Lordstown Motors Says It Remains Committed to ‘Voltage Valley’

LORDSTOWN, Ohio – The executive chairwoman of Lordstown Motors Corp. said Tuesday that the startup automaker is committed to transforming the Mahoning Valley into an “electric vehicle epicenter.”

In a response to a letter written earlier that day by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Angela Strand said that the company is “proceeding with business as normal as we retool our factory, train our team members and prepare for limited production at the end of September.”

Brown’s office on Tuesday released a letter dated July 13 from the senator addressed to Strand urging Lordstown Motors to develop and share its plan to restructure the company and strike a partnership with the United Auto Workers union.

“I urge you to create a collaborative partnership with organized labor to produce the innovations in zero emission vehicles we all want to see while investing in your greatest asset: Ohio workers,” Brown wrote.

The senator also expressed concerns over an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice into Lordstown Motors’ business.

“Your company arrived in the Mahoning Valley with the stated desire to turn this area into ‘Voltage Valley.’ Lordstown Motors owes the Valley the next-generation electric future it was promised,” the senator continued. “To that end, I ask that you develop, and share with me, a detailed plan on how you intend to reform your corporate practices to provide greater transparency for workers, investors and the community by the end of the month.”

Strand in her letter did not directly respond to Brown’s request for sharing the company’s redevelopment plan with the senator.

“We remain committed to turning the tide of high unemployment in this region by successfully transforming the Mahoning Valley into ‘Voltage Valley,’ ” Strand wrote.

The new executive chairwoman emphasized that the company provides its employees with a rewarding opportunity with Lordstown Motors, which is expected to start producing the all-electric Endurance pickup by the end of September.

“I agree that workforce development is crucial to our success,” Strand wrote. “We are dedicated to providing all team members with high wages, superior benefits, ownership in the company and opportunities for growth unparalleled in the industry. Our culture and outstanding wages have resulted in Lordstown Motors attracting excellent talent from the region and beyond,” she said.

Brown noted in his letter that Strand had yet to respond to a letter sent June 15 from UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada about organizing a meeting with union representatives.

“We have not received the June 15th correspondence from UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada as mentioned in your letter,” Strand replied.

“I appreciate your continued support of our efforts to revitalize a shuttered plant, transform the Mahoning Valley through job creation and build America’s first full-size all-electric pickup truck,” Strand concluded. “I look forward to hosting you for a plant tour or a virtual meeting to address your concerns at your convenience.”

Strand was appointed executive chairwoman after the abrupt resignation June 13 of founder and chairman Steve Burns. Lordstown Motors’ Chief Financial Officer Julio Rodriguez also resigned in June.

Text from Strand’s letter in full is posted below:

Dear Senator Brown:

I’m writing in response to your letter dated July 13, 2021. At Lordstown Motors we are proceeding with business as normal as we retool our factory, train our team members and prepare for limited production at the end of September. We remain committed to turning the tide of high unemployment in this region by successfully transforming the Mahoning Valley into “Voltage Valley,” an electric vehicle epicenter.

I agree that workforce development is crucial to our success. We are dedicated to providing all team members with high wages, superior benefits, ownership in the company and opportunities for growth unparalleled in the industry. Our culture and outstanding wages have resulted in Lordstown Motors attracting excellent talent from the region and beyond.

We have not received the June 15th correspondence from UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada as
mentioned in your letter.

I appreciate your continued support of our efforts to revitalize a shuttered plant, transform the Mahoning Valley through job creation and build America’s first full-size all-electric pickup truck. We enjoyed hosting your Northeast Ohio Regional Representative at our plant for a tour during our recent Lordstown Week. I look forward to hosting you for a plant tour or a virtual meeting to address your concerns at your convenience.

Sincerely,
Angela Strand

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.