Seaman Corporation announces major expansion in Sullivan County

Representatives from the Seaman Corporation join Tennessee Economic and Community Development Commissioner Stuart McWhorter, representatives from NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership, local elected officials and other dignitaries to break ground on Seaman Corp’s new facility in Partnership Park II in Bristol, Tennessee on Wednesday. Photo by Dave Ongie

By Dave Ongie

It was deja vu all over again for Sullivan County Mayor Richard Venable and Richard Seaman, Chariman of the Seaman Corporation, on Wednesday afternoon. 

The two old friends were together again at a groundbreaking on a tract of farmland in Partnership Park II in Bristol, Tennessee, that will soon be home to the Seaman Corporation’s new 350,000-square-foot facility to accommodate the continued growth of a company that has called Bristol home since 1976. During his remarks, Venable said he was “filled with pride” as he prepared to break ground on the facility, which will create more than 60 new high-paying jobs while further cementing Seaman Corp’s commitment to Northeast Tennessee.

Tennessee Economic Development Commissioner Stuart McWhorter praised the teamwork and partnership that took place between NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership, local elected officials and state agencies to ensure the Seaman Corporation chose to expand in Bristol. Although Seaman Corp has a long history in Bristol, over 100 sites were considered by a consultant before it was confirmed the lot in Partnership Park II was the best possible location for the facility.

“Bristol is centrally located in the Southeast with access to two-year, four-year and technical institutions, all of which will support Seaman Corp’s expansion and further growth,” McWhorter said.

Seaman Corporation Chairman Richard Seaman. Photo by Dave Ongie

Seaman Corporation is a manufacturer of industrial coated fabrics. McWhorter noted the company has made a commitment to pay an hourly wage at the new facility that is significantly more than the average hourly wage in Sullivan County.

“We are proud of our partnership with the State of Tennessee and Sullivan County and glad to have the support of Governor Lee and Commissioner McWhorter as we expand our business,” said Jeff Swartz, CEO of Seaman Corporation.

In his remarks, NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership CEO Clay Walker praised his team and added that close partnerships Bristol Tennessee Essential Services, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and the Tennessee Valley Authority were critical to clearing the way for this project. 

Seaman’s Corp is purchasing the recently completed rail-accessible site in Partnership Park II from NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership. NETWORKS recently completed more than $4 million of site improvements in Partnership Park II to make the property more marketable. Those improvements were funded in part by a $1 million site development grant awarded by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. 

It was announced last week that NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership was awarded as second $1 million grant from the TNECD, which will be used to improve lots 1 and 2 in Partnership Park II.

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