North Carolina Economic Development Guide


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Spirit aeroSyStemS Linamar Kuhn: There are also opportunities to collaborate. N.C. State���s new process-development labs offer equipment and space to launch projects. N.C. State is working to grow the labs to the point where young biotech companies can use the space to manufacture clinical supplies. It���s a real advantage for new companies to lease that manufacturing capacity instead of having to fnd the capital to invest in it. ing universities, so we see that program as key to our success going forward. ABB just announced a full-scholarship, multiyear program that will invest about $600,000 in N.C. State���s engineering program. Patton: Advanced manufacturing depends on quality engineering. One of the key elements we saw in the Triangle was the abundance of universities with those types of programs. When we were doing site selection, the universities came to the table, not because they knew us but just to ask how they could help. Their commitment to helping us has proved integral to our success, and our partnership continues to mature. One of the discussions we���re having now with the universities and the N.C. Global TransPark in Kinston is about the possibility of teaming up to conduct composite research. Treffnger: Manpower is one of the things we look at when we launch new products. We���re going to be looking more at teaming with universities by bringing in students to help lay out new production plants. We actually tried that process with students from Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, and it worked well. Top, Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College trains workers for Linamar North Carolina Inc. Above, Lenoir Community College does the same for Spirit AeroSystems North Carolina Inc. 14 North Carolina Economic Development Guide North Carolina invests heavily in its community colleges. How have they helped your business? Patton: Advanced manufacturing allows us to be a market leader and capture new business. The support we get at the state and local levels with educational programs is critical to our success. The programs prepare our workforce for advanced-manufacturing operations, especially the high-precision machines that we use. Treffnger: We���ve dealt with the Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, and the people there put together a custom program for us. We just listed our workforce requirements ��� not only in manufacturing but also in the other support functions, such as human resources and purchasing. When we started, we had an empty 400,000-square-foot facility, 12 people and just one machine. Now we have 120 people and about 40 machines. Keeping that running takes a lot of training, some of which is done in-house by our own people, and A-B Tech takes care of the balance. Many of our employees had never operated a machine before coming here, but they have the aptitude and attitude to learn. When you have an issue in North Carolina, the frst thing from an employee���s mouth is: ���What can I do to help?��� I think that���s really impressive. Attitude is the most important key to success. Kuhn: We worked with the community colleges to design a curriculum around our operation. We made a lab space and installed some of our old equipment so employees can train and make their

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