It has been three and a half years since Wagram native David Laviner launched his company, Advanced Emergency Service Training, and now the once entirely mobile industrial training operation is coming home.
On Monday AEST instructors will teach their first classes in the old John Deere building on Aberdeen Road, marking the beginning of what Laviner expects to be a mutually beneficial business relationship between his company and Scotland County.
Laviner’s company currently trains about 1,000 people per year in industrial health and safety and until recently did all of its training on-site with contracting companies.
“Now they can come to us,” said Laviner, who hopes to benefit from Scotland County’s geographically central location and the relative lack of competition in the region.
With many of the training courses taking place over several days, Laviner’s decision to set up shop in Laurinburg will mean more of what tourism development workers like to call “heads in beds.”
And those rented rooms will likely mean more business for local restaurants and shops — a fact not lost on Laviner.
“Anything that makes a positive difference here at home is something to be proud of,” Laviner said. “This is not only an opportunity for us, but also an opportunity for the community.”
Owned by Turangi Investments, Inc. the building that AEST will occupy is just about a perfect fit for industrial training, Laviner said.
“The facility is very conducive to the type of business that we have … it enabled us to have a classroom facility and room for training props as well as office space,” Laviner said.
With fewer than 10 other competing companies in North Carolina, most of which Laviner says are located in Charlotte or Raleigh, the future appears to be bright for AEST.
After starting with only a single instructor — Laviner — AEST now employs 26 part time instructors, each with their own training specialty.
The wide variety of instruction on offer and the convenience of it to the community is also expected to serve as incentive in the recruitment of industry to Scotland County.
“I would say it will be a huge benefit to have someone local to provide these services,” Laviner said. “There are very few other places that offer these services.”
Turangi, Inc. President Tony Morgan is equally optimistic about AEST and what it will mean for the community.
“We’ve known for a little while that they were coming in … and that business is really growing. You could be looking at thousands more hotel rooms per year and more than 10,000 more meals sold,” Morgan said.
“(Laviner) is as busy as a bee with that business, and I think he is tickled to death that he’s able to stay here in Laurinburg.”