Pictured left to right at the ribbon cutting are: IVC’s Jill Schubert, purchasing manager; Heidi De Greve, cfo; Peter Boschmans, coo; Xavier Steyaert, IVC US ceo; Stefaan Debusschere, vp sales/marketing; Filip Balcaen, IVC Group chairman; Jan Vergote, IVC Group ceo; Andrew Kearton, vp manufacturing; Micah Riggle, HR director; Geert Van De Velde, sr. product mgr.; and Derek Kozlowski, quality dir.

DALTON -- IVC US welcomed more than 200 people to the grand opening of its new 520,000 sq. ft. cushioned vinyl flooring plant on Monday. The plant, located at 101 IVC Drive in Dalton, Ga., sits on a 44-acre plot about five miles from the I-75 corridor. The building features a quarter-mile long production line – the longest vinyl flooring line in the world, according to IVC – and an additional 500,000 sq. ft. for future expansions.

“Only 18 months ago we had our ground-breaking ceremony [with construction completed in 15 months]. Today we’re standing here with the most advanced cushion vinyl plant up and running,” said Filip Balcaen, IVC Group chairman, in an address to the crowd.

Other key IVC executives and local dignitaries that spoke during the grand opening included: Jan Vergote, IVC Group ceo; Xavier Steyaert, IVC US ceo; Casey Cagle, Lt. Gov. of Georgia; David Ralston, Ga. Speaker of the House; Mike Babb, Whitfield County Commission chairman; and Benoit Standaert, Belgium Consul General. Brian Anderson, Dalton-Whitfield Chamber of Commerce president, was master of ceremonies during the event.

Steyaert noted that more than 150 jobs have been created as a result of the plant, and said he was impressed that it only took 15 months to complete construction despite numerous challenges like bad weather.

“This [plant] is the start of much more to come from the IVC Group,” he said.

Vergote said the plant underlines IVC’s sustainability efforts. “The core manufacturing process is basically water-free, and the little amount of water that we do use is purified so it can be reused again and again,” he said. “We also extract every little bit of energy from our clean air flow.”

Guests were given tours of the new plant, followed by dinner and an evening of music. Mark Souther, president of Carpet Display Inc. in Dalton, was impressed by the new plant. “The new machines and equipment in the plant are awesome,” he said.

Reid Childress, president of Dalton-based Floor Productions LLC, agreed. “The technological improvement now compared to what was possible in vinyl 30 years ago is immense. I also want to commend IVC for taking the initiative of manufacturing products in the U.S. rather than just exporting them here.”