67 new jobs set to come to Wayne County
By Steve Herring
Published in News on January 5, 2013 10:40 PM
In one of her last acts in office, former Gov. Beverly Perdue and the Wayne County Developmental Alliance announced Friday nearly $6 million in total investments and 67 new jobs from new and existing industries in Wayne County.
In a move to Wayne County, animal feed company ACX Pacific Northwest Inc. plans to create 38 jobs and invest $4.7 million over the next three years as it renovates and leases the former 158,400-square-foot Carolina Tobacco Warehouse on Jeffreys Lane.
Salaries will vary by job function, but the average annual payroll for the new positions is expected to be more than $1 million.
Meanwhile, a $1 million expansion project will create 29 new jobs at Balfour Beatty Rail, Inc.'s Goldsboro Traction Power Group facility, which manufactures electrical components for the public transit industry, including light rail and streetcars.
Both projects are being funded, in part, by $60,000 grants from the state's One North Carolina Fund. The grants require a 100 percent local match by a unit of local government.
Wayne County and Goldsboro are each considering $30,000 matches for the Balfour Beatty project to fulfill that requirement, pending the scheduling of public hearings on the incentives. The county also is considering a $60,000 match for the ACX project, again pending the scheduling of a public hearing to address the issue.
The One NC Fund provides financial assistance, with the help of local governments, to attract business projects that will stimulate economic activity and create new jobs in the state. Companies receive no money up front and must meet job creation and investment performance standards to qualify for grant funds.
Balfour Beatty Rail provides design, engineering, construction and maintenance services for public and private railroad markets. The Goldsboro plant is part of Atlanta, Ga.-based Balfour Beatty, a global engineering, construction, services and investment organization specializing in large infrastructure and building programs.
The Goldsboro facility currently employs more than 50 people. Salaries for the new jobs will vary by job function, but the average salary will be $43,000, plus benefits which exceeds the county's average annual wage of $31,512.
"We have watched Balfour Beatty grow their operations in Goldsboro for some time now," said Mike Haney, alliance vice president/existing industry specialist. "Balfour Beatty's commitment to Wayne County is a testament to the relationship that exists between their leadership, the Development Alliance, the City of Goldsboro and the County of Wayne.
"We value them not only because of what they do, but because of who they are. It is a neat collaborative effort between the county, the city, the state, the Rural Center. Everyone has a role in it."
Haney said that the expansion is primarily the leasing of much-needed office space from Reuel Inc.
"They are just bursting at the seams," he said.
Transportation and infrastructure are very important to the success of industry in the county, said Chuck Allen, alliance board member and Goldsboro city councilman.
"To have an industry that provides support to the transportation sector like Balfour Beatty is a big deal for Wayne County," Allen said. "The city of Goldsboro welcomed the opportunity to partner in this project to help existing industry."
The new jobs are part of the Development Alliance's strategic plan of overall job creation, Allen said.
"The company acquired its Traction Power Group in 2010, and gives Balfour Beatty Rail the capability to manufacture custom power control centers, circuit breakers, controls, substations, AC switchgear and DC switchgear for trains. Beatty Rail anticipates a growing demand for mass transit construction opportunities around the U.S., including systems such as the Charlotte Light Rail System and the recently awarded Charlotte Street Car System.
"The company foresees the need for additional resources in the form of project engineers, project managers, document control, CAD and manufacturing personnel."
Balfour Beatty Rail acquired Reuel Inc.'s Traction Power Division in 2010.
The Traction Power Group was originally part of the IMPulse NC operation in Mount Olive, and two of the original founders of IMPulse are part of the Balfour Beatty operation. Reed, who is based in California, is the transit division vice president, and Tom Young, general manager, leads the operation locally.
Young previously worked at Reuel.
ACX Pacific Northwest, founded in 1978, is headquartered in Bakersfield, Calif., and is a leading supplier of long-fiber forage and roughage products including alfalfa hay, timothy hay, Sudangrass, oat hay and grass hay.
Its products are sold to the dairy, beef, horse, camel, goat and animal feed industries located in Asia and the Middle East. ACX plans to purchase hay products, such as Bermuda grass, directly from North Carolina farmers.
"This was a fast-paced project and the company made a fairly quick, yet thoughtful decision," said Joanna Helms, alliance president. "The consideration by the County of Wayne regarding the One NC grant and the cooperative efforts by the city of Goldsboro concerning the building renovations were the tipping points to get this project located here."
Grey Morgan, alliance chairman, called ACX "a sound addition" to the county's industrial community.
"In addition to the 38 direct new jobs, there will be multiple indirect jobs created for bailing crews, farm laborers, trucking personnel and more," Morgan said. "In this continued tough economy, the Development Alliance is grateful ACX chose Wayne County in which to locate their first East Coast operation."
"ACX is looking forward to working with farmers in North Carolina to transition the abundant Bermuda grass byproduct into a long-term, viable source of feed for our customers and partners overseas," said John M. Gombos, ACX president and CEO.