KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — One company nearly doubled its workforce at its Rhea County factory in the past year. Nokian Tyres says that the hiring is just the start of their investment in Dayton.

The company credits its growth from 175 team members to 325 employees to an aggressive hiring campaign in the first half of the year. Within the next few years, Nokian Tyres plans to hire more than 100 workers while growing the production volume at the facility.

“The Dayton factory is an important part of our company’s growth plan, and our employees are the most important part of our factory,” said Dayton Factory Operations Director David Korda. “We were thrilled to be able to grow our team this year while deepening our partnerships in the community.”

The company has also invested in community activities like scholarships for Rhea County students, the Nokian Tyres Summer Nights downtown concert series, platinum sponsorship of the Tennessee Strawberry Festival and tens of thousands of dollars in donations to Rhea County-based nonprofits. Nokian Tyres also worked with Rhea County High School, Chattanooga State and Cleveland State community colleges to provide opportunities for area students.

“While we are pleased with our growth in 2021, it is only the beginning of our journey here in Dayton,” Korda said. “We look forward to expanding our team and growing our efforts to serve the community in the year ahead.”

The factory in Dayton has increased production so much that Nokian Tyres plans to make up to four million tires per year at full capacity.