FCC North Carolina will create 66 jobs and invest more than $57 million to expand its operations in Scotland County.
Company officials were joined Monday morning by state Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco, who made the announcement, and about 25 state and local leaders at the county’s shell Building.
The new plant will be located at the spec building near the Laurinburg-Maxton Airport. The expansion will increase the company’s current workforce in the county by 40 percent. Salaries will vary by job function, but the average annual payroll for the new jobs will be more than $1.8 million, plus benefits.
“This is wonderful news,” Crisco said. “It is my honor to be here to represent Gov. (Bev.) Perdue. While I know in Scotland county things are not what they should be you can be assured that we have been working hard. I want to have more people at work, but I glad to be announcing the jobs we are.”
The new facility, expected to begin production in fall of 2013, will manufacture friction material to be used at the Laurinburg plant.
FCC North Carolina manufactures ATV clutches, ATV differential components, automotive transmission components and automotive differential components. The company employs more than 140 people at its Laurinburg facility.
Bob Kendall, administration senior manager for FCC North Carolina thanked Gov. Perdue’s office, the state Department of Commerce, Scotland County and the Laurinburg Maxton Airport Commission for helping locate the plant. The project was also made possible in part by a $264,000 grant from the One North Carolina Fund.
“The investment from the state of North Carolina allows us to not only progress our company forward, but also renew our commitment to the state,” Kendall said. “FCC (North Carolina), LLC would also like to thank the associates at our Laurinburg facility for their hard work and dedication that allowed FCC to grow and expand.”
The project will see county’s speculative building, constructed in 2008, occupied for the first time.
“They’re actually going to more than double the size of the shell building,” said Scotland County Economic Developer Greg Icard. FCC is expected to add nearly 56,000 square feet to the shell structure.
“This was the culmination of a little over a year’s worth of work, so we were excited to announce it,” Icard said.
Icard would not say if the FCC project was proof that shell buildings worked as a recruitment practice, but he did surmise that there would be no FCC announcement if not for the existing structure.
“I can make arguments for and against shell buildings … but this is an example of the value of working to expand and grow business already existing in the county,” Icard said.
Icard said that Scotland County was in competition with a location in Indiana for the industry expansion, where FCC started in North America and already has two facilities.
“This was not a gimme, it was one of those where we had to work to get it,” said Icard, who learned “approximately three and a half weeks ago” that the project would be located in Scotland County.
Twenty-two of the new jobs are expected to be added at the company’s already existing facility near Laurel Hill, while the remaining 40 jobs will be housed in the new facility.
“For FCC this will be their only paper processing facility outside of Japan,” Icard said.
FCC North Carolina President Yoichi Uchiyama praised the efforts of Laurinburg and Scotland County and the Laurinburg-Maxton Airport for their efforts to assist the project.
“They all have were very cooperative and supportive when we were investigating,” Uchiyama said.
According to Uchiyama, the proximity of a water treatment facility was also important in FCC’s decision making process.
“This is just what we need and I hope we add more to it,” said Laurinburg Mayor Tommy Parker at the announcement event.
The good news comes at a difficult time for Scotland County, which leads the state in unemployment at 17.6 percent.
Bob Davis, chairman of the Scotland County Board of Commissioners, said the announcement will serve as a boon for residents as well as a sign of things to come.
“People need to see some positive news and that it is not all doom and gloom,” Davis said.
Davis also said FCC’s decision should make the people of Scotland County proud.
“People are the most important asset for a company because people are what make you successful … and this decision highlights FCC’s belief in our workforce.”