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German Motor Producer to Build American HQ, Factory in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Thu November 17, 2022 - Southeast Edition #25
Winston-Salem Journal & CEG


Founded in 1910 as a motor manufacturer, Ziehl-Abegg produces industrial fan systems and motors, and has almost 5,000 employees worldwide. The company makes fans for various commercial applications, including hospitals, schools, data centers and various agricultural uses. (Ziehl-Abegg photo)
Founded in 1910 as a motor manufacturer, Ziehl-Abegg produces industrial fan systems and motors, and has almost 5,000 employees worldwide. The company makes fans for various commercial applications, including hospitals, schools, data centers and various agricultural uses. (Ziehl-Abegg photo)

Ziehl-Abegg Inc., a manufacturer of motors and fans for commercial ventilation systems, has picked Winston-Salem, N.C., for an expansion that will bring hundreds of new jobs to the city.

The company announced Nov. 16 the establishment of its North American headquarters just east of the city and moving production from nearby Greensboro. The move is part of a significant expansion by Ziehl-Abegg in North America.

Founded in 1910 as a motor manufacturer, Ziehl-Abegg produces industrial fan systems and motors, and has almost 5,000 employees worldwide. The company makes fans for various commercial applications, including hospitals, schools, data centers and various agricultural uses.

From approximately 200 current employees in the state's Piedmont Triad, the global company plans to grow to more than 500 plant workers, and local officials told the Winston-Salem Journal that in 10 years it could have 800 hires.

"This is a home run for us in a number of ways," Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines told the newspaper. "It is a manufacturing company investing $100 million and with jobs that pay $50,000 to $60,000 per year. It is exactly the type of company we want as part of our economic fabric."

He added that Ziehl-Abegg has selected a 500,000-sq.-ft. build-to-suit property in the Union Cross Industrial Center off Interstate 40 and Union Cross Road, between the Caterpillar manufacturing plant and Glenn High School. The site will house Ziehl-Abegg's headquarters, manufacturing and distribution operations.

"Megatrends such as digitalization, climate change and urbanization are leading to a growth in demand and call for a significant increase in our production capacities," explained Joachim Ley, Ziehl-Abegg's chief operating officer. "The U.S. market is fundamentally very important for us and is driving the expansion in North America."

In a statement, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper noted, "The company's increased investment is a great vote of confidence in our thriving economy, central East Coast location, and skilled manufacturing workforce."

The news is the most recent example of large businesses making roots in the Piedmont Triad. Earlier, Toyota made a $2.5 billion investment in a battery manufacturing plant near the town of Liberty, south of Greensboro, with plans to begin production in 2025.

Triad Ripe for Manufacturing Expansion

The Journal reported that Ley said his company would start with 189 employees at the new site, but add to that number "very rapidly."

When the company negotiated with local officials on economic development incentives, it promised to move 200 jobs from its Greensboro site and add another 300 positions over five years.

Mirco Herrmann, the managing director of the North American market of Ziehl-Abegg, said the company's experience working in the state's Piedmont Triad made the new site "a prime location to consider for our expansion in the U.S.

"Forsyth County offers the talent that fosters our success as a company, and is committed to developing the manufacturing workforce here, so we know there will always be great people with the right skills to grow our team," he added.

The new positions include assembly technicians, engineers, finance, quality assurance, machinists, maintenance and various administrative personnel, according to the Winston-Salem news source. The new jobs have the potential to create an annual payroll impact of more than $11.2 million for the region.

Mark Owens, president and chief executive of Greater Winston-Salem Inc., said the company's decision "underscores the advantages that manufacturers have in this area — from infrastructure and logistics to availability of talent to a supportive business climate."

Greater Winston-Salem is the local chamber of commerce and business-recruitment agency.

"We are confident that we can continue to deliver these benefits as the industry grows," he told the Journal.

A performance-based grant of $400,000 from the One North Carolina Fund, dependent on a capital investment from the German manufacturer of $24.5 million, will help with Ziehl-Abegg's expansion in the state. Winston-Salem is providing about $630,000 in incentives, the Journal reported, and Forsyth County is paying $430,000 in incentives.

The money paid out by Winston-Salem and Forsyth County is based on increased property tax revenues.

"We are excited to welcome Ziehl-Abegg and its new good-paying jobs to Forsyth County," state Sen. Joyce Krawiec said in a news release. "This company has been a great workforce development partner in our region and we're eager to work alongside them as they lay down roots in Winston-Salem."




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