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SRG Global's Covington plant adds 'flash' to vehicles with trim and accessories

The SRG Global facility, located on Industrial Boulevard near Walmart, first opened as Guardian Automotive in 1969. It was expanded in 1996 to 202,000 square feet and now employs approximately 340 people that work across three shifts.

The SRG Global facility, located on Industrial Boulevard near Walmart, first opened as Guardian Automotive in 1969. It was expanded in 1996 to 202,000 square feet and now employs approximately 340 people that work across three shifts.

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Elizabeth VanTassell, Human Resources Manager with SRG Global's Covington Plant, shows one of the pieces of automotive trim that is made locally for automakers, including Ford and Nissan. Thomas Schneider, director of marketing for SRG Global, said the products produced at the Covington plant are those that complement the exterior of the vehicle and give it "flash. ... We make the parts on a car that make it prettier, shiner and more interesting. We provide the brand identification of the vehicle," he explained. - Staff photos by Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith

COVINGTON -- It's all in the details.

That's the idea behind the products manufactured at SRG Global in Covington. The company, which changed its name from Guardian Automotive in 2009, specializes in window trim and other accessories for a number of automakers, including Ford and Nissan.

Thomas Schneider, director of marketing for SRG Global, said the products produced at the Covington plant are those that complement the exterior of the vehicle and give it "flash."

"These are things you would not necessarily notice unless it wasn't there," Schneider said. "Think if you built a house without door jambs. ... We make the parts on a car that make it prettier, shiner and more interesting. We provide the brand identification of the vehicle."

For example, the shiny trim on a Nissan Sentra that extends from the front window over the top of the roof and down the back of the car is manufactured in Covington.

Likewise, the local plant is responsible for making B-pillar molding -- the plastic piece that covers the seam between the driver's- and passenger-side doors and the body of the vehicle -- for the Ford Escape and Ford F150.

SRG Global is a Guardian Company, which is comprised of three major business units: glass -- Guardian is the third largest glass producer in the world, Schneider said -- building products and automotive.

Guardian Automotive is made up of Automotive Glass and SRG Global.

SRG Global is headquartered near Detroit, but has locations in the Midwest, the Southeast, Europe and Asia.

The plant in Covington is the only one in the SRG group that produces metal stamping and extruded products and specializes in plastic and metal finishes. Flocking -- the process of adhering fuzzy material to a plastic component that seals a car window and allows it to slide up and down -- is also unique to the Covington plant, Schneider said.

The facility, located on Industrial Boulevard near Walmart, first opened as Guardian Automotive in 1969. It was expanded in 1996 to 202,000 square feet and now employs approximately 340 people that work across three shifts. The plant also utilizes robotics in its assembly operations.

Originally, the Covington facility made all metal components on cars. Schneider said as the market changed, SRG transitioned to manufacturing plastics, as well.

Schneider said SRG continues to adapt to the changing marketplace, and is now beginning to manufacture in Covington solar panels for large commercial customers, such as CVS, Walgreens, IKEA and Walmart.

The company also manufactures GuardVent, a ridge mat that is placed on the ridge of residential rooflines to allow ventilation.

"We are diversifying our customer base," Schneider said. "We are still committed to the automobile industry, but we are balancing that to be flexible with cycles of the industry, which is why we decided to work into the renewable energy market."

The Covington plant has won numerous industry awards, including the Ford Q1 Award, Ford Total Quality Excellence Award, the Chrysler God Award for superior supplier performance and the Chrysler Pentastar Award for 17 consecutive years.

Throughout its history in Covington, SRG Global has been an active participant in the local community. Elizabeth VanTassell, human resources manager for SRG Global in Covington, said the company supports the Newton County Recreation Department, has sponsored the Dixie Boys World Series and hosted a bass fishing tournament. VanTassell said SRG has also donated to the B.C. Crowell Scholarship Fund and to efforts to purchase bulletproof vests for the Newton County Sheriff's Office.