When Brazilian-based nonwoven fabrics manufacturer Companhia Providência began searching for the location of its first North American manufacturing facility in 2007, their checklist included all of the items an international advanced manufacturing company typically seeks in a headquarters/manufacturing site; quality business park setting with room to expand, skilled workforce, international flights, reliable and reasonably-priced utilities, and easy access to markets via road, rail, sea and air. But for Providência, it was equally important to find a place with the right culture. While many communities say they welcome international companies, Providência management was looking for a community that had a long and successful track record with international business and the unique challenges which locating an international company presents.
During Providência’s first visit to the Statesville Regional Development offices, they immediately noticed the array of flags hanging from the ceiling, each representing a country with a manufacturing presence in Statesville. A few minutes into the presentation, they learned these flags weren’t just for show. Many of the Statesville area’s largest and highest profile companies are internationally owned: ASMO (Japan); Doosan Portable Power (Korea); Engineered Sintered Components (Japan); Accuma (Italy); and Pratt Industries (Australia), to name just a few.
In September of 2008, Providência announced it had selected a 43 acre site in Statesville’s West Industrial Park for the $70 million facility. Construction – which was delayed by the onset of the global economic slowdown – commenced in early 2010 and was completed in early 2011. During the inauguration ceremony on February 9th, Providência CEO, Hermínio Freitas cut the ribbon officially opening the state-of-the-art plant, then joined North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue in announcing a $60 million expansion, effectively doubling the size of the facility.
C. Michael Smith, Guest Blogger
Executive Director, Greater Statesville Economic Development Corp.