09/26/11 — Local plant will add 137 jobs in county

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Local plant will add 137 jobs in county

By Steve Herring
Published in News on September 26, 2011 1:46 PM

Cooper Standard Auto-motive will make a $39.6 million investment to expand its Goldsboro operation on Woodland Church Road, while adding 137 new jobs.

The announcement was made this morning by Gov. Bev Perdue and plant manager Patrick Clark prior to the start of the governor's military summit at Walnut Creek Country Club.

Cooper Standard is a leading global automotive supplier of products for the body sealing, fuel, brake and emissions, thermal management and ant-vibration segments of the automotive industry. The project will enable the company to expand its body and chassis facility to accommodate new products and programs.

The company recently was awarded four new contracts that created the need for the new jobs by 2014, Wayne County Development Alliance officials said. The new jobs will have an average salary of more than $30,000, not including benefits.

What makes the expansion even more remarkable during the current economy was that it was not spurred by economic incentives, the governor said.

"You know that when you get a company to expand with no incentive it is because of the people in the community and the workforce," she said.

However, the company has been awarded $157,400 in One North Carolina Fund money. Wayne County commissioners will schedule a public hearing on the grant's requirement of a local match. The hearing had not been set as of press time today.

"This is a good announcement," Gov. Perdue said. "Today we are adding Cooper Standard Automotive to the list of growing companies in North Carolina. This is a Goldsboro company. It is here. You all know the employees and you know the management. This is a big deal for Wayne County and North Carolina."

Gov. Perdue said that while she was walking into the summit with Clark she asked him why the company had decided to expand in Goldsboro.

"He said, "Governor, we have been here for years. We understand this community and you all understand us,'" she said. "He also said it was about the quality of the workforce -- that the folks in Wayne County understand what you have got to do and the loyalty and tenacity."

Gov. Perdue called economic development a "team sport" in the state.

"This came about because of the work on the team here in Wayne County," she said. "You all have made this company a part of your community. You have helped stand it up, and you are proud of it. That is why Patrick and Cooper Standard are making this important announcement here today."

The Goldsboro plant opened in 1984 and expanded in 1997 to include a second facility. The two locations employ 373 full-time staff.

"Given our successful history in Goldsboro, we're confident in our decision to expand Cooper Standard's current footprint to meet increasing industry demands for new automotive products and technologies," said Larry Johnson, vice president for North America operations, said in a prepared statement. "Lever-aging our successful operations is one of our top priorities and North Carolina's strong workforce and business culture make it an ideal location for this type of expansion."

Development Alliance Chairman Jim Daniels said the announcement ties directly to the alliance's five-year strategic plan in the category of job creation.

"They are a great corporate citizen and we thank them for this expansion and their presence in Wayne County," he said.

Mike Haney, alliance vice president/existing industry specialist, said the alliance had been able to assemble a team of local and state leaders to "ensure the proposed expansion became a reality."