Borealis Compounds, Inc., a supplier of plastic materials to the automotive industry, will locate a new production facility in Alexander County. The company is purchasing the 50,000 square foot Alexander Railroad Shell Building, and plans to initially invest $15 million in the new plant and create 37 jobs.
The announcement was made on Tuesday, May 23 by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, and by David Icenhour, Executive Director of the Alexander County Economic Development Corporation. Icenhour made the announcement at Tuesday night’s meeting of the Alexander County Board of Commissioners.
“North Carolina is known for its vibrant network of automotive industry suppliers, and Borealis is a welcome addition,” Governor Cooper said. “These are exactly the kind of good-paying, advanced manufacturing jobs that communities like Taylorsville need, and our skilled workers are ready to get to work.”
At the commission meeting on Tuesday, Icenhour expressed his excitement about Borealis Compounds choosing Alexander County and purchasing the Alexander Railroad Shell Building, which was funded by the Alexander Railroad Company to attract a major industry to the county.
“Borealis is an international company, and they evaluated numerous other sites. Our selection for this facility speaks well for the economic development effort of local and state governments. We are very fortunate to have them in Alexander County. They have a very strong business model, which we’re very confident will result in a long-term presence in Alexander County,” Icenhour stated. “It’s a great company for Alexander County, and I am very appreciative of the total team effort put forth for this project.”
Icenhour expressed his appreciation to North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, North Carolina General Assembly, Appalachian Regional Commission, North Carolina Department of Commerce, Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, North Carolina Department of Transportation, North Carolina Railroad Company, Alexander Railroad Company, Matthews Construction, North Carolina Community College System, Western Piedmont Council of Governments, Alexander County Economic Development Corporation, and Alexander County Government.
Milton Campbell, Chairman of the Alexander County Board of Commissioners, expressed his appreciation to everyone involved, but especially to the Alexander Railroad Company.
“I appreciate the vision that Alexander Railroad Company had to build the shell building. It’s not easy to build something without a tenant; you’re taking that risk,” Campbell said. “It was a joint venture, with assistance from Alexander County, but the heavy lifting was done by Alexander Railroad Company as far as the capital injection. We appreciate the vision to make this happen.”
Ken Wiecoreck, President of Borealis, was present at Tuesday night’s meeting along with his colleague Jakub Oliverius, who is the Business Development Manager for the company’s automotive division in North America.
Wiecoreck echoed Campbell’s remarks, that without the shell building, the company would not be locating in Alexander County. He also praised the site’s possibility for expansion, which was another attractive element for the site.
“I appreciate the foresight of the Alexander Railroad Company. We evaluated about 40 different locations in multiple states,” Wiecoreck related. “The shell building really made a tangible vision for us. You had a clear commitment to having some industry in this area, and it was really clear to us and it helped us make the decision.”
Ben Zachary, President and General Manager for the Alexander Railroad Company, expressed his enthusiasm for the project, and for those involved in making it a reality.
“This doesn’t happen very happen very often, and it only happens when everyone works together,” Zachary said. “The railroad being the developer and the service provider for the building allowed us to set the bar high. We wanted a clean manufacturer, we wanted a good corporate citizen, we wanted a significant bump in the tax base for an industry, we want well-paying jobs, and we wanted a rail user,” Zachary continued. “I’m proud to say that Borealis cleared that bar. I want to thank Borealis for the confidence you’ve placed in us.”
“North Carolina offers an ideal east coast location,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland. “Combined with the state’s superior transportation network, companies can easily reach their markets across North America.”
In a written statement, Maria Ciliberti, Vice President of Marketing and New Business Development for Borealis, said, “This investment shows our sustained commitment to the automotive industry in North America. North Carolina was a logical choice for us. Its location allows us to service customers across the North American region and we value the supportive, business-friendly environment of the State and of Alexander County. We’re convinced that this expansion will strengthen our position as a local supplier to automotive OEMs and their Tier suppliers in North America and that it will enable us to deliver our global material innovations locally. We believe it is important to step up our capacity, capabilities and support infrastructure, to ensure that our customers in North America receive the same high level of service as in the other regions where we operate.”
“Borealis is bringing new jobs and new investment to a community that needs and deserves it!” said N.C. Senator Andy Wells.
“Many partners in the community came together to support Borealis’ selection of Alexander County,” said N.C. Representative Lee Zachary, who was present at Tuesday night’s meeting in Alexander County. “We look forward to the many good things this company will bring to the area.”
During Wiecoreck’s presentation to the Alexander County Board of Commissioners, he provided information about the company, its plans in Alexander County, and a timeline for the project. Wiecoreck said that while the building is already constructed, further work is needed over the next year to prepare for production. He said that work will begin on the building at the end of 2017, and will continue through 2018. A rail spur will be installed, and after that, most of the activity is going to occur inside the building, including offices, laboratory, process equipment, support equipment, as well as exterior silos.
“What’s very important to all us is the hiring of personnel, which is one of the reasons we selected this region with the support that we’ve seen from the community, as well as the educational services that are nearby,” Wiecoreck stated. “We see a minimum of 37 permanent positions. These are very nice positions, if you’re looking from a career perspective.”
While compensation will vary by position, average salaries for the new jobs will be $40,125, above the current average annual wage in Alexander County of $30,631.
Wiecoreck noted that the product created at the Alexander County plant will come out in pellet form, which will then be shipped to auto-parts manufacturers which will use the materials to create automotive components such as fenders, dashboards, grills, and more for companies such as General Motors, Ford, BMW, Volkswagen, Volvo, and others.
A performance-based grant of $100,000 from the One North Carolina Fund will help facilitate Borealis’ move to Alexander County, in addition to funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the North Carolina Railroad Company, and local incentives. The One NC Fund provides financial assistance to local governments to help attract economic investment and to create jobs. Companies receive no money upfront and must meet job creation and capital investment targets to qualify for payment. All One NC grants require a matching grant from local governments and any award is contingent upon that condition being met.
Borealis AG, with global headquarters in Vienna, Austria, serves a variety of industries, including automotive, energy, and consumer products sectors. The company’s applications in the automotive industry include bumpers, body panels, trims, dashboards and other key components. Borealis Compounds’ new facility in Alexander County will serve automotive industry customers in North America. For more information, visit www.borealisgroup.com.