Alcoa, Inc. president visits with local leaders

The new president and chief operating officer of Alcoa, Inc., visited Tennessee Operations Tuesday for lunch and a chat with leaders from Alcoa, Maryville and the Blount Partnership.

President and Chief Operating Officer Klaus Kleinfeld spoke with Maryville Mayor Joe Swann, Alcoa City Manager Mark Johnson, Fred Forster, president and CEO of the Blount Partnership and Alcoa Mayor Don Mull.

Kleinfeld said Alcoa is a fabulous company and is rooted in good values and best practices. At the same time, the company is confronted with “gigantic” competition. “We’re fighting hard to maintain our role,” he said. “We are in a challenging environment where our investments go to places with a reasonably good pay out.”

The company president talked about dealing with the cost of power at smelting plants. “In the first three months of the year we renegotiated our power contract in Canada for smelting plants,” he said.

Alcoa City Manager Mark Johnson asked what the status of negotiations with Tennessee Valley Authority was and Bill Bunker, operations manager for Topoca Project, answered the question. “It’s getting very close. TVA wants to get this done as much as we do,” he said.

Brent McBrayer, location manager for Tennessee Primary Metals, said the negotiations play a part in long-term viability. “It is the thing that determines if you stay in the mix for the long run,” he said.

Kleinfeld said power negotiations relate to younger employees’ job security. “There’s a question for younger employees. Do they have a long-term opportunity?”

Bunker said the current contracts are good through 2010. “We’re looking for long term commitments so we can make investments,” he said.

Maryville Mayor Joe Swann told Kleinfeld that the cities of Maryville and Alcoa stood ready to help in whatever way they can. “If you would tell us your issues you would find we appreciate what you bring to this county,” he said. “It’s very important for us to help you be what you can be.”

Alcoa Mayor Don Mull praised the company for its roots in the community. “I think the Alcoa company is so embedded in the community we’re all a part of it,” he said.

Outgoing Alcoa, Inc., Tennessee Operations Malcolm Murphy recently was appointed vice president and general manager of Alcoa’s Davenport Works facility in Davenport, Iowa. Chris Jackson was appointed operations manager of Tennessee Rolling Packaging Division.

“One of the things I’ll take away is East Tennessee has a great work force and community,” he said. “We’ve got to keep improving. We’re in a global marketplace.”

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