By Gary Abernathy – [email protected]
An auto industry supplier is expanding to Greenfield and will bring around 200 new jobs to the former RR Donnelley facility.
Highland County Commissioners announced Monday that Corvac Composites has reached a preliminary agreement to acquire the existing 175,000 square foot facility in Greenfield. The acquisition is subject to due diligence and anticipated to close in the third quarter of 2015, with new production slated for early 2016.
The facility will continue Corvac’s expansion throughout North America, producing a variety of external automotive barrier parts for leading OEMs. In total, over $10 million in new machinery and equipment will be placed into operation at the site and, once complete, the facility is anticipated to employ over 200 people in the Greenfield area. Details on future employment opportunities will be announced at a later date.
“Corvac wishes to acknowledge the efforts of JobsOhio, the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth (APEG), Highland County Economic Development and the Village of Greenfield. Their cooperative approach has been very important to meeting project goals and timing,” according to a press release.
Commissioner Shane Wilkin said that Monday’s announcement came through a JobsOhio lead.
“We probably get one or two projects a week” through JobsOhio that might be a possibility for Highland County, he said. In March, commissioners learned that Corvac was looking to expand, and local officials thought the Donnelley plant might be a good fit. Wilkin said that meetings were held, first with Corvac’s director of sales, and a week later with company executives who toured the Greenfield plant.
There were a couple of times that local officials worried the project might fall through, first when a facility closer to Corvac’s current headquarters became available, and second when word spread thorugh social media that another company was preparing to hire at the Donnelley plant. The Times-Gazette ran a story in May shooting down that rumor.
Wilkin praised Tara Campbell, director of Ohio Means Jobs Highland County, as well as Nicole Oberrecht, deputy clerk in the commissioners’ office, both of whom he credited for being quick to turn around numbers and stats that company executives requested throughout the process. He thanked Katy Farber with JobsOhio, as well as Cliff Rosenberger, the Ohio House speaker and state representative from the 91st District, which includes Highland County.
“We’re glad to have a good partner like Cliff,” said Wilkin, who also credited State Sen. Bob Peterson, whose 17th District includes Highland County.
“When people ask us what’s going on, we always tell folks that we’re working on a couple of things,” said Wilkin. “Frankly, we always are, and this is one of them. We have other things we’re working on that hopefully will happen, too.”
Ron Coffey, city manager of Greenfield, issued a statement Monday saying, “I’m delighted with the announcement by Corvac Composites that they plan to invest in Greenfield and create jobs here. The best social welfare program I can think of is a job, and Corvac’s announcement is wonderful news not only for Greenfield but for the entire region.”
Coffey said, “In 2013 when RR Donnelley announced its decision to close the plant in Greenfield and we lost 166 jobs, that was a real challenge to us as a community. I said then that the people of Greenfield are resilient and that we would survive because we are persistent and determined. We worked with our representatives and agencies to try and help those RR Donnelley employees find work. We have tried in various ways to showcase the Donnelley facilities, which we thought should be appealing to would-be employers, and the assets that Greenfield brings to the table.”
Coffey noted the work and prayers that have gone into making the Corvac project a reality, the progress Greenfield as made on other fronts, and added, “I would love to see our town grow as jobs are created. It’s my dream to see the empty homes in Greenfield become filled with working families living out the American dream in our beautiful corner of the world.”
The RR Donnelley printing facility closed about two years ago, costing about 160 jobs. Local and county officials have been attempting ever since to market the facility, which offers 175,000 square feet of space for industrial use. The anticipated new jobs would exceed the jobs lost with the Donnelley closing.
Corvac will join other Greenfield companies in auto-related manufacturing. Johnson Controls manufactures seats and other products for the auto industry. C-Mold is an injection molding plant with about 85 percent of its products manufactured for Honda.
Corvac Composites is “a supplier of airflow management and water-deflection systems to OEM and Tier Manufacturers,” according to the company’s website description.
“With 30 years of experience, Corvac Composites has become a leader in bringing thermoform manufacturing into the realm of high volume automotive applications. Different from injection molding, the Corvac Process utilizes a single side mold and vacuum to create the product shape.”
Corvac started “as a humble North American supplier to Toyota’s early vehicles back in the early 80s,” according to the company website. “In 2001, new energy and focus was brought into the scene and the shape of today’s Corvac began to emerge. Holding the customer as the center of everything that we work on at Corvac, the building blocks of innovation in product, process, and learning took hold.”
The company says that while Toyota is still its largest customer, “we are now engaged with customers in almost every corner of the automotive world.”
Corvac has locations in Michigan, Kentucky, Indiana and Texas. Internationally, it has a manufacturing facility in Turkey, and sales offices in Germany, Italy, Japan and China.