Micor Industries LLC on State Docks Road is planning a $5.55 million expansion after receiving approval for tax abatements Thursday.
At a called meeting Thursday in Decatur City Hall, the Industrial Development Board of Decatur approved abatements for the project, which is expected to create 10 jobs within the first year. The new employees will make an estimated average annual salary of $60,000, not including benefits, according to Micor. The company currently has 46 employees.
Micor President Julius Uhlmann said his precision machining company plans to start May 15 with the $1.75 million construction of a 10,000-square-foot addition. It will also add $3.2 million in new equipment.
The company produces precision parts for military weapons, aeronautics and space applications.
Micor was established in 1999 near where Jack’s Restaurant now stands on Alabama 20 in Decatur. Two years later, it moved to its current location on State Docks Road.
The company grew to roughly 100 employees by 2014, but Uhlmann said financial struggles led to its sale to the Thorne family, of Nashville. After some rough initial years, Micor's fortunes turned around in 2019.
“Our profits grew from $4 million to $8.2 million, and this year we expect to close out over $20 million,” Uhlmann said. “Micor is on the way up. We expect that we will make $50 million by 2025.”
Uhlmann said the company's success benefited from the elimination of its oil and gas customers and “focusing only on U.S. customers.” He said Micor’s new equipment is “so sophisticated that our company doesn’t have any competition.”
Micor produces suppressors, silencers, M-2s, M-4s, and other military-grade weapons. Uhlmann said his company could sell weapons to the private sector but chooses to sell only to the U.S. military.
The company also sells aerospace parts to clients like Dynetics, Ruag and Boeing, and it has contracts with NASA.
The coronavirus pandemic had minimal impact on Micor, mainly because Uhlmann saw it coming. He went to China in December 2019, and said he warned fellow plant leaders when he returned that the pandemic was likely on its way to the United States.
Uhlmann said they took steps in early January 2020 to protect their employees by buying screens and all the personal protective equipment and vitamins they could.
“We only had two employees get COVID,” Uhlmann said. “And that came from outside of the plant. We paid every single employee their full pay, and not one hour was lost.”
Uhlmann said the company is committed to staying in Decatur, but its location on 1.92 acres is limiting as the building grows from 39,000 to 49,000 square feet.
“The corporate office will never leave Decatur, Alabama,” Uhlmann told the IDB members.
He said his company will be looking for more property in Decatur, and it could look for properties elsewhere.
Jeremy Nails, president and executive director of the Morgan County Economic Development Association, said his discussions with Uhlmann indicate that Micor “wants to get more involved with the community."
Uhlmann said his company is looking to partner with Calhoun, Wallace State and Drake State community colleges to create an educated workforce.
IDB member Donnie Lane, a former Decatur City Board of Education member, offered to introduce Uhlmann and other company officials to school officials so they could possibly create a partnership.
Uhlmann said he would welcome the introductions “because we’ve got some equipment in storage that we would love to donate” to the schools.
The IDB agreed to abate an estimated $17,200 annually over a 10-year period in non-educational state and local property taxes; $74,250 in estimated Decatur sales and use taxes during construction; and $99,000 in state sales and use taxes during construction.
The Decatur, Hartselle and Morgan County school systems will share in $24,750 in Morgan County sales and use taxes created during construction. Decatur City Schools will receive an additional $24,750 from sales and use taxes during construction, according to IDB documents. An estimated additional $21,200 per year in educational property taxes will be shared by the state and the three school systems in Morgan County.