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Kaydon announces more investments in Sumter County

May 24, 2010

The South Carolina Department of Commerce and Sumter County are pleased to announce that the Kaydon Corporation will be expanding its Sumter, South Carolina operations to meet the growing demand for its custom bearings. The $8.9 million expansion includes the purchase of the 178,000 square foot former Bosch Rear Brakes facility and will create at least 75 jobs.

“The expansion of our custom bearing facility in the Sumter area will help us grow our market share and increase our competitive edge. Our company has found an excellent business environment in Sumter, and we are pleased to grow our operations there. We look forward to increasing our presence in Sumter and appreciate all the support we have received from state and local officials,” said James O’Leary,  Chairman and CEO of Kaydon Corporation.

Kaydon has purchased a building formerly occupied by Bosch in Sumter near the campus of its custom bearings facility, where it produces bearings for a wide range of general industrial markets. The company will add equipment to the building and expects to have the new facility online in the fall of 2010. Kaydon also has an industrial tank turret/wind turbine bearing production facility in Sumter. 

“South Carolina continues to provide the economic advantages that allow companies to increase their bottom line, and expand in South Carolina. Kaydon has been part of the South Carolina business community for a number of years and this announcement further strengthens the company’s commitment to our state. By providing a business-friendly climate and skilled workforce, and ensuring existing buildings are ready for adaptive reuse, our state can continue to attract investments that create new job opportunities for South Carolinians.  We look forward to Kaydon’s continued growth in our state and wish them well in their endeavors here,” said Joe Taylor, Secretary of Commerce.

This expansion is only the latest in a string of local expansions for the Michigan-based manufacturer. Beginning in 2006, Kaydon added 40 new jobs and invested $4.5 million in new equipment. Also in 2006, Kaydon invested $18.5 million and added another 50 new jobs. Again in 2008, Kaydon added $4.5 million additional capital investment and added 10 jobs.

Greg A. Thompson, Chairman of the Sumter Development Board, said the local expansion didn’t happen by chance. He said when new project activity was slow during the recession, Sumter economic development professionals took advantage of the lull to find new opportunities with existing industries.

“We’ve been working with Kaydon for several years now to find ways to help make them more competitive, more productive and more profitable,” Thompson said. “We’ve made several trips to Michigan to convince Kaydon that Sumter is poised and ready for their corporate growth.“

Sumter Mayor Joe McElveen said the expansion says a lot about Sumter.

“When an existing industry expands, it sends a message that Sumter is a great place to do business.  In competitive expansions like this one, a solid relationship with our corporate partners is indispensable,”  McElveen said. “Once again Sumter has competed with other communities for a highly sought-after project and won. That should tell folks a lot about our community.”

Sumter County Council Chairwoman Vivian Fleming-McGhaney said this is only the latest collaboration in a decades-long relationship.

“On behalf of County Council, we’re all very pleased with this announcement and with Kaydon’s continued investments in our community,” said McGhaney. “Sumter County’s partnership with Kaydon has been strong for 30 years, and this will only make our partnership and our community stronger.”

Hiring for these positions will start immediately and be ongoing during 2010. readySC™ in cooperation with Central Carolina Technical College will soon be conducting a pre-employment training program for assemblers and machine operators. These jobs are for second and third shifts, and CNC and manufacturing experience desired. An ad will be featured in the local newspaper May 30 giving details on how to apply for this training. readySC™ will be coordinating with the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce Development to process the applications.

Kaydon Corporation is a leading designer and manufacturer of custom -engineered, performance-critical products, supplying a broad and diverse group of alternative energy, industrial, aerospace, medical and electronic equipment, and aftermarket customers.



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"When you invest in yourself, people will invest in you."
Gene Baten
Sumter County Council