SCHOFIELD, Wis. (WSAU) - The recession has been hard for manufacturers over the past few years, but one area company has recovered and is expanding.
Divisional President Tim Kilgore says they did have to cut about twenty percent of their workforce when construction bottomed out, affecting about 500 workers. Since then, Kilgore says they have seen the market stabilize but not at pre-recession levels. Still, Greenheck Fan has been able to bring back more jobs than they lost. “Today, we’re at higher employment levels here in the Schofield area than we ever were at prior to the recession. Meanwhile, we’re doing that in a market that still remains at about half of its previous highs.”
Why expand in North Carolina? Kilgore says Greenheck has production facilities and distribution centers in several U.S. cities, plus some foreign countries to keep shipping costs down. “Freight costs and shipping products from Schofield to the east coast is quite expensive and adds additional days up to a week of delay in receipt of the product, so by manufacturing our facilities closer to the customer base, we think we can be more competitive and grow the overall sales for Greenheck.”
Kilgore says the company is building the new plant in an area of growth, and it will not negatively impact operations in Schofield. “It should have very little impact on our employment levels here in Schofield. I’m certain that there’s concern about that amongst our current employees, but I’ve tried hard to alleviate their concerns and give them assurances that the growth in our North Carolina operation is new business growth for Greenheck and will not come at the expense of current employees here in Schofield.”
Shelby, North Carolina is not the only expansion project underway. Kilgore says a new foreign manufacturing plant is on the way. “We are in the process right now of bringing a new manufacturing facility online in India, and we expect to be in production with new facility in January of 2014.”
Kilgore says products are marketed in the regions they are produced. Greenheck does all corporate operations, research, testing, and product development in Schofield.