Tuscaloosa County Auto Supplier on Track to Open High-tech Facility

Truck & Wheel Group plans a 127,000-square-foot, highly automated facility in Vance that will assemble, sequence and balance wheels for delivery to automotive production lines.

This is the first U.S. operation for the company, which wants to expand its market as a Tier 1 supplier.

A groundbreaking for the project was held in April, and the facility is scheduled to open next year.

“Thank you for welcoming us into your community, and we look forward to starting business in 2018,” said Antonio Montoro, Truck & Wheel Group’s plant manager.

Carlos Llonis Irigoyen, CEO and general manager of the company’s automotive division, said the commitment to Tuscaloosa “is based on the long-term relationship the company is willing to build.”


“Truck & Wheel Group is introducing advanced automation technology that is new to our region.”

The Truck & Wheel facility is being developed by real estate firm Graham & Co., and Cooper Construction is the general contractor. The factory will be highly robotic and automated, attaching tires to rims, inflating them and running quality assurance tests in a matter of seconds.

The two firms previously teamed up to build a 500,000-square-foot parts warehouse for the automotive sector.

The Truck & Wheel project is another sign of prosperity for Alabama’s booming auto industry, which last year surpassed the 10 million mark in cumulative auto production.

“Alabama’s auto industry continues to notch impressive manufacturing milestones, all while delivering quality vehicles that are in high demand in markets around the globe,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

“We are happy to work with Truck & Wheel Group and wish them many years of growth in Alabama,” he said.

Truck & Wheel began in Europe in the 1990s and now has 26 branches there. It is one of the major logistics operators in Spain, France, Germany and Portugal, and has recently opened centers in Mexico.

Dara Longgrear, executive director of the Tuscaloosa County Industry Development Authority, said the company is joining a diverse lineup of auto suppliers in the region.

“Truck & Wheel Group is introducing advanced automation technology that is new to our region,” Longgrear said. “They will make a good addition to our automotive cluster and our international community.”


Truck & Wheel Group’s new facility will provide valuable job opportunities for Alabama residents, Vance Mayor Keith Mahaffey said.

“The automotive industry continues to be a great economic driver by adding more industry and jobs for not only our citizens, but for this area as a whole,” he said.

Claude Edwards, chairman of the Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority, said the announcement “is a great next step forward for Tuscaloosa County to continue to grow and prosper.”

Meanwhile, Graham & Co. said it anticipates finding another built-to-suit project for auto suppliers in the near future.

Industrial brokers from Graham and others that have said the industrial market in the Birmingham area and across Alabama have benefited so much from the growth of the automotive sector that built-to-suit projects may become more common in coming months and years.

20 Midtown development

The Design Review Committee this week approved plans for the third building of the 20 Midtown development, which will be located on an entire block between 20th Street and Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd., and between Second and Third Avenues South.

Site demolition, clearing and grading has already been completed and the building is expected to start construction soon.

The project will include 246 apartment units as well as retail space according to Dick Schmalz the project developer.  The entire 20 Midtown project has already served as catalyst for interest in surrounding properties in the area that is often called Midtown. Cohen Carnaggio Reynolds is the project architect. 

BHATE Geosciences is proud to be a part of this project team and has provided all of the subsurface engineering, environmental and testing services on the entire 20 Midtown development.



Honda announces $85 million expansion

Honda last week announced an $85 million expansion to its Lincoln, Ala., auto manufacturing plant that will improve vehicle manufacturing flexibility, strengthen the logistic efficiency for future models and prepare for future technologies. The $2.2 billion, 3.7 million-square-foot plant in Lincoln employs more than 4,500 workers and has attracted a network of almost 30 Tier One suppliers, many located in the Birmingham region, that employ another 7,600 people.

“Honda has been a powerful economic engine in Alabama, creating thousands of well-paying jobs and new levels of opportunity for residents in Talladega County and across the state,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “Honda has found a home in Alabama, expanding repeatedly to boost output and add capabilities. We’ll work hard to keep this fruitful partnership going strong.”

We are the geotechnical engineer of record for the $85 million expansion.   The expansion is the first Phase of the overall plant expansion which involves new civil infrastructure and warehouse construction.  The civil improvements will consist of 220,000 cubic yards of earthwork, 40,000 linear feet of new utilities, and 1.1 million square feet of new roller compacted concrete container lots and logistics roadways. 

HMA is currently one of the largest roller compacted concrete pavement industrial facilities in the world, and this expansion will increase the total amount of RCC pavement.  We assisted with preparation of the bid documents, including the including civil site, pavement, and foundation specifications. 

Our services included subsurface investigation, geotechnical evaluation and design (related to site preparation, roller compacted pavement design, and building foundations), utility mapping, and comprehensive construction material testing and inspections.  During the design and bid phases, we assisted HMA with evaluation of site design and Value Engineering options that reduced the sitework and building construction costs

.Click here to read more about Honda’s expansion at Made in Alabama

Four New Shareholders Added to BHATE Geosciences

BHATE Geosciences Corporation congratulates the following BHATE team members as new shareholders and corporate leaders. Each of these professionals has contributed to our company’s growth and success, but more importantly, helped us deliver on our commitment to serve our clients better than anyone in the industry.

Thomas E. Sanders, CFO  is a University of Alabama graduate in accounting and for the past 18 years has managed the company’s financial processes and HR duties. Tommy brings high integrity to his job and always looks after the best interest of our clients and employees. He is an important part of our company’s current and future growth. 

David L. Johnson, PE, Senior Consultant - Construction Materials Testing Manager functions as the Corporate Materials Consultant and also manages the Quality Assurance and Construction Materials Testing staff.  His duties have also included overseeing our testing laboratory’s national accreditation in Birmingham and branch offices for the past 14 years.  He has a BS and MS in Civil Engineering from Mississippi State University and is a licensed PE in multiple states. 

Kevin A. Scott, PE, Senior Consultant - Engineering Research and Technology is manager of Engineering Research and Technology for the company.  His specialties include unique geotechnical testing, deep foundation and shoring design and geo-hazard assessment.  He has a 15 year tenure with BHATE Geoscience and is a Civil Engineering graduate of Mississippi State University.  He is a licensed PE in multiple states.

Drew Thornbury,PE, Senior Consultant – Geotechnical Group  functions as a Senior Manager and leader in the geotechnical engineering group.  His expertise includes complex projects in karst terrains, deep foundations, geotechnical forensics, and transportation/infrastructure.  He joined BHATE in 2006, and is a graduate of Auburn University in Civil Engineering, and is a licensed PE in Alabama.

BHATE CMT Team Awarded Pensacola Bay Bridge Project

Image result for pensacola bay bridgeThe Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) awarded a $399M design-build contract to Skanska, USA for the replacement of the Pensacola Bay Bridge in August of 2016.

BHATE Geosciences’ CMT team, led by David Johnson, P.E. and Tony Thomason, will provide Construction Materials Testing for the project, including Quality Control Services for the pre-pour and post-pour fabrication inspections, post-tension and reinforcing steel, concrete placement observation and documentation, as well as cast-in-place concrete testing.

We will have an on-site laboratory, accredited by the CMEC, for the curing and testing of concrete specimens. According to Mr.  Johnson, P.E., although the total project is scheduled for completion by August, 2020 (47 months), we expect to be on-site for about 29 months.

The three mile Pensacola Bay Bridge, connecting Pensacola to Gulf Breeze, is a primary hurricane evacuation route for the Northwest Florida coast. Built in the 1960’s, with a life expectancy of fifty years, the current bridge has withstood hurricanes, tropical storms and even a hit by a barge in 1989. The structure is nearing the end of its life cycle and has been deemed structurally deficient by FDOT.

Building the east and westbound bridges in stages will allow for the least interruption in traffic flow. Once the first bridge is complete, all traffic will shift to the new bridge, allowing for demolition and construction of the second. Each bridge will consist of three lanes in each direction as well as a ‘multi-use path’ on the westbound bridge to provide visitor observation areas and accommodate travelers using non-motorized vehicles.

Skanska has a global presence and is known for providing comprehensive construction services, including the design-build of the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey and the construction of Heron Tower, one of the tallest structures in London. Mr. Bhate says. “Working on this high profile, long-term project helps strengthen our working relationships with Skanska, USA as well as FDOT.”