U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said the Siemens GA 400 facility is the kind of manufacturing plant the country needs to promote.
Lew was making his first trip outside of Washington, DC, since being confirmed for the Cabinet position by the U.S. Senate on Feb. 27.
He was asked why he came to this part of the country for his first trip.
"This was the kind of facility that demonstrated advanced manufacturing," he said.
The technology at Siemens is being used in a way that creates multiple benefits, he said. That includes creating the technology in production and energy usage when the technology is employed, and the improved outcome in terms of the environment with more efficient energy usage.
"So this is the kind of facility that we need to promote and encourage more of," Lew said.
"It's not something that's limited to this area, but as Helmuth said, there are advantages here in terms of the education of the workforce, the sources of new workers from the institutions of education, the infrastructure. Those are the things we need to promote manufacturing, and I'm delighted that it's here," Lew said.
He hopes to make similar visits to more places in the country.
The Siemens facility employs approximately 700 people at a 40-acre site acquired in 1990. It has undergone plant expansions in 1993 and 1996, which brought the manufacturing space up to 138,000 square feet and office space to 122,000 square feet.
This facility manufactures large traction drives used for transportation, such as light rail, locomotives and heavy rail; mining applications such as trucks, shovels and draglines, and; low voltage drives for water, wastewater, paper and metals industries.
MARTA awarded Siemens a contract to produce four streetcars, which will be built at Siemens railcar and locomotive plant in Sacramento, Calif. The propulsion systems will be homegrown at the GA 400 facility. Streetcars haven't been seen in Atlanta since 1949.
A larger order is that for auxiliary power and traction drives for 70 electric locomotives for Amtrak's Northeast and Keystone Corridor lines. Those locomotives will use regenerative braking to feed energy back to the power grid.