It's been just a week since the site preparations started. But Ellen McNair with the Chamber of Commerce says the process of building Hyundai Montgomery, and making company officials feel welcome is well underway. "We're beginning with the Department of Transportation and the County to widen Teague Road and US HWY 31, the city has already rezoned the property and we're in the process of annexation and also establishing a foreign trade zone and the enterprise zone at that site."
One committment city leaders made is to help Hyundai families make the move from Korea to the Capital City. 53 Hyundai officials and their families are making plans to move. They need housing, schools for their children, and an overall orientation to Montgomery.
Gage Franklin served as their tour guide through the family support program. It's on the job training and it has been real easy. Education was at the top of the list. Our new Korean neighbors wanted to know if our city's schools are making the grade. Franklin says, "The first thing they wanted to see were the schools. They wanted to look at our school report cards and that was our SAT scores. They selected based on the performance of the school."
Housing was the next stop. Location and being able to rent were the biggest priorities. "They were looking for homes that were close to where their corporate headquarters is located. They were looking at new homes. Homes that were built in the most recent five years. And they needed a requirement of three bed rooms per home," says Franklin.
Franklin has worked to bridge language barriers and cultural differences. But she says one thing Koreans definitely have in common with Americans, "well shopping was a big requirement. They wanted to know where they could go shopping. They brought me a list of places the malls and shopping centers. They want to adjust to our culture and they want to learn about us."
Grocery stores were also important because Korean culture calls for fresh fish, fruits, and vegetables, but our new neighbors were also introduced to some good ole American cheese burgers.