A Timken official says the needs of a growing global industrial market and more than 40 years of positive experiences locally is why the company chose Union County as the home of its new Industrial Service Center.
Mike Connors, president of Process Industries, a division of the bearing and power transmission group within Timken, spoke this morning during the formal “ground-breaking” for Timken's new industrial service center. The center, which will be located in the spec building in Union Commerce Park, will provide industrial bearings services now located in Timken's Tyger River plant. The new facility will focus on providing repair and other support services to Timken customers while the Tyger River facility will focus on manufacturing ball bearings.
Connors, whose position at Timken makes him responsible for all heavy industrial markets, said the center is part of the company's efforts to meet the growing global demand for industrial services.
“In particular, we've been repairing and remanufacturing bearings at our local Tyger River facility for a good two decades now and that business has now grown to where we don't enough space in that facility to support the growth,” he said. “So we're going to relocate that business here and allow that business to grow; we expect to double that business over the next two to three years.”
Connors said Timken decided to expand its operations here because of the great relationship it has had with the City of Union and Union County and the quality of its workforce.
Wayne Fritz, senior project manage for global business development for the S.C. Department of Commerce, said Timken's expansion in Union County is a tribute to South Carolina's workforce and its economic development policies.
“Any time we get a great company like Timken to grow in our state it's a testament to the work force that we have in our state as well as the fiscal policies that are carried out by the governor and secretary of commerce,” he said. “A lot of companies are taking advantage of the benefits that South Carolina has to offer and we're real pleased that when Timken thinks of growth it thinks about growth here in South Carolina.
Fritz said that Union County is well positioned to take advantage of the growth occurring in the Upstate.
“As Spartanburg and Greenville counties grow, counties like Union and Laurens and several of the others also take a benefit in that,” he said. “The transportation here offers excellent access to some of the larger industries like LSP needs.
“Timken here is well-served because it has a sister company here in this town and this repair facility for the ball bearings can serve that as well,” he said.
Supervisor Donnie Betenbaugh, Union Mayor Bruce Morgan and State Rep. Mike Anthony also spoke. Betenbaugh pointed out that the jobs provided by the service center will be good jobs, adding that Timken has been a great ambassador for the county. Morgan welcomed the expansion and praised the partnerships between the city, county, commerce department, Timken and others that had made it possible. Anthony said that Timken's decision is another example of the county's outstanding workforce.
Jay Alexander, manager for Timken's industrial services in Union County, said the upfit of the center is projected to be completed in September, operations will begin in October and it will be fully operational in early 2009. Timken will invest $5 million in equipment and employ as many as 30 people at the site. Timken employs 600 people at its Tyger River plant.
The spec building is currently a shell, but work is already underway on its upfit. During this morning's ceremony, workers were busy completing grading and preparing to pour concrete.
The city will pay up to $1.5 million for the upfit, which was originally projected to cost nearly $2 million.
Timken is leasing the building from the city for $150,000 a year for 10 year with options to renew it in two-year increments.
The city and the county have agreed that the property taxes paid by Timken on the building will be used to compensate the city for the cost of the upfit.