Perdue to announce new industry


First Posted: 9/22/2009

Gov. Bev Perdue will be in Mount Airy Friday to announce a new manufacturing plant for Piedmont Triad West Corporate Park which will hire 45 employees earning an average of $40,656 annually.
It will just be a good business for us around here, Mayor Jack Loftis said Tuesday afternoon of Central States Manufacturing Inc., a regional maker of metal building components.
Central States is a growing company that was seeking an outlet on the East Coast, according to Loftis.
The governor along with local officials is scheduled to attend a groundbreaking ceremony Friday at 9 a.m. for the new industry at Piedmont Triad West Corporate Park, where Central States Manufacturing will occupy a 10-acre site.
Loftis said the company is anxious to begin building its new plant and launch operations here. Central States Manufacturing, based in Lowell, Ark., is an employee-owned company that makes and delivers metal building components to commercial and residential customers.
It began in 1988 as a producer of metal roofing and siding for wood-frame buildings, also known as post-frame structures. The manufacturer later expanded into commercial products for steel-frame buildings.
Operations at the new metalworking plant in Mount Airy will include forming, cutting and assembling coated steel parts and panels. Central States now has manufacturing facilities in Arkansas, Texas, Alabama and Indiana. In 2007, the company was said to be eyeing plans for new operations in areas outside its present service area, possibly in the Carolinas, West Virginia or New England.

Exceeds Local Wage
The average annual wage of $40,656 that the new jobs will pay, which does not include benefits, is significantly higher than the average Surry County figure of $28,236.
Todd Harris, a member of the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners, said Tuesday that he is impressed by the interaction with the community that Central States Manufacturing has demonstrated in other areas where it operates. Harris also praised the companys products and treatment of its employees.
Both local and state economic-development officials carefully vetted Central States Manufacturing, leading to its receiving of incentives packages both locally and from Raleigh. On Sept. 3, Mount Airy officials approved $472,178 in incentives for the company, including the land it will occupy, property-tax rebates and other amenities.
The project also is being made possible with a $135,000 grant from the One North Carolina Fund, which provides financial assistance through local governments to attract business projects that will stimulate economic activity and create new jobs in the state. Such grants require local matches, and the new company must meet job-creation and investment-performance standards to receive the incentives.
Surry County leaders also have been considering incentives for Central States Manufacturing, which plans to invest $4.5 million in the new plant.
Until Tuesday, secrecy had surrounded the industrial prospect, which some in the community had criticized due to public funding being tied to the incentives. Local officials had said that Perdues office would have to disclose the companys identity, due to the presence of state incentives and their fear that a premature announcement would block such assistance in the future.
Some also had questioned the providing of incentives on philosophical grounds.
At some point, it just behooves us to do what the company wants and what Raleigh wants to get some jobs in here, pure and simple, Harris said in response to those concerns.
(Career opportunities regarding Central States Manufacturing are available at www.centralstatesmfg.com).

Bringing Diversity
Along with creating 45 jobs, Harris said the new company will help diversify the local economy that long depended on textile and furniture manufacturing then suffered greatly when the bulk of those jobs were outsourced to foreign countries.
The mayor agreed. I think it fits right in with some of the companies weve been looking for, he said.
Officials of Central States Manufacturing are equally pleased to be locating in Mount Airy, according to a statement issued from Gov. Perdues office.
We are very excited about expanding our operations into North Carolina and to the eastern region of our market, said Donna Leger, the companys president. The people we have encountered in the Surry County area match our company culture and our values, and we couldnt be more pleased with our selection of Mount Airy as our fifth plant site.
Loftis said Central States officials had some concern about an absence of skills locally such as welding, but saw potential in the labor force available from numerous layoffs and its capacity to be re-trained to fit the companys personnel needs.
They were very impressed with the training facilities at Surry Community College, the mayor said of Central States management officials. They think they can train (people) and can go slow as theyre adding employees.
Along with the 45 new jobs, both Loftis and Harris mentioned the psychological boost they believe the successful economic-development project will supply to a community that has had its share of bad news. The mayor believes this area will benefit from the optimism that the growing company will generate.
With two more industrial prospects also considering Mount Airy, which would add another 251 jobs, city officials are hoping the announcement regarding Central States Manufacturing will lead to similar outcomes in those cases.
Were real excited and think theyre very strong candidates, Loftis said of the pair of unnamed companies involved.
Harris said he is looking forward to positive announcements by those firms, and hopefully more after that.
Contact Tom Joyce at [email protected] or at 719-1924.

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