10/26/12 — Cooper Standard named top industry

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Cooper Standard named top industry

By Steve Herring
Published in News on October 26, 2012 1:46 PM

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Cooper Standard was honored Thursday night as Wayne County Industry of the Year. Seated from left are Betty Brock, senior human resources specialist, Mike Hall, engineering, and Mary Kolb, quality assurance, all with the company. Standing are Joanna Helms, president of the Wayne County Development Alliance; Britt Tolar, business unit manager, Tom Smith, plant comptroller, Van Sealey, business unit manager, Patrick Clark, plant manager, all of Cooper Standard; and Mike Haney, Development Alliance vice president/existing industry specialist.

Cooper Standard Thursday night was recognized as Wayne County Industry of the Year, not only because of its business operation, local economic development officials said, but because it is a "total community supporter," as well.

"They are not just one to do their operations and close down at 5 o'clock," said Mike Haney, Wayne County Development Alliance vice president/existing industry specialist.

The company supports the community in a number of ways, Haney said during a reception at the Goldsboro Country Club, which wrapped up the annual three-day Wayne County Industry Celebration sponsored by the Development Alliance.

"They are members of the Chamber," he said. "They support United Way and a lot of other charities. Their employees are involved in a lot of civic organizations.

"They are pretty much a total package. They do these things, not for recognition, but because of who they are."

That is readily seen in the company's outstanding overall contributions to the community and to its employees, he said.

The company also is a strong supporter of Wayne Community College and the public schools, he said.

"They open doors for tours," Haney said. "A lot of these students who are not going to be college bound, they can find a career at Cooper Standard and other industries like that. They have great pay, great benefits and they are growing. They are a great company and we are glad they call Wayne County home."

The company last fall announced a $17.9 million expansion project at its Woodland Church Road facility. The expansion would add 137 new jobs. General Motors will invest another $21.7 million which will allow Cooper Standard to make parts for the Chevy Cruze, BMW X15 and a Dodge sedan.

The company is a leading global automotive supplier of products for the body sealing, fuel, brake and emissions, thermal management and anti-vibration segments of the automotive industry. It opened its Goldsboro plant in 1984.

"This has been a very fortunate year for us," plant manager Patrick Clark said. "We have made a tremendous investment. We have been very fortunate to hire a lot of people from Wayne County. The help of the Development Alliance has been tremendous. We are very lucky, the automotive industry has come back very strong. We have identified the Goldsboro facility as an opportunity for us to continue to provide growth for Cooper Standard.

"We look forward to an optimistic 2013. We think as a whole things are starting to settle down and turn around and head in a positive direction. We now compete globally here out of the Goldsboro facility. That has in turn allowed us to add additional headcount into our facility. We look to have continuing opportunities going forward."

Prior to presenting the award, Haney said that it has been another challenging year for local industries.

"But we continue to see some positive signs," he said. "Many of our industries have more employees than they did at the first of the year. Some companies have invested in state-of-the-art equipment to make manufacturing processes more productive.

"Many employees are working more hours than they were at the first of the year. Some of the industries have increased the number of shifts that they are running. This reflects that additional orders are being placed with our companies. So we are optimistic that in 2013 things will continue on the road to recovery. In times of uncertainty who do we depend on? We count on our existing industry."

They play a significant role, employ county residents, contribute to local charities, provide leadership and pay taxes, he said.