12/16/08 — Kinston gets 123 jobs as plant expands

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Kinston gets 123 jobs as plant expands

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on December 16, 2008 1:46 PM

Dopaco Inc. announced Monday its plans to expand its Kinston facility, creating 123 new jobs and $25.3 million in investments over the next three years.

It was an announcement, Gov. Mike Easley said in a written statement, that was made possible in part by a $200,000 One North Carolina Fund grant.

"We are working hard to continue helping North Carolina businesses like Dopaco expand and provide good jobs for our citizens," Easley said, adding that it's deals like this that help state maintain its "top-ranked business climate."

The company also received a five-year, $425,000 incentive package from Lenoir County -- money which is given back based on the taxes the company's expansion generates.

"It's based on their capital investment and the jobs they create," said Mark Pope, executive director of Lenoir County's economic development department. "We try to be fair with these incentives, but you also kind of have to be aggressive with these things."

He added that Kinston was competing with Pennsylvania and one other state for the company's expansion.

Dopaco, which is headquartered in Pennsylvania, supplies specialty paperboard packaging for the food industry -- producing paper cups, lids, food trays, pizza boxes, cartons and other products for companies such as McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's.

The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cascades Inc., with six manufacturing facilities across the country.

Currently the Kinston plant employs 204 people. The average annual salary for the 123 new positions will be $46,610, not including benefits -- more than the county average of $27,040.

"We are very excited about the growth and expansion slated for our Kinston facility," said Dopaco President Robert Cauffman in a written statement.

It was the latest announcement in a successful year for Lenoir County economic developers.

So far this year, Pope said, the county has seen 2,900 new jobs and $800 million in new investments as Premier Trailer Inc., Sanderson Farms Inc., Spirit AeroSystems Inc., and now Dopaco have all made announcements.

"It has been a real good year. We have been very fortunate, very blessed," he said.

The only blemish on the year's record is Reliance Industries USA Inc., which had committed to opening its first North American manufacturing facility near Kinston, but later backed out of the deal.

"We'd never had a company commit and then not come," Pope said.

But, he added, despite the economic downturn, they're "confident" the other projects will all come to full fruition.