AZZ Inc. of Fort Worth, Texas, is investing the available capital resulting from lower corporate taxes to fund both a multimillion-dollar facility expansion and an investment in its workforce.
Because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, signed into law by President Donald Trump in December 2017, the company plans to advance greenfield opportunities, grow its workforce by approximately 100 new employees and invest approximately $1.75 million to fund new bonus and incentive programs to its existing employees.
For more than 70 years, AZZ has helped build and protect critical infrastructure around the country and the world—providing hot-dip galvanizing, specialty electrical equipment, tubular products and engineered services to the power generation, transmission, distribution, oil, gas and petrochemical industries.
The National Association of Manufacturers recently spoke to AZZ President and CEO Tom Ferguson who outlined exactly how big AZZ’s planned expansion will be, thanks to tax reform:
- “Because of tax reform, we’ve decided to move more quickly on capital investment,” said Ferguson. “We had a second plant planned for down the road, but we are planning to move that forward into 2018. That’s a $10 million or $20 million investment. It’s a significant increase in our capital outlay, but we’re willing to take more risk.”
- Growing AZZ’s facilities also means growing AZZ’s workforce. To staff the new facility, Ferguson tells us that it plans to hire 30 to 50 new workers. That’s on top of the 50 new workers it plans to add to its existing facility.
- “There’s no doubt that tax reform creates investment opportunities for AZZ,” Ferguson added. “Because of the savings and the extra cash, it makes something like this viable.”
But AZZ isn’t just investing in the future. It is also taking big steps to ensure that its employees share in the benefits of tax reform, too.
Ferguson outlined how AZZ plans to invest $1.75 million on financial rewards and merit bonuses, including implementing a new “Rewards and Recognitions Program,” where employees earn points they can redeem for merchandise through an online shopping portal. To start, each employee will get a tax-free bonus of $250.
“Employees earn points for outstanding performance on the job and for community service, and they can go online and redeem the points to buy things like TVs, iPods, jackets and appliances,” Ferguson told us. “It’s a great program and a great way to tell our employees, ‘We got this great benefit, and we’re going to share it with you.’”
In addition, Ferguson said that AZZ plans to create a merit bonus pool to give bonuses to employees who “go above and beyond” during the year.
“In total, that’s about $1.75 million that we were able to give back to our employees through special recognition programs,” added Ferguson. “It’s a substantial increase from previous years.”
AZZ is also giving back to its employees in another way: by creating a charitable foundation—AZZ Cares—that will help employees cover critical expenses in times of a crisis. Ferguson said the idea started with a company GoFundMe drive late last year to support employees who lost their homes during Hurricane Harvey.
“We had 13 people in the Gulf who lost their houses and everything in them,” Ferguson explained. “In total, AZZ raised about $225,000. We were so impressed by how folks stepped up and helped that we decided to form our own foundation: the AZZ Cares Foundation. We’re in the process of creating it now—and, soon, we’ll have new funds available for crises and charitable giving.”
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