Spotlight on Butler, Covington, Crenshaw & Lowndes: Economic Engines

Automotive, aerospace, wood products, logistics and more make up the industrial base in these four counties

The site of Conecuh Sausage’s new facility in Andalusia. Photo courtesy of Skip Enzor/Can’t Skip This.

Butler County


The automotive sector remains the largest employer in Butler County — approximately 1,110 workers — while automotive suppliers Hwashin America has more than 800 employees. The Tier 1 chassis and body parts supplier expanded in 2022 and 2023, with an investment of about $23 million bringing 167 jobs.

Other auto supplier companies include Hyundai Steel and AIA Recycling/Logistics. Together these automotive supply chain manufacturers employ approximately 200 people.

Wood products

Timberland accounts for more than 80% of the land use in Butler County and forestry activities contributed nearly 25% of the county’s total agricultural and forestry production, according to the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

Boise Cascade (formerly Coastal) employs approximately 400 people in plywood manufacturing. This wood products manufacturing giant continues to be the economic engine of south Butler County. Other wood products companies include Structural Wood Systems, which produces structural glued laminated timbers; and Dafor Heavy Timber Fabricators, which produces heavy timber trusses, custom beams and components.  Together, Structural Wood and Dafor employ approximately 90 people.


This sector includes Shoreline Transportation, JA Logistics, Evergreen Forest Products, Richway Transportation and Ingevity (Ozark Logistics). Together they serve the needs of automotive suppliers, wood products and chemical/thermoplastic components, employ approximately 300 and enjoy the advantage of direct access to Interstate 65.

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Lowndes County

Automotive suppliers

Two automotive suppliers are among the three largest manufacturing employers in Lowndes County. Daehan Solutions Alabama makes interior sound insulation components and Sejong Alabama LLC makes mufflers and exhaust systems. Many of the products are headed for the nearby Hyundai plant in Montgomery.


The county’s largest manufacturing employer is Saudi Basic Industries Corp., which makes engineered, high-performance plastics used in office equipment, electronics, computers and more.

Agriculture also is a leading sector, with Priester’s Pecans, Koch Foods and Bates Turkey Farm among the larger manufacturers. American Colloid Co., in Letohatchee, makes bentonite clay, used in animal feed supplements.

Covington County


The county’s largest employer by far is Shaw Industries, a carpet yarn manufacturer in Andalusia that employs about 1,050 people. The U.S. Green Building Council recently honored Shaw for its long-standing commitment to sustainability.

Another major textile employer in the area is American Apparel, which makes military uniforms.


The county’s South Alabama Regional Airport in Andalusia is busy with several projects and services. The airport’s industrial park is home to maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities and to a branch of the Alabama Aviation College, which recently added more classes.

There is a heliport that provides hot and cold refueling to military and civilian helicopters. Recently McDermott Aviation LLC and Isolair Inc. added operations to the South Alabama Regional Airport.

Automotive suppliers

The county’s automotive suppliers make parts for Kia and Hyundai. Its largest supplier is SaeHaeSung in Andalusia’s industrial park.

Health Care

With more than 500 people employed at the county’s two hospitals alone, along with rehab centers and other health care related facilities, this is a large economic sector. Both hospitals also are very active in the communities they serve.

Officials with Lurleen B. Wallace Community College break ground on the new Center for Building Construction.

Lurleen B. Wallace Community College

LBWCC is one of the area’s largest employers and has a major economic impact on the region. It has four instructional sites, including the main Andalusia campus and the MacArthur campus in Opp in Covington County, Greenville in Butler County, and the Luverne Center in Crenshaw County.

LBWCC offers academic and technical programs, specialized training for existing business and industry, workforce development, non-credit and continuing education, adult education and community services. It also works closely with area businesses by providing industry-specific training.

In January 2024, the college broke ground on a $3.5 million, 10,000-square-foot Center for Building Construction, which will facilitate the construction industry’s training needs in the state’s southeastern region.

The college has 2,282 credit students and 469 non-credit students, along with 176 employees.

Crenshaw County

Automotive suppliers

The top two largest manufacturing employers are ITAC Alabama LLC in Luverne (formerly Smart), which makes automotive frames for Hyundai vehicles, and Dongwon Autopart Technology Alabama, which makes parts such as door frames, inner assemblies and more. Both are retooling equipment for EV manufacturing needs.


Distribution is a major sector, with the county’s third largest manufacturing employer, Sister Schubert’s Homemade Rolls Inc. that makes and ships goods throughout the country and Pepsi Bottling Co. of Luverne, which is expanding.

Health care

The county is home to Crenshaw Community Hospital, with more than 160 employees, and Luverne Health & Rehabilitation, with about 150 employees.

Business Briefs:

February 2024: Conecuh Sausage, a maker of hickory smoked sausages, announces it will invest nearly $58 million to open a second production facility in Andalusia in Covington County, creating 110 jobs. The company was founded in Evergreen in neighboring Conecuh County in 1947. 

February 2024: Old Gin Creek Country Store, in the town of Brantley, is expanding — adding a building, developing warehouse space and upgrading into a full-service grocery store. The expansion should be complete by September.

January 2024: Lurleen B. Wallace Community College breaks ground on a $3.5 million, 10,000-square-foot Center for Building Construction on the Andalusia campus to help meet the need for construction industry training. It is expected to open in fall 2024.

January 2024: Dongwon Autopart Technology Alabama is retooling its plant in Luverne in Crenshaw County to accommodate EV production. The company provides automotive parts for Hyundai.

November 2023: A new Family Dollar/Dollar Tree combination store opens in Fort Deposit in Lowndes County.

October 2023: Shaw Industries receives a leadership award from the U.S Green Building Council for its long-standing commitment to sustainability.

October 2023: Hwashin America, one of Hyundai’s top suppliers, celebrated 20 years in Greenville and showcased its expanded plant — a 196,000-square-foot building that opened in 2022 and created 100 additional jobs.

October 2023: The town of Brantley in Crenshaw County will have a new South Central Alabama Mental Health Crisis Diversion Center. The $7 million center is expected to open by 2025 and will create about 65 jobs.

July 2023: Mellisa King is named executive director of the Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce. She has served on the chamber board since 2019 and has been the president for the last year.

May 2023: Joni Lolley is selected as the new executive administrator of the Opp and Covington County Area Chamber of Commerce.

May 2023: American Apparel in Opp is awarded a five-year, $71.59 million contract to produce shirts and trousers for the U.S. Marine Corps’ combat and utility uniform. The Opp plant will produce the pants and the company’s location in Selma will make blouses and shirts. The two facilities employ a total of 500 people.

May 2023: Class schedules at the Alabama Aviation College’s Andalusia campus are redesigned to allow students in Covington County and surrounding areas to complete their first six classes of the college’s airframe and powerplant program. Students can continue their training at the college’s Ozark campus.

April 2023: A commercial driver’s license training program locates in the city of Georgiana in Butler County, thanks to a partnership between the city, the city’s Industrial Development Board and Lurleen B. Wallace Community College.

February 2023: Regional Medical Center of Central Alabama cuts a ribbon to celebrate reopening. It had been closed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The event also welcomed Patrick Trammell as hospital CEO.

November 2022: Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. of Luverne receives a CDBG grant to provide the infrastructure needed to move to a new location in the south part of the city. The 100-year-old business moved from downtown to a larger, 75,000-square-foot building on a 170-acre site off U.S. Highway 31.

September 2022: McDermott Aviation LLC and Isolair Inc. announce they will locate at the South Alabama Regional Airport in Covington County, bringing about 30 jobs to the area.

June 2022: Camellia City Metal, a metal manufacturing and supply service, locates in Greenville to fabricate metal for homes and commercial buildings. The $610,000 investment created four jobs.

June 2022: Boise Cascade Co. acquires Coastal Plywood Co., which has two manufacturing locations, one of them in Butler County.

May 2022: REF Alabama, which designs and makes electrical power components, is acquired by Connector Manufacturing Co., a Hubbell company.

Source: Economic developers, EDPA


This article appears in the April 2024 issue of Business Alabama.

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