Local Government
Toyota Will Build Battery Plant In Randolph County PDF Print E-mail
Local Government
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 07 December 2021 13:22
Toyota will build its first North American battery manufacturing plant for a new generation of vehicles in North Carolina, creating at least 1,750 jobs, Governor Roy Cooper announced today. Toyota will invest $1.29 billion at the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite, strengthening North Carolina’s position as a leader in the nation’s growing, clean energy economy.
“It’s tremendous that Toyota has selected North Carolina for such an important part of its electric vehicle future, creating good paying jobs and moving us toward a healthier environment,” Governor Cooper said. “It’s clear the world is beginning to embrace a clean energy future and today’s decision puts North Carolina front and center.”
Toyota Motor North America, Inc. is the headquarters for all Toyota’s operations in North America, including research and development, vehicle design, manufacturing, sales, and marketing. The company sells and distributes a wide variety of Toyota and Lexus branded vehicles, including a growing line of electrified vehicles of hybrids, plug-in hybrids, fuel cells and battery electric vehicles. Currently, electrified vehicles account for nearly 25 percent of its sales volume, and the company estimates that number will increase to 70 percent by 2030. The new plant in Randolph County will initially produce batteries for Toyota’s hybrid electric vehicles, and intends to produce batteries for battery electric vehicles long term.
“The future of mobility is electrification and the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite is the ideal location to make that future a reality,” said Ted Ogawa, CEO of Toyota Motor North America. “North Carolina offers the right conditions for this investment, including the infrastructure, high-quality education system, access to a diverse and skilled workforce, and a welcoming environment for doing business. Today marks the beginning of a mutually beneficial partnership with the Tar Heel state as we embark on our journey to achieve carbon neutrality and provide mobility for all.”
Toyota’s project in North Carolina will be led by a new venture between Toyota and Toyota Tsusho Corporation, the trading arm of the Toyota Group. The new venture company will be known as Toyota Battery Manufacturing, North Carolina (TBMNC), based in Randolph County at the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite.
The North Carolina Department of Commerce coordinated the state’s recruitment of Toyota’s new battery plant, which involved an extensive network of state, regional, and local organizations.
“Toyota’s commitment to establish its North America clean energy efforts in North Carolina shows that preparation pays off enormously,” said Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “The hard work of preparing any site for business development involves not just moving dirt and laying infrastructure but investing in education, workforce development, and the collaborative networks that pull resources together. I’m proud of the people and organizations that have worked closely together over many years to make today’s announcement possible.”
The TBMNC project will be facilitated, in part, by a Transitional Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee earlier today, the first JDIG of this classification ever awarded. The North Carolina General Assembly introduced the Transitional project classification to the JDIG program in November of this year, joining the state’s existing special classes of High-Yield and Transformative economic development projects.
Toyota’s project is estimated to grow the state’s economy by at least $9.5 billion over 20 years, the time period when the grant’s first phase could be active. Using a formula that takes into account the new tax revenues generated by the 1,750 new jobs required in the grant’s first phase, the JDIG agreement authorizes the potential reimbursement to the company of up to $79.1 million. This potential payment would be spread over 20 years.
Should Toyota increase the number of jobs and capital investment committed to the project to 3,875 jobs and $3 billion of investment within 36 months of today’s award, the company will trigger phase 2 of the Transitional JDIG and could then receive up to an estimated $315 million over the life of the grant, which could expand to run for as many as 39 years. The state’s economy would grow by a total of nearly $35 billion, due to the increased scale of the project.
The potential phase 2 payment to the company is only an estimate at this point, since the ultimate amount will be calculated based both on when the increased investment and job creation targets are met, as well as the final reported number and type of jobs that are ultimately created for the project.
Like all grants from the JDIG program, any state payments only occur following performance verification each year by the departments of Commerce and Revenue that the company has met its incremental job creation and investment targets.
Toyota’s JDIG agreement also calls for moving as much as $7.5 million into the state’s Industrial Development Fund – Utility Account under the first phase of the grant. The Utility Account helps rural communities anywhere in the state finance necessary infrastructure upgrades to attract future business. Additional funding for the Utility Account would occur if the grant enters its second phase.
The state approved additional support to help with final site preparations at the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite in the recently passed state budget (North Carolina Senate Bill 105). For the project’s first phase, $135 million has been appropriated to the Department of Commerce, which will be used by the North Carolina Department of Transportation for road, highway interchange, and other site improvements in Randolph County and at the megasite. Should the company exercise its option to trigger phase 2 of the Transitional JDIG, then an additional $185 million in site development funds would become available.
Salaries for the new jobs at the battery plant will vary by position, but taken together will average $62,234, increasing the regional payroll by more than $100 million every year. Randolph County’s overall average annual wage is currently $37,865.
“I welcome Toyota to North Carolina,” said Senator Phil Berger, President Pro Tempore of the North Carolina Senate. “We’ve worked hard to transform North Carolina into a jobs-friendly state with low taxes, reasonable regulations, and a world-class education system. As a result, companies big and small are creating jobs here, continuing a decade of growth.”
"I am proud of the hard work the General Assembly has done to ensure North Carolina is a state ripe for new business and innovation,” said North Carolina Speaker of the House Tim Moore. “North Carolina consistently ranks as the nation’s top state business climate. We have a balanced budget, have invested in a strong workforce, and we've maintained a AAA credit rating. As North Carolina continues to grow, Toyota's investment is a sign that we are doing the right things to attract people and businesses to our thriving state."
The North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina were joined by an extensive group of partners to support the Toyota project, including:
The North Carolina General Assembly
North Carolina Community College System
The North Carolina Departments of Transportation, Environmental Quality, and Military and Veterans Affairs
North Carolina Railroad Company
North Carolina Zoo
North Carolina State University
North Carolina A&T State University
North Carolina Japan Center
Duke Energy
Piedmont Natural Gas
Norfolk Southern Corporation
Golden LEAF Foundation
Randolph County
Guilford County
City of Greensboro
Greensboro-Randolph Megasite Foundation
Guilford Technical Community College
Randolph Community College
Guilford Works
Piedmont Triad International Airport
Greensboro Chamber of Commerce
Randolph County Economic Development Corporation
Furniture Maker To Add 90 Jobs In Catawba County PDF Print E-mail
Local Government
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 07 December 2021 13:20
Sherrill Furniture, a high-end furniture manufacturer, will create 90 new jobs in Catawba County, Governor Roy Cooper announced today. The company will invest $2.9 million to open a new custom upholstery production facility in Conover.
“The furniture capital of the world is growing,” said Governor Cooper. “North Carolina companies like Sherrill Furniture understand the advantages of doing business in our state and we’re grateful for their contributions to our communities and our economy. 
Founded in Catawba County in 1945, Sherrill Furniture Company has maintained its legacy of manufacturing high-quality custom furniture in America for more than 75 years. The company’s custom upholstery and casegoods portfolio includes nine furniture brands for retailers and interior designers in all 50 states. Under the management of Charles Sherrill, a third-generation owner, Sherrill Furniture’s expansion will add a fifth production facility, and 140,000SF, to its roster of upholstery and woodworking plants.
“Backlogs within the furniture industry are at an all-time high,” said Thad Monroe, President of Sherrill Furniture Company. “We are 100% focused on substantially reducing lead times for our customers and are willing to invest heavily to more quickly fulfill orders of our USA-made products. We appreciate the support and partnership we have received at the state and local levels to ensure this same goal.”
“North Carolina continues to lead the nation’s furniture industry with triple the manufacturing activity of the national average,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “With the largest furniture manufacturing workforce in the nation, a large textiles and wood supply chain, and convenient location, we know that Sherrill Furniture will continue to find success for many years to come.”
While salaries will vary based on position, the average wage for all the new jobs will exceed the Catawba County average wage of $43,920. The total payroll impact for the region is expected to reach more than $3.9 million.
A performance-based grant of $150,000 from the One North Carolina Fund will help with Sherrill Furniture’s expansion in North Carolina. The One NC Fund provides financial assistance to local governments to help attract economic investment and to create jobs. Companies receive no money upfront and must meet job creation and capital investment targets to qualify for payment. All One NC grants require matching participation from local governments and any award is contingent upon that condition being met.
“Congratulations to Sherrill Furniture on this next phase of growth,” said N.C. Senator Dean Proctor. “This expansion will continue to grow our local economy and provide more great opportunities for our community’s world-class talent.”
Partnering with the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina on this project were the North Carolina General Assembly, North Carolina Community College System, Catawba Valley Community College, Catawba County, Catawba County Economic Development Corporation, Western Piedmont Council of Governments and the City of Conover.
Cabinet Manufacturer Will Expand by 450 Jobs in Lenoir County PDF Print E-mail
Local Government
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 23 November 2021 17:46

MasterBrand Cabinets, one of the largest cabinet manufacturers in North America, will expand its operations in Lenoir County to create more than 450 jobs over five years, Governor Roy Cooper announced today. The company will invest more than $13.5 million to expand production capacity at its manufacturing center in Kinston.

"It’s great news any time good manufacturing jobs come to Eastern North Carolina,” said Governor Cooper. “MasterBrand Cabinets already provides good jobs for many people in Kinston and Lenoir County and will now add even more opportunities for our ready and able workforce.”

MasterBrand Cabinets, a subsidiary of Fortune Brands Home & Security, Inc., manufactures and distributes a wide spectrum of cabinetry products designed to satisfy every budget and lifestyle. The company serves market segments that include stock cabinets, semi-custom and custom cabinetry, as well as vanities for the kitchen, bath, and other areas of the home.  The company’s project in Lenoir County will expand its existing facility in Kinston to meet growing demand for its products. The company plans to significantly increase the site’s production capacity, with cabinets for kitchens making up the primary output for the expanded facility.

“MasterBrand is committed to investing in our people and facilities through offering competitive wages and benefits; providing a safe and clean working environment; and training, developing, and retaining our associates,” said Dave Banyard, president, MasterBrand Cabinets. “We are proud to expand our operations in Kinston, which allows us to better meet the demand of our customers while providing new jobs and strengthening the communities where our associates live and work.”

“MasterBrand Cabinets’ new jobs and investment are the fruits of our state’s commitment to build a skilled, inclusive, and diverse workforce,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “As our First in Talent strategic plan makes clear, we will continue to make investments in our educational and training systems so that manufacturers will continue to expand and grow in our state."

While salaries will vary based on position, the average wage for all the new jobs will exceed the Lenoir County average of $39,839. The total payroll impact for the region is expected to reach more than $18.5 million.

MasterBrand Cabinets’ project in North Carolina will be facilitated by a Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee earlier today. Over the course of the 12-year term of this grant, the State estimates the project will grow its economy by $657.8 million. Using a formula that takes into account the new tax revenues generated by the 464 new jobs tied to this grant, the JDIG agreement authorizes the potential reimbursement to the company of up to $3,878,000, spread over 12 years.

State payments only occur following performance verification by the departments of Commerce and Revenue that the company has met its incremental job creation and investment targets. JDIG projects result in positive net tax revenue to the state treasury, even after taking into consideration the grant’s reimbursement payments to a given company.

“MasterBrand Cabinets is an important economic engine in our community,” said N.C. Senator Jim Perry “I’m proud to welcome these new jobs and investment to Kinston and Lenoir County.”

“Many people in our region have collaborated closely for many months to make today’s announcement possible,” said N.C. Representative Chris Humphrey. “Local officials and leaders in Lenoir County and the Global TransPark region will continue to support MasterBrand Cabinets as they enter this next phase of partnership with our area.”

Partnering with the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina on this project were the North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Community College System, Lenoir Community College, Lenoir County, the City of Kinston and the North Carolina Global TransPark Economic Development Region.


DNA Lab Is Under Construction In Wake County PDF Print E-mail
Local Government
By Administrator   
Friday, 12 November 2021 17:37
Construction is under way on a new DNA laboratory within the Raleigh/Wake City-County Bureau of Identification (CCBI). The lab will be the first local government DNA lab in the Triangle and the second facility of its kind in North Carolina.
“Our criminal justice system depends on having timely, reliable information,” said Wake County Board of Commissioners Chair Matt Calabria. “By adding this state-of-the-art lab to its facility, CCBI will be able to quickly and accurately analyze the DNA evidence its crime scene investigators find in the field, saving precious time and moving cases forward faster.”
Currently, CCBI sends DNA evidence to the North Carolina State Crime Lab for analysis. Case submissions there have jumped 62% over the past five years. 
When CCBI’s new lab opens, it will halt that practice and begin analyzing DNA evidence from Wake County cases in its own 950 square-foot facility. This change will free up resources at the state lab, enabling them to focus on evidence from other municipalities in the queue. This move will benefit both residents in Wake County and those in counties statewide.
From an Idea to Reality
The idea to create the DNA lab came from CCBI Director Sam Pennica. And, interestingly, COVID-19 safety protocols ended up providing the space he needed to house the facility.
During quarantine, CCBI investigators worked remotely from their homes and vehicles instead of coming into the office to reduce the risk of contracting the virus. The experience proved the remote working model was effective – and even preferred – by the investigators and should be implemented permanently.
The switch freed up the space needed to construct the DNA lab in CCBI’s current location, bringing Pennica’s idea to fruition. 
“It’s exciting to be part of a project that we know will do so much good for our community,” said Director Pennica. “DNA testing has proven to be extremely accurate and has advanced to become an important 21st century forensic testing technique.” 
Funding the Project
Wake County has approved $360,000 for construction of the lab, which comes from court ordered lab fees. The only cost to local taxpayers moving forward will be the salaries of the three technicians the lab will employ. 
Representatives Deborah Ross (NC-02) and David Price (NC-04) secured $500,000 in funding in the House Appropriations package for the scientific equipment for the DNA lab. CCBI will receive this federal funding if the legislation passes the House, Senate and is signed into law by President Biden.
Alignment with Board Goals
The new lab aligns with two of the Wake County Board of Commissioners’ 2021 goals in the area of public safety:
Providing high quality and sustainable public safety services to meet the community's current and future needs; and 
Addressing equity in the criminal justice system. 
Adding DNA testing to the services already offered by CCBI also aligns with its chartering mandate to improve the enforcement of criminal laws in Wake County. In addition, it supports the NC Survivor Act, which requires the bureau to protect the residents of Wake County and North Carolina from criminal acts and wrongful judicial convictions.
Construction on the lab began Monday, Nov. 8, and is projected to open in late 2022 or early 2023. 

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