The grass continues to get greener in Dadeville for Hellas Construction and workers who can say they make fields of dreams for NFL players.
Hellas announced Tuesday a third expansion in three years of its Dadeville factory, adding 30 jobs and $2.6 million in new equipment. The base material for artificial turf used at the stadiums of the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans and the practice fields for the Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars is made in Dadeville.
Ron Norsworthy, Hellas’ director of manufacturing, said he expects the Dadeville operation to continue growing.
“We’re going to have this announcement again,” he said.
Hellas utilizes three plants in the U.S. to make its artificial turf — Dadeville, where the strands of turf are cut and spun from raw materials; Chatsworth, Georgia, where the turf fields are tufted and created; and Austin, Texas, where the backing is made, according to Rebecca Johnson, Hellas’ human resources manager.
Johnson said she hired seven new employees this week in Dadeville and the new jobs are paying $12 an hour, Norsworthy said.
The Dadeville plant started three years ago with 37 employees and now has 72, Norsworthy said. The plant has also increased in size by 50 percent.
Norsworthy said Hellas differentiates itself in several ways — the turf lasts longer and looks better than competitors’ products; it engineers turf specifically for football, baseball, softball, soccer and infields for track and field stadiums; and it is involved in every step of the process.
“Each product is engineered for a specific sport,” he said. “For example, the baseball turf gives you a more uniform and realistic bounce than the football turf. The baseball turf has denser blades. We are also vertically integrated, meaning we handle everything from the raw cut, the base, making the turf, all the prep work, installing the turf and even cutting in logos on the field. That sets us apart from most of our competitors.”
Norsworthy said Hellas has positioned itself in a niche market of premium fields.
“We are the premier field manufacturer in the United States,” he said. “Our goal is to make the premier product on the entire globe. We are uncompromising. Any of our competitors can buy the same equipment but if we don’t have the support and people to do a good job, we can’t succeed.
“We are more expensive than our competitors but we buy the best materials. Our value is in longevity and in the appearance. If you don’t have a good base under the turf, you’re fighting a losing battle. Everybody’s field looks beautiful when it first goes down.”