“I want to congratulate Gates Corporation on their expansion,” Gov. Perdue said. “Their growth is terrific news for the workers in Ashe County and emphasizes that the steps we have taken to build a top rated business climate in North Carolina are paying off in jobs and an increasing share of the automotive parts industry.”
Founded in 1911, the Gates Corporation has grown into one of the world’s largest manufacturers of industrial and automotive belts and hoses. Today, Gates, a subsidiary of Tomkins LTD, is the only non-tire producing rubber company with sales and manufacturing operations in all the world’s major markets, including North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and South America. The Ashe County facility, which currently employs 265, manufactures automotive and industrial belts. This project will expand the current facility by adding two robotic cell production lines for synchronous belts used to drive electric power steering generation mechanisms.
Ashe County officials have worked for the past eight months to try to bring this project to Ashe rather than have it go to Arkansas, which was the original plan. According to Judy Poe, chairwoman of the board of commissioners, “This is an exciting project not only for the job creation in the plant – but it is a future oriented product that diversifies production in the Ashe Gates plant. Gates has always been a good community partner in Ashe County and we are excited for them.”
Dr. Pat Mitchell, economic developer for the county, believes that diversifying production within a manufacturing facility – particularly to a green manufacturing product (belt for electric car) – makes that plant more sustainable for the future. “We are excited about the jobs created through this new product, and the new capital investment that will be placed in the plant,” Mitchell said. “Our commissioners have always been supportive of our manufacturing sector and work towards keeping it a strong part of our economy. We are all excited about this expansion.”
Salaries will vary by job function, but the average annual wage for the new jobs will be $24,723 not including benefits. The Ashe County average annual wage is $27,508.
“Gates is very appreciative to the North Carolina Commerce Department, Ashe County Commission and the Town of Jefferson for their support in this initiative. We look forward to the opportunity to add more jobs to the region,” said Tony D’alessandro, Plant Manager for the Ashe County facility. “This would not have been possible without the One NC grant, which was the determining factor in the selection of Ashe County over other Gates sites.”
The One NC Fund provides financial assistance, through local governments, to attract business projects that will stimulate economic activity and create new jobs in the state. Companies receive no money up front and must meet job creation and investment performance standards to qualify for grant funds. These grants also require and are contingent upon local matches.
North Carolina continues to have a top-ranked business climate. Through Gov. Perdue’s JobsNOW initiative, the state works aggressively to create jobs, train and retrain its workforce, and lay the foundation for a strong and sustainable economic future.
Through use of the One NC Fund, more than 50,000 jobs and $9 billion in investment have been created since 2001. Other partners that helped with this project include: the N.C. Department of Commerce, N.C. Community Colleges, Ashe County Job Development, Inc., Ashe County and the Town of Jefferson.
For more information about the Gates Corporation, including job opportunities, go to www.gates.com.