CK Technologies to Build New Parts Manufacturing Plant in N.C.

MOUNT AIRY, N.C. -- CK Technologies, an automotive supplier to Volvo and Freightliner, announced yesterday that it would build a plant in Mount Airy create bring 50 jobs -- an investment of $19 million.

The maker of plastic components for buses and medium to heavy-duty trucks selected Mount Airy and Surry County for its second plant because of the area's sense of community and its location, company officials said.

"We were really looking for a combination of things, but the one thing that we really value is being involved in the community. We saw Mount Airy as that family-oriented community that we can be a part of," said Jack Arb, a marketing manager for CK Technologies, which has its headquarters in Montpelier, Ohio. "We really emphasize that our associates be involved in the community through charitable events and making the community a better place to live for everyone. We just felt really at home in Mount Airy."

The site for the plant is inside the city's and county's Piedmont Triad West Corporate Park. The park is west of Mount Airy's city limits and at the interchange of Interstate 74 and U.S. 601.

It is conveniently located between some the company's major customers, Arb said.

"We could source Freightliner in Cleveland, N.C., the one in Mount Holly and High Point," he said. "There is also Volvo's engineering center in Greensboro and its manufacturing site in Dublin, Va. So, we're really centrally located to support all of those customer locations."

The company is prepared to close next week on 30 acres inside the park. By late August, grading on the site could begin, and in October, construction on a 165,000-square-foot facility could begin.

"We hope to be operational in July 2006," Arb said.

Gov. Mike Easley announced yesterday that a $150,000 grant from the One North Carolina Fund was used to help lure the plant to the state.

"CK Technologies' decision to build a new production facility in North Carolina will be a substantial addition to the already sizeable automotive supply industry in North Carolina," Easley said in a statement.

North Carolina ranks ninth in the United States in automobile industry job growth, according to the N.C. Department of Commerce. More than 1,000 automotive suppliers operate in the state. There are more than 50,000 North Carolina workers employed by automotive parts and supply manufacturers.

"This opportunity is very significant for the city of Mount Airy. It represents further diversification of our local economy. I think it brings in one of the targets that we have had in a form of industry. Others may follow," said Donald Brookshire, the Mount Airy city manager.

The Mount Airy Board of Commissioners will consider an incentives package for CK Technologies at its meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday. There will be a public hearing on the matter. Afterward, commissioners will discuss the idea and may vote to adopt it.

On the table is a proposal to provide a $700,000 loan for grading of the property. The loan would be forgiven if the plant were still in operation after 10 years. Also, the city would give CK Technologies the 30 acres of land inside the business park, a value of $630,000. And, the city would give the company a rebate of 80 percent of property taxes paid each year for eight years, not to exceed $286,000.

The Surry County Board of Commissioners is also considering an incentives package. A special meeting has been set for 6 p.m. Wednesday for a public hearing and discussion.

"We have three proposals. I can't tell you which one will be adopted. One option is matching what Mount Airy may offer in the way of a tax rebate," said Macon Sammons Jr., the county manager.

"We're delighted. This company has had a nice growth curve, and they have top-flight customers. Their rates of pay are attractive to us."