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Archive for March, 2014

Elkamet Announces Growth & New Jobs

East Flat Rock, NC – Germany-based Elkamet, announced plans for an expansion which would allow for the addition of a new plastics-related product to support existing and new business in the automotive sector.  The $2,350,000 plus investment in machinery and equipment will begin this fall, with production slated to begin in early 2015.  The new product expansion will result in the creation of 15 to 20 new positions, in addition to the existing 54 employees.  Elkamet plans to start hiring in 3rd quarter-2014 for positions including  machine operators, and  supporting staff.

Charlie Messer, Chairman of the Henderson County Board of Commissioners, said, “Henderson County’s employment growth is driven by incremental decisions by small and medium-sized businesses that choose to invest in our community and employ our friends and neighbors.  The Board of Commissioners supported the effort to encourage Elkamet’s initial location here, and we are proud to be a partner in their continued success and growth.”

Headquartered in Biedenkopf, Germany the company chose to locate their first and only US manufacturing operation in Henderson County, NC in 2006.  Since that time, the company has doubled their workforce, doubled the footprint of their building, and diversified the markets and customers they serve.  Elkamet Plant Manager Artur Bitner said, “Since the beginning of our engagement here in Henderson County, we found the support and the right resources for a successful development.  This most recent investment is introducing one of our key manufacturing lines to the East Flat Rock location and another important step towards the full integration of the whole value added process.”  Elkamet specializes in manufacturing custom rotational molded plastics, such as hydraulic oil tanks, as well as finishing extruded products, like windshield profiles.  Products made in the company’s East Flat Rock facility can be found in finished goods made by Ford, Volkswagen, Caterpillar, and many more.

Nathan Kennedy, Board Chair of the Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development commented, “Elkamet’s continued growth demonstrates Henderson County’s commitment to bringing new companies to the area, but also our focus on nurturing and encouraging their growth and expansion.”  Beyond investment and employment impacts, Elkamet continues to showcase their leadership and engagement in the community through the Made in Henderson County initiative, focused on enhancing the connectivity between industry and the school system.  Elkamet has hosted 8th grade students at their facilities to provide a better understanding about the diverse employment opportunities in today’s manufacturing environment.

Job seekers interested in exploring employment with Elkamet should look for postings through www.ncworks.gov and Blue Ridge Community College during the summer of 2014.  For more information about Elkamet, visit www.elkamet.com.

The Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development, Inc. is a 501(c)6 organization that works to: retain and attract quality jobs; solicit new business compatible with the assets and values of Henderson County; promote Henderson County’s business image; assist expansion of existing companies; and enhance Henderson County’s overall quality of life.  For more information about HCPED, visit www.hcped.org.

BorgWarner Builds Connection with Henderson County Public Schools

On Friday, February 21, 2014 in partnership with Made in Henderson County, educators from Henderson County Public Schools participated in a lunch and tour of BorgWarner Thermal Systems’ 170,000 square foot manufacturing facility.  BorgWarner has been located in Fletcher, NC since 1999, growing to 275 full-time employees.  The thermal division is responsible for developing and manufacturing fan drive components commonly found in commercial vehicles (medium & heavy duty trucks), light vehicles (pickup trucks & SUVs) and off-highway vehicles (excavators, dozers and loading equipment).  Company-wide, the business operates 57 locations in 19 countries, representing a total workforce of approximately 19,000 persons.

During the event, BorgWarner leadership highlighted several careers projected to be in high-demand over the next 5 years including machine operators, maintenance technicians, and positions in quality control, engineering, and accounting/finance.  BorgWarner stressed an interest in students that possess aptitudes for math, science, critical thinking, and who have interest in technologies utilized in advanced manufacturing, such as Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machinery, robotics, injection molding equipment, and three-dimensional Computer Aided Design (CAD) software. To gain the necessary experience for employment, students are encouraged to pursue pathways to employment that include Career and Technical Education classes, and enrollment in Henderson County Public School’s Mechatronics Academy, a multidisciplinary program, designed to introduce students to the basics of mechanical, electrical, telecommunications, control and computer engineering. Students were also encouraged to consider industry-based internships, job shadowing, and post-secondary programs at Blue Ridge Community College and/or four-year colleges focused on engineering, accounting, math, science and business management.

According to Plant Manager, Steve Racher, “Our primary goal with the Made in Henderson County effort is to help change the perception of manufacturing. Advanced manufacturing businesses need team members who are motivated and understand the complexities and problem-solving nature of the manufacturing sector. The education and skills required to fill available positions are highly specialized and we want students, teachers and guidance counselors to be prepared and understand, first-hand, what it takes to be successful in our company.” Dr. Helen Owen, Career & Technical Education Director with Henderson County Public Schools, added, “As educators we understand that our current students are Henderson County’s future workforce.  Our graduates are among the best in North Carolina, and we want students to be able to pursue their passions through high-quality, local employment opportunities.”

Henderson County, NC is home to 135 manufacturing operations that support a workforce of over 5,250 employees with a combined total payroll of more than $259 million, and average wages exceeding $49,000/year.  Professions in the manufacturing sector continue to be an attractive value proposition for students as well as existing job seekers.