“Everything you touch has a coating,” said Myron Miller, vice-president, and general manager of FinishWorks, holding up a Calloway golf ball and pointing to a Monroe shock, a Heritage guitar, and a display of wood-stained cabinet door samples during a tour of the company’s blending/distribution facility in Mocksville.
A leading manufacturer of wood, metal, and specialty industrial coatings, FinishWorks opened its doors in Mocksville two years ago in the old Crown Wood building at 125 John Crotts Road. Since then, the company has developed $3 million a year in new business while shifting established customers over from its facility in Hickory. Local customers include Ashley Furniture, Funder America, and Beaufurn. Its paints and stains can be found on furniture by companies like Thomasville, Bassett, Henredon, and Drexel Heritage.
Last week the company celebrated its success with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and customer appreciation event complete with hamburgers, bratwurst, and homemade ice cream.
“We are really excited to be here in Davie County, you guys have been great,” replied Shane Withers, director of sales for FinishWorks. “We look forward to lots of years of growth here in Mocksville.”
FinishWorks is a subsidiary of RPM International, Inc., a global leader in specialty coatings that serves both the industrial and consumer markets. The company is comprised of eight regional blending/distribution facilities and two manufacturing plants. It’s known for providing color consistency as well as for developing leading-edge technology and trendsetting color design. One of the biggest breakthroughs in coatings in the last 50 years is the company’s isocyanate-free urethane coating.
According to Miller, FinishWorks was drawn to Mocksville because of its perfect location. It’s close to High Point and Charlotte and has a wealth of furniture and metal manufacturing companies within a 100-mile radius. In fact, a site survey revealed 1,066 companies radiating away from Mocksville like the spokes in a wheel.
Additionally, the area’s rich furniture heritage has provided a pool of highly-talented chemists for the facility’s custom blending operation.
“I like to hire “A” players, and they are definitely in this region,” Miller said. “These veterans are professionals and they are a dying breed.”
The company employees five full-time people in Mocksville in addition to sales staff.
FinishWorks – A Win-Win for Everyone
FinishWorks is like a paint store on steroids, a hybrid of both a paint store and manufacturer. The chemists in its color lab can match and custom blend paint and stain amounts ranging from one-gallon cans to 500-gallon batches.
“We are pretty nimble and can customize quickly,” said Miller. “If you brought in your grandmother’s antique desk drawer and wanted to match the color, we could do that right here in our color lab. Each of our locations has its own color lab where colors are developed every day. We probably develop between 200 to 250 colors company-wide every week.”
Although the company’s primary focus is coatings, it also sells related supplies. According to Miller, FinishWorks is the largest distributor of Kremlin spray equipment in North American. “Anyone who is going to buy our coating is also going to have to apply it.” The Mocksville facility also includes a showroom that sells paint and stain-related sundries to the public.
The facility serves as a distribution point for customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Florida, and Alabama.
Miller envisions that the entire cavernous warehouse will be filled floor-to-ceiling with product within the next five years and serve as a larger distribution point. “We don’t have the building full yet, but it’s been a great location for us,” he said with a smile.
“FinishWorks in Mocksville is a terrific example of the local supply chain economy in which a cluster of innovative small businesses moves into an area with large manufacturing operations and becomes part of a network of local suppliers, creating even more new jobs in the area,” said Terry Bralley, president of the Davie County Economic Development Commission. “This network of local suppliers, in turn, enables our local manufacturers to be nimble and responsive to market opportunities. It’s a win-win for everyone.“
To celebrate Manufacturing Day 2018, several local businesses and Davie County manufacturers provided a unique opportunity for all eighth-grade students in Davie County.
On October 5th, students from Ellis, North Davie, and South Davie Middle Schools each toured two different locations including DEX Heavy Duty Parts, Gildan, Ingersoll Rand, Pro Refrigeration, DCCC – Davie Campus, and WFBH-Davie Medical Center – Bermuda Run. Other students from all three schools spent their tour-time experiencing many different facets of Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc.
This is the second year Davie County has participated in National Manufacturing Day through the collaborative efforts of the Davie County Chamber of Commerce, Davie County Schools, Davie County Economic Development, DCCC, and the Davie business community.
Approximately 500 students and staff were exposed to the many outstanding career opportunities that exist here in the county. Business leaders provided informative tours including examples of how their employees use math, science, technology, and communication skills. Students were intrigued with the emphasis on safety, size of the facilities, variety of jobs including the educational requirements for the job, and the machinery used in the day-to-day operation of the businesses. DCCC showcased its many career paths to students who toured healthcare-related hands-on learning stations as well as the mobile manufacturing lab, an ambulance, a fire truck, and a tractor trailer used for the truck driving program.
Hosted annually, Manufacturing Day is a national event executed at the local level and typically focuses on manufacturing careers. “We expanded the types of businesses students visited to better align the many opportunities available here in Davie. By adding our state-of-the-art medical facility in Bermuda Run and expansive career path offerings at DCCC, our event was truly a “career exploration day” for our students,” said Carolyn McManamy, director of Davie CONNECT, a new workforce development initiative of Davie County Economic Development to connect businesses to resources and kids to careers.
“Middle school students are the next generation workforce and these tours are designed to expose them to career opportunities, show how their current and future curriculum ties to real-world careers and ignite interest in their future,” McManamy said. “During the tours, businesses showcased the scope of jobs available at their facilities and discussed the requisite higher education or skills training needed.”
Students were fascinated by what they experienced and appreciated the efforts of their tour guides and the employees that they had the opportunity to observe.
“I thought it was interesting learning how the business works,” said Genesis Antunez, a student from South Davie.
“I liked seeing how the robots worked. It was really cool,” added South Davie student, Cadyn Tanis.
“Everyone worked so hard to give us the chance to see what their jobs are and to give us ideas of what we might want to do in the future,” said North Davie student, Anna Johnson.
Zach Cline, also from North Davie, agreed and said, “I appreciated seeing how hard everyone worked and realized how everything had a purpose.”
The teachers were equally impressed with the experience.
“From a teacher’s perspective, it was great to see and hear how technology, automation, and teamwork are being used and developed at Ashley Furniture,” said Jamey Holt, who teaches math/social studies at North Davie. “The students were able to see that the traits teachers stress will be vital to their role in the workplace.”
Kristin Pitts, a science/social studies teacher at South Davie, commented, “It was interesting to see just how reliant each person is on the other people in their team. Without teamwork, production and higher wages would not be possible.”
“As a school district, it is our responsibility to make students aware of all educational and employment opportunities, and this collaborative effort is an excellent means to familiarize our students with the diverse careers available in Davie County,” said Anthony Davis, director of CTE and Federal Programs for Davie County High School. “MFG Day was also a wonderful learning experience for our middle school teachers who saw first-hand the practical application of the skills they are teaching in the classroom.”
Business and industry participants appreciated the chance to showcase their facilities as well as the career opportunities they have to offer to this future workforce.
“Ingersoll Rand participated in Manufacturing Day because we want to inspire the next generation of manufacturers,” said Ashley Kern, human resources generalist.
Matt Britt, marketing manager, Davie & Lexington Medical Centers, said, “Wake Forest Baptist Health Davie Medical Center passionately supports workforce development in any way we can. The youth in our county and the surrounding areas will be our health care workers of tomorrow, and we are proud to be able to invite them to our facility and show them some of what we do. We hope it has a positive impact on their future goals and endeavors.”
“We enjoy opening our doors every year to showcase our manufacturing facility to our area students,” said Clark Bunting, senior HR manager, Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc. “National Manufacturing Day is a great opportunity for Ashley Furniture to inspire and educate the future workforce about manufacturing careers and their benefits to our country.”
McManamy has been pleased with the great feedback she has received from businesses as well as the students and teachers. She and Davis appreciate everyone who helped make MFG Day 2018 a success. “This is the first in a series of programs that will directly connect our students to our businesses. The next steps will involve developing a formal program where students of various ages are exposed to a broad variety of career paths and educational opportunities. Aligning business needs with curriculum will ensure Davie County has a ready and able workforce to meet the challenges of businesses today and in the future.”
The need for additional sewer capacity in eastern Davie County has created roadblocks to commercial and residential growth for many years, but this limitation is coming to an end, thanks to the persistence of county leadership and a $2 million Economic Development Administration grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce.
In the works for more than two years, the grant provides partial funding for an overhaul and expansion of the wastewater system increasing capacity from 750,000 gallons per day to 2,000,000 gallons per day with a contractual agreement with the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County – City/County Utility Commission (CCUC) for 5,000,000 gallons per day. This will enhance the county’s ability to work with Wake Forest Baptist Health Davie Medical Center and others to grow the economy and spark future development.
The project is also expected to create at least 187 jobs, and spur $23 million in private investment.
“The purpose of this project is to expand the capacity of our wastewater treatment system in a way that protects the environment, and provides the capacity for responsible growth,” said County Manager, John Eller. “This additional infrastructure capacity will support sustainable long-term growth in the county for both residential and commercial development.”
“We are already a leader in the Piedmont Region, and in North Carolina, as it relates to job growth,” Eller said. “This project will allow us to further our strategic plan goals and to be intentional as we look to the future.”
Eller added that he appreciated the many hours of work that was put into the planning and execution by multiple partners, which ultimately led to the successful grant request.
According to the grant request, the proposed project was necessitated by several factors related to the North Eastern Davie Sewer Area (NEDSA). The eastern Davie wastewater collection system currently discharges into the Tanglewood Pump Station which is owned and operated by the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County – City/County Utility Commission (CCUC). The needs of the NEDSA are increasing as the area is poised for growth and CCUC has only approved a short-term agreement for additional capacity at which point a significant fee will be charged to Davie County for CCUC upgrade expenses. The waste flow projections for the NEDSA are projected to increase by about 9% from residential, commercial and industrial growth from 2019 to 2040. This projected growth in demand cannot be appropriately accommodated with the current system.
An agreement has been reached with CCUC whereby if Davie County constructs a pipeline to the Muddy Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, CCUC will no longer charge the county twice the rate paid by those inside the area for waste conveyance.
Furthermore, the Town of Bermuda Run currently owns and operates an aged package treatment facility that discharges into the Yadkin River. The state is currently developing new effluent limits governing nutrient discharge for facilities upstream of High Rock Lake that will require the plant to be expanded and its processes rebuilt. The cost for the Town of Bermuda Run to either pump to CCUC or upgrade its plant was estimated to be approximately 3 times more expensive than for it to participate in the NEDSA project; therefore, the efforts can be combined, and a project has been developed to address the needs of both Davie County and the Town of Bermuda Run.
According to Davie County Utilities Director, Johnny Lambert, the estimated cost of the project is $17,625,200 and includes the following specific improvements:
- Installation of 4,700 linear feet of 8-inch force main beginning at the Yadkin River Pump Station which will travel within the right-of-way of U.S. 158 and connect to the Smith Creek force main that will be repurposed as the new Yadkin River force main.
- Pump replacement at the Yadkin River Pump Station to fit the new force main system requirements.
- Demolition of the Smith Creek Pump Station.
- Installation of 3,400 linear feet of 18-inch gravity interceptor along Smith Creek to the new Bermuda Run West Pump Station.
- Construction of the new Bermuda Run West Pump station at the end of Talwood Drive.
- Installation of 6,800 linear feet of 16-inch force main from the Bermuda Run West Pump Station to the new East Davie Transfer Pump Station.
- Construction of the new East Davie Pump Station.
- Installation of 31,000 linear feet of 20-inch force main to convey wastewater to the (Forsyth County) Muddy Creek Treatment Plant.
The county has been approved for a 20-year state revolving fund loan with an interest rate of 1.5 percent to fund the balance of the project. The expected cost saving of $4.9 million in conveyance fees over the loan period will be applied to paying off the loan.
Lambert said the new sewer collection system is slated to begin construction in February 2019 and should be completed in December 2020. The county has begun advertising the project and will begin accepting bids on October 17th, 2018.
Davie County Commissioner Chairman, Terry Renegar, noted, “The NEDSA project is a proactive step for anticipated residential and commercial growth in Davie County in the coming years. I appreciate all that our county staff, elected officials, economic development partners, the Piedmont Triad Regional Council, State of North Carolina, Federal Economic Development Administration, and other key stakeholders have done to make this vision a reality.”
Less than a year after breaking ground on a 75+ acre expansion to the SouthPoint Industrial Business Park in Mocksville, The Hollingsworth Companies are starting the second facility in the four-building expansion to the park.
This tenth building, a 253,180 square foot steel and masonry industrial space that will feature 30’ clear height, 60 foot by 60-foot column spacing and high intensity LED lighting, is expected to be available for lease at the end of the first quarter of 2019.
The ninth building in the park, a 108,960 SF facility built on spec., is currently available for a long-term lease by a light manufacturing and/or distribution company. Two additional buildings are planned in the park, a 152,160 SF facility that can be expanded to 238,590 SF and a 130,344 SF facility that can be expanded to 259,944. Both are expected to be constructed in 2019.
The Hollingsworth Companies have been a long-time supporter of the Davie County community since introducing SouthPoint, the area’s first industrial park, in 1997.
“I would like to thank the community for being willing to invest time, effort, and money into being a true partner in making this park successful and I want to thank the entire county for their willingness to help us develop their area,” said Joe Hollingsworth, owner, and CEO of the Hollingsworth Companies.
“Mocksville could not have asked for a better business partner than the Hollingsworth Companies,” stated Mocksville’s Mayor, Will Marklin. “It has been a pleasure working with such a professional organization that has helped bring so many employers to our town since 1997. With their new buildings coming online in the near future, Mocksville will remain at the forefront of economic development in this booming economy.”
Terry Bralley, president of the Davie County Economic Development Commission, added, “Mocksville-Davie County has been the envy of rural communities in North Carolina for 20 years. Our community has developed the perfect public-private partnership to support an industrial park with speculative buildings bringing 100’s of jobs and new investment to our community.”
“Hollingsworth believed in our community when others did not. Without industrial buildings in today’s fast-paced environment, communities do not have the opportunity to grow future jobs.
Our long-time partnership with Hollingsworth, the largest non-urban industrial real estate developer and construction firm in the southeast United States, continues to create an incredible winning story for our community, of which we are most grateful.”
Located on US Hwy 601, just north of I-40 and convenient to both I-85 and I-77, SouthPoint is a natural choice for logistics and has become a superb location for light manufacturing. Workforce development efforts by the Davie Campus of Davidson County Community College, a strong work ethic rooted in an agricultural history, and people who would rather work close to home than drive into an urban area have all contributed to the high productivity that is part of the park’s success.
Thanks to Southpoint Business Park. Comfort Bilt, Gesipa Fasteners, Metal Sales Manufacturing, Davie Warehousing, Dunlop Aircraft Tyres, Entrematic, Concordance Healthcare Solutions, and Morrisofa Global Inc.now call Davie County home, and they have provided the community with hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in investments.
About The Hollingsworth Companies
The Hollingsworth Companies, based in Clinton, TN, is the largest non-urban industrial real estate developer and construction firm in the southeastern United States with 125 tenants and eighteen million square feet of industrial space spread over 15 states. The Hollingsworth Companies has facilities located in North Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. For more information about The Hollingsworth Companies, contact, Tom Mann, Senior Vice President of Industrial Real Estate, at 865.457.3701, firstname.lastname@example.org
Saber Health is investing in a new 59,000 square foot, 108-bed state-of-the-art skilled-nursing facility on Madison Road in Mocksville. Slated to open in early 2019, the new Davie Health & Rehabilitation Center will replace Autumn Care of Mocksville, which the company purchased in March of 2016.
The old 33,000 square foot facility on Howard Street was built in several phases beginning in the 1950’s and continuing through the early 1990’s. It currently staffs 79 beds and offers skilled nursing care, rehabilitation services, and respite care.
The new location will provide an expanded rehabilitation center, more private rooms with private bathrooms, and an indoor courtyard where residents can visit together or with their guests. The new facility will also allow the company to offer outpatient therapy which will be accessed through a separate entrance.
Darin Asbill, the administrator, says this new modern facility will allow the company to better meet the current and future needs of the community and Autumn Care’s patients and employees.
Autumn Care of Mocksville currently employs 97 full-time, part-time, and PRN employees, but Asbill anticipates that number will increase as the facility reaches full capacity.
Terry Bralley, president of the Davie County Economic Development Commission, is thrilled with the expansion and considers it a testament to the ease of doing business in Davie County and to its prime location near I-40.
“One of Davie County’s greatest assets is its existing industries and businesses,” said Bralley. “It is always so rewarding to see them reinvesting here because when they succeed our community succeeds. Please join me in thanking Saber Healthcare for its continuing commitment to our community.“
Saber Healthcare Group was founded in 2001 with two skilled nursing facilities near Cleveland, Ohio and has grown to more than 100 nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Delaware, Florida, Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
You can follow along and get updates on progress by visiting Saber Healthcare Group on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SaberHealthCare.
You can’t teach what you don’t know. Six Davie County educators recently became the students as they toured area companies to gain a deeper understanding of the skills needed by employers that will help their students find meaningful careers and local industry to grow.
During the six-day externship, the educators from Davie County High School and Davidson County Community College (DCCC) toured Ashley Furniture, CommScope, CPP Global, Wake Forest Baptist Health – Davie Medical Center, Flow Honda of Winston-Salem, Ingersoll Rand, Pro Refrigeration, Inc., and VF Jeanswear to learn about all facets of their business. They even received hands-on experience at Ashley Furniture where they constructed the frame of a couch and at CPP Global where they each had the opportunity to operate a different machine to make, label, or pack jars made for companies like Clinique and Estee Lauder.
The group also visited Big Brothers Big Sisters of Davie County to learn more about the services the organization offers students and families and the role it can play in helping students reach their full potential.
Visits ranged from a couple of hours to a whole day, based upon the amount of information the host location had to share.
Together we are Davie – Five-Year Economic Growth Project
The purpose of the community partnership between Davie County High School, Davidson County Community College (DCCC), Davie County Economic Development Commission (DCEDC) and Davie County industry is to make local students aware of workforce opportunities and technological needs by providing relevant immersion experiences for Davie County High School teachers and DCCC faculty. Through these summer externships with local businesses in the areas of Career and Technical Education (CTE) and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), teachers and faculty are connected to their related industries to renew their understanding of current industry practices and technology as well as the soft skills necessary for success in the organization.
“The summer externship is a tremendous collaborative effort between Davie County Schools, our Economic Development Council, The Chamber of Commerce, the Mebane Foundation, and our local businesses,” said Anthony Davis, director of CTE and Federal Programs for Davie County High School, who organized and led this year’s program. “This externship offers the opportunity for educators to learn from and create positive relationships with our business community. As a school district, it is our responsibility to make students aware of all educational and employment opportunities, and this collaborative externship is an integral piece in that communication.”
“Teachers, community leaders, and business leaders who collaborate can be helpful to our young people and our community,” said Donna Dunn, STEM English teacher at Davie County High School. “Perspective and relationships are so important. I want my students to have broad perspectives, so I need to walk that walk too.”
This workforce development partnership, which started in 2014, is funded by the Mebane Charitable Foundation’s $50,000 contribution to the EDC’s five-year economic growth plan, Together We Are Davie.
DCEDC President, Terry Bralley, is grateful to the individuals and companies that contributed to the capital campaign and shared the vision for growing Davie County.
“Together We are Davie provided the means to bring this valuable program to the community,” Bralley said. “It’s amazing what happens when you unleash people’s creativity. This truly is a remarkable community.”
Passion Drives Davie Educators to Explore Local Career Opportunities
The externship program was open to all CTE and STEM teachers and counselors. The participants were selected through an application process at each institution and received a daily stipend and mileage for their time. The knowledge they gained will be shared with their students and fellow teachers.
In addition to Davis and Dunn, this year’s participants included John Hardee, DCCC math; Elizabeth Gordon, lead guidance counselor; Sandie Hinkle, CTE (family and consumer science); Mary Sells, CTE (family and consumer science); and Leigha Wilson, STEM math from Davie High.
Each was motivated to participate by a passion for helping their students succeed, not only in school, but in life.
“I applied for the opportunity so that I could learn more about the type of jobs available for our graduates,” said Gordon. “I learned that all the businesses we visited had job openings. Many of them hire students right out of high school. They are looking for workers with a positive attitude, strong work ethic, and that are teachable.
Many employers expressed concern that applicants could not pass the drug test or were not dependable once hired. All the businesses were willing to train and even pay for schooling if the employee was committed to the company.”
“I will use the information to share with students the skills necessary for various plants and the characteristics that employers are looking for in their applicants,” she added.
Dunn said the experience reinforced the importance of teaching soft skills in addition to technical skills.
She was also pleased to see that many of the companies raise up employees who show leadership promise.
“If you want to hustle, you will have a future in many/most of these companies. If you have leadership and people skills, you will advance. I met one line supervisor who was a dynamic individual who began as a custodian and after a few short years became a line supervisor. His goal is that his people on the line make more money on any given day than he does because of the line’s functioning with fluidity. I hope to invite him to speak at the high school.”
“The message was that if you have technical skills and/or technical education (rather than a four-year degree), you are employable–especially if you have people skills!!!!”
Companies Getting the Word Out about Local Career Opportunities,
The opportunity to share that message and to let high school and community college students know that there are jobs available was the primary reason Flow Honda chose to participate in the externship, according to Dean Hines, sales manager. Representatives from the other corporate participants agreed.
“Ingersoll Rand participated in the Externship Program because we understand the importance of a relationship between Davie County Schools and Ingersoll Rand,” said Ashley Kern, human resources generalist. “It’s so important for teachers and administrators to understand local businesses so they can better prepare their students, who are the future of our company!”
“Wake Forest Baptist Health Davie Medical Center strongly believes that we need to support our community,” said Matt Britt, marketing manager, Davie and Lexington Medical Centers. “The benefit for us is short-term in the sense that we get to connect with community leaders in education and affirm our commitment, but it is also long-term as we have the chance to help support the development of our local workforce. Hopefully, this program helps these school employees lead a young student to consider the Healthcare industry and the many roles we are always working to fill with smart, hard-working, and caring individuals. We expect to participate in this program again.
Jacky Spivey, plant manager at VF Jeanswear, added, “This is the second or third year we have participated in the externship, and we will participate again next year if asked. I think it is beneficial to us and other local industry if the teachers understand our needs and concerns when looking for potential new hires. Hopefully, by participating, they will be better able to describe and explain what the requirements are to be successful employees.”
In addition to highlighting career opportunities available locally, the tours also served to dispel preconceived notions about today’s advanced manufacturing.
Teachers Learning About Local Career Options
“Seeing hands on what happens in the plants, I was super impressed with each of the job sites we visited,” said Gordon. “I did not know the extent of production at any of the plants. I learned what was made at CPP Global. Despite driving past this plant for several years to go to the old high school, I never knew that they made jars for various companies like Clinique make-up. It was a wonderful experience. I wish all our teachers and students could tour the plants.”
“I learned that modern manufacturing is much more aware of safety than my paradigms suggested,” said Dunn. “I have lived and worked in the county many years, but I still learned a lot. I would love to do this externship again next year! It was a wonderful opportunity. We asked so many questions that we threw every site host off schedule. That’s what we do! (And what we want our kids to do–ask, ask, ask!)”
Her favorite part, talking to the people on the floor. “I ran into some of my former students who were working hard, doing well, and who have families they are supporting! I LOVED that!”
Although not a potential employer, Big Brothers Big Sisters had equally valuable information to share as part of the collaboration.
“Big Brothers Big Sisters enjoyed taking part in the Externship Program,” said Jenna Hendricks, director of programs. “It’s a great way to meet some of the wonderful Davie County High School staff and share information about the organization. BBBS was able to share information regarding programs and resources that are offered to students at the elementary, middle and high school level. BBBS benefited from hearing the needs that the teachers and students are facing on a consistent basis. Big Brothers Big Sisters knows that we can’t combat adversity facing youth alone. It takes community collaboration to make sure every child achieves success. We are excited for the next opportunity to participate”
Davis is grateful to the organizations that allowed the externs entry into their facilities and hopes that additional businesses will want to participate next summer.
“I’m truly trying to create a partnership,” he said. “I want to include as many businesses as possible. We want our local businesses to know that we aren’t just coming to them for a handout, we really want to give back to them. We want to know what they need in an employee at all different levels, from just graduating high school to a two-year degree or four-year degree. Just because a kid goes to Carolina and graduates with a degree doesn’t mean they can’t come back and have a successful career in Davie County.
“Communication is key. For the businesses to get their word out, they need us, and for us to get the word out, we need them. Businesses are telling us they can’t fill slots. We want them to know that we are a direct pipeline to community workforce development. Through communication and collaboration, we can be utilized as an important avenue for these workforce vacancies,” he added. “We need to make sure the students know all of their options. We don’t want to steer any child toward a direction they do not want to go, but we need to make sure that they and their parents know all of the opportunities that are in Davie County.”
The central portion of the manufacturing facility off Eaton Road was heavily damaged by a fire last December. Brakebush plans to restore the 72,000 square foot plant with state-of-the-art processing equipment. The updated facility will accommodate three production lines when fully utilized, which is projected for spring 2019.
According to Brakebush’s website, the company is retaining the employment of many of the management, administrative and hourly staff. When at full capacity, the plant will employ over 300 team members, and hiring will begin in early spring.
Bob Johnson, the CEO of House of Raeford, said, “ House of Raeford is pleased that Brakebush, one of the country’s premier further processing companies, will rebuild, upfit and continue to operate the Mocksville plant following the fire last December. The transaction will maintain quality employment and business opportunities in the community through the continued operation of this facility. We appreciate the patience of our employees through this transition.”
“In addition to the asset sale, the transaction provides for long-term reciprocal supply agreements between the parties. In addition to continued production and employment in the area, this transaction will result in an assured supply of raw material for Brakebush and its customers, and a continued supply of quality, fully cooked chicken products for House of Raeford customers.”
“We remain committed to our employees, and working together toward continued growth and success,” he added.
House of Raeford has paid the plant’s employees their normal wages since the fire on December 14, 2017, and despite the sale of the plant, will continue to do so through December 14, 2018, according to Bobbi Krieger, human resource manager.
Terry Bralley, president of the Davie County Economic Development Commission, has been impressed with the steps House of Raeford has taken to care for its employees and appreciates its presence in Davie County.
“Thank you, House of Raeford for being such a wonderful community partner and for taking care of your employees in such a meaningful way. Davie County has been fortunate to have you as part of our community.”
He also welcomed Brakebush Brothers, saying, “It’s difficult to see a great company go, but we look forward to a new and mutually rewarding relationship with Brakebush in the months and years to come.”
About Brakebush Brothers, Inc.
Family-owned and operated since 1925, Brakebush Brothers, Inc. provides a complete line of further processed chicken with over 200 products for the foodservice industry. The company is headquartered in Westfield, WI with additional operations in Irving, TX and Wells, MN. Visit www.brakebush.com for more information.
The first to complete Ingersoll Rand’s apprenticeship program which began in 2015, Moore is now a full-time employee in the Mocksville plant’s maintenance department.
“Craig is our first success story and a poster child for the program,” Kern, human resources generalist, said with a smile. “He did an awesome job in the apprenticeship program, finished his schooling at DCCC, and the maintenance team has had really positive things to say about him. We are thrilled to now have him on board full time.”
Moore, who works third shift troubleshooting and repairing machinery, is equally excited and said, “I don’t just have a job, I’ve found a career.”
The Mocksville plant supports the Compression Technology Services Branch of Ingersoll Rand through the manufacturing of Rotary, Centrifugal, and Thermo King air compressors and fabricating parts for its Trane businesses.
Apprenticeship Program is a Pathway to Success
Like many companies across the nation, IR began its apprenticeship program to address the retirements of an aging workforce as well as a critical skills gap in the younger population.
“We have many employees, particularly in our maintenance department and machine shop, who will be retiring within the next ten years,” Kern said. “A lot of their knowledge is tribal knowledge based on what they have learned over time. Although we are documenting processes as fast as we can, there are so many different variances to processes and products that it is hard to get it all. We need them to be able to share their knowledge with new employees, but nationally, there aren’t many people going to school to be in maintenance, to be an electrician, a welder, a machinist, or to do a lot of these manufacturing trades.”
“Our goal is to find those students who don’t necessarily want to go to school to get a four-year degree. We want to find students interested in going to community college and who like to work with their hands, who like to take things apart and put them back together, who like to tinker with cars, who like to do these hands-on skilled trades and then give them a career path and find an opportunity for them.”
“We want to be ahead of that skills gap curve, and we want to help these students find a home but we also selfishly need employees who have this background, who have this skill set, and who have this knowledge. Maintenance employees are extremely important to the success of our company. According to the Machining Operations Manager, Stacy West, when a machine is down the company is losing $200 per hour.”
“Ingersoll Rand decided to make a big investment in students by paying them $14 an hour, which is significantly above minimum wage, to work 20 hours a week while attending classes at Davidson Community College to become a maintenance technician. We also pay for all of their tuition and all of their books. Our apprentices earn a degree, come out debt free, and have a full-time job opportunity waiting for them.”
“I took a couple of welding classes my sophomore year and met Janet Barnes (career and technical education (CTE) facilitator at Davie High) who told me about the Ingersoll Rand apprenticeship program and pushed me to apply,” Moore said. “I had no idea what I wanted to do, but graduation was coming quickly, and I had to do something. I knew I definitely wanted to do something with my hands; I’ve always worked on cars with my dad and grandparents. The apprenticeship program sounded like an excellent program, and I liked the idea of coming out of school not owing anything and having a great job. Ingersoll Rand has always been here, so I knew it would be a great place to work.”
His parents were enthusiastic about the opportunity and encouraged him to apply.
“They also liked the idea of not having to pay for college,” Moore said with a grin. “My dad started in maintenance and is now a plant manager at Alston Enclosures in Yadkinville, so they understood what a wonderful opportunity this could be for me.”
“I was worried about the school part at first, but it worked out well. If I had questions about what I was doing in school, I could come here, and the guys here would explain stuff to me and help me with my assignments.”
Moore graduated from high school in June and began the apprenticeship the first week of August. The program is designed to take around four years to complete because participants generally take a partial course load while working an average of 20 hours per week. A typical schedule would involve classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and work on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Once he got started, Moore opted to accelerate the program by going to school full-time while also working full-time. He completed the program in a little over 2 ½ years.
“I wanted to be able to put myself as far forward in life as I could. I will be able to buy a house instead of paying off college debt,” he said.
Kern is impressed by his efforts. “Craig is a real go-getter and took it upon himself to speed up the program, but we certainly don’t expect that,” she said. “When we talk to students, we promote the four-year plan, but because our maintenance department and machine shop operate on three shifts, we have the flexibility to work with students to find a schedule that best fits their needs.”
“A lot of high schoolers don’t want to do anything with their hands, they want a desk job and don’t want to get dirty, but I would definitely recommend Ingersoll Rand’s apprenticeship program if it is offered to them. It’s been a good thing for me personally,” Moore said. “I’m thankful for Mrs. Barnes’ support. Who knows where I’d be if she hadn’t put those papers in my hands and I hadn’t filled them out?”
Pleased with the program’s success so far, IR is expanding the program this fall to include three maintenance and three machining apprenticeships.
Applicants must be enrolled/plan to enroll in classes at DCCC in the summer or fall of 2018. To apply, visit Ingersoll Rand’s career website: www.ingersollrand.com/careers.
Ingersoll Rand is expanding its operations with plans to create 25 jobs and invest nearly $30 million in the Mocksville plant by the end of 2019. The Mocksville plant sits on 130 acres in Davie County, employs around 400 full-time employees, and supports the Compression Technology Services Branch of Ingersoll Rand through the manufacturing of Rotary, Centrifugal, and Thermo King air compressors and fabricating parts for our Trane businesses.
The capital investment is the result of the plant’s endeavor to become Ingersoll Rand’s “showcase facility,” according to Ashley Kern, Senior Human Resources Generalist. “Becoming a showcase facility is a three-pronged approach: 1) Process Capability – which is why we are investing a significant amount of money into our equipment. 2) People Capability – we are also investing in our people so that the organization can grow and mature. 3) The appearance of the facility – this is as simple as new paint, better lighting, and the cleanliness of the plant.”
In Region, For Region
“Ingersoll Rand operates by an “in region, for region” strategy which means we build a product in the region in which we want to sell it,” Kern said. “As a result of the recent closing of an Ingersoll Rand plant in Oberhausen, Germany and the in-sourcing of the contact-cooled airend product to the Mocksville plant, the company has made twenty local hires and we aren’t finished yet!” Kern said.
“We offer highly competitive wages, and our health, dental, and vision insurance, life insurance, and 401K benefits begin on day one, which is rather rare,” Kern said. “Our 401K match is significantly better than the industry standard with a dollar for dollar match up to six percent, plus an additional two percent from the company.”
IR Investments Improving Lives at Work & in the Community
Aesthetically, Ingersoll Rand has committed capital to renovate bathrooms, the employee break room, paint the floors, and replace the ceiling lighting.
“We are buying oil scrubbers to clean the air of the machine shop so that it is a more comfortable work environment for our machinists,” she said. “There are a lot of good things happening to improve the environment and to make this plant a showcase facility for Ingersoll Rand.”
Ingersoll Rand is also expanding its focus on reinvesting in the community through donations, time, and supplies.
“Our leadership team is involved with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and we are trying to participate more with Relay for Life and the Dragonfly House and other community organizations. We’ve also started donating food and supplies leftover from large events to Just HOPE.”
“We are making a significant, intentional attempt to give back to the community, and the employees are asking for it. They are driving us to action.”
“I believe there are a lot of big things on the horizon for this plant,” Kern said with a smile.
Terry Bralley, president of the Davie County Economic Development Commission, appreciates the significant role Ingersoll Rand has played in the community for more than 50 years.
“Mocksville and Davie County are proud to host Ingersoll Rand, one of the leaders in the world in advanced manufacturing,” said Bralley. “For decades Ingersoll Rand has been the crown jewel of our community, providing jobs, and developing skills in the workforce for generations. This continued investment into their machining operation is great news for the future of this facility and our community. Their efforts in the community speak volumes about the commitment from the managers and workforce.”
About Ingersoll Rand
Ingersoll Rand is a diversified industrial manufacturer with market-leading brands serving customers in global commercial, industrial and residential markets.
The Mocksville plant opened in 1965 and began machining rotary components for air compressors. Since then, the Mocksville team has manufactured assemblies and components for many products within Ingersoll Rand’s product portfolio. The plant has experienced tremendous growth over the last several years as select assembly operations for Trane and Thermo King equipment were moved to the Mocksville plant.
To apply for a job at Ingersoll Rand visit: www.IngersollRand.com/Careers
After five years of successfully attracting manufacturing companies that created thousands of new jobs and millions of dollars in investments, Davie County had a problem — no more buildings and no more workers.
“All of our working inventory had been absorbed into the system, and our unemployment rate had dropped to 3.7 percent which is almost fully employed,” said Terry Bralley, the president of the Davie County Economic Development Commission.
But rather than resting on its laurels, Bralley says the Economic Development Commission treated 2017 as a “building year” and worked to replenish Davie County’s supply of buildings and sought ways to provide companies with qualified employees.
“We know that 85% of industries that are looking today want an existing structure.
We are helping the private sector to develop industrial parks so that we have new buildings and building sites available. We are also concerned about the workforce and are seeking ways to add value moving forward by developing apprenticeship programs and working with the high school, the community college, and industry to facilitate engagement. We do realize that we have full employment here and we are working on ways to connect the schools and industry in a way they have not been connected in the past and to show our young people opportunities they may not have known existed,“ he said.
Rural infrastructure grants allowed the Hollingsworth Companies to expand the SouthPoint Business Park which now has a 108,000 sq ft. speculative building ready and three graded, pad-ready sites which would allow a building to be built in 6 to 8 months. The commission is also in conversation with Windsor Commercial of Greensboro to provide additional speculative buildings.
Bralley said that economic development involves periods of growth and periods of preparation. Last year’s lull in development allowed the commission to analyze its process and focus on the future.
“We are always looking for ways to get better which is why we are currently working on a new five-year strategic plan to determine where we need to be, where the jobs are going to be, and what we need to do to take advantage of those opportunities,” Bralley said. “The plan paves the way for the future for the next five to ten years and gives our leadership a comprehensive roadmap to follow.”
Ted Abernathy, an economic development & strategic planning consultant with 35 years of experience in directing economic development and workforce development programs, was hired to prepare a five-year economic development strategic plan for Davie County. The report provides a comprehensive review of all existing economic development strategies, an evaluation of the current economic state of the county, an assessment of trends impacting Davie County’s economic competitiveness, and a cluster analysis for Davie County with recommendations for future targets.
Abernathy presented his report to around 150 local leaders and federal, state, and local elected officials at the State of Davie meeting on March 9th.
During his presentation, he shared statistics comparing Davie County to both rural and metro counties as well as to the state of North Carolina as a whole. Those areas included job growth, percentage of jobs by sector, and the number of housing units,
Davie County has outpaced its neighbors in job growth, and is up 29.7 percent since 2010 compared to a state average of 12.5 percent. Davie County’s percentage of manufacturing jobs is more than double the state average while the combined percentage of white collar jobs in the financial, business, and professional sector and health and education is significantly lower.
Conversely, the county has had a relatively flat housing market with only a one percent increase from 2010-2016. The number of housing units has increased in North Carolina by 4.8 percent in the same time. To attract young professionals to Davie County, there is a need for modern updated rental housing.
Abernathy indicated that by understanding Davie County’s competitive position, leadership can better allocate the community’s resources. He added that the economic development goal of successful places requires a mix of factors including the depth of workforce talent, the business climate including costs and regulatory issues, the connective infrastructure (roads, air service, water & sewer, broadband), currently available buildings and shovel-ready sites, and the quality of life factors that appeal to current and potential workers.
His recommendations for continued economic growth included:
- Maintaining an inventory of zoned shovel-ready sites with existing utilities, that are competitively prices and located at appropriate places
- Increasing the availability of skilled labor
- Analyzing the county’s incentive policies and prioritizing companies that offer wages that exceed the county average
- Offering positive quality of life factors like low crime rate, quality public schools, health care facilities, housing availability, housing costs, colleges & universities in the area, recreational opportunities, cultural opportunities
- Attracting new housing and new younger residents
Download Abernathy’s entire Davie County EDC 2018 Strategic Plan report.
In addition to Abernathy’s recommendations, Bralley considers leadership development critical to Davie County’s long-term growth, and alignment key to its continued success.
“We’ve had a great group of people here who have worked together on a lot of projects. The next generation needs to know how that was done and how to do it even better. We need to ensure that our future is in the hands of people who are informed and understand where we have been and are equipped to take us where we need to go in the future,” he said.
“We need to align all of our energy — the towns, the county, the schools, the community college — and make sure we are all aimed in the right direction and aligned with the region and the state in terms of the types of companies and clusters we are trying to attract,” Bralley said. “We are learning from what we’ve done and looking at new and better ways of creating opportunities for business and industry to come to Davie County.”
This story was originally published in the Progressive Davie insert in the Davie County Enterprise on March 22, 2018 and is reprinted here with permission.