayor Bernie Ash as well as the Joint Economic and Community Development Board of Wilson County, who had several representatives at the event.
Commissioner Bob Rolfe spoke next, focusing on the job opportunities, 200+ positions, the new facility will bring to the area.
Jianping Huang, a primary investor in Wonder Porcelain LLC, then spoke briefly about the importance of the new plant and the excitement surrounding today’s opening. Bill Griese, Director of Standards Development and Sustainability Initiatives for the Tile Council of North America, TCNA, was on hand to speak to the continued growth of the tile industry in the US and the importance of manufacturing on US soil.
The event concluded with a ribbon cutting by Commissioner Bob Rolfe, Michael Kephart and Jianping Huang.
The 500,000-square foot plant will be fully operational in June and will allow Wonder Porcelain LLC to introduce advanced manufacturing capabilities and proprietary production processes, not previously utilized in domestic tile production. The facility will put Lebanon, TN, on the map as an area for innovation in the tile industry. It will have the capability to produce glazed porcelain, technical color body, rectified, polished, and large format tile. All equipment in the plant reflects the latest technology.
Wonder Porcelain LLC worked with TN-based T.W. Frierson Contractor, Inc. on the construction of the plant. An additional 200,000 square foot warehouse and adjacent office complex complete the facility.
All products produced in the new plant will be certified by the Porcelain Tile Certification Agency and will be tested by the Tile Council of North America to ensure they meet or exceed defined standards in all performance categories.