| Kinston/Jones Free Press (kfp)
A $13 million dollar investment and expansion of a lift truck company’s manufacturing operations is expected to bring more than 100 jobs to Lenoir County.
According to a release from Governor Roy Cooper, Crown Equipment Corporation, a global lift truck manufacturer, expects to create more than 130 new jobs in Lenoir County. The company is planning to invest up to $13 million to expand its manufacturing operations in Kinston.
“Crown Equipment Corporation’s decision to expand in Lenoir County helps with our efforts to grow the economy in eastern North Carolina,” said Governor Cooper. “Crown is an example of the growing companies that choose to continue operating in our state because of our resilient economy, capable workforce, and supportive communities.”
Crown Equipment Corporation was originally founded in Ohio in 1945 and has grown to become one of the world’s leading material handling companies. The company has earned more than 100 prominent international design awards while developing and manufacturing a broad range of electric and internal combustion (gas) forklifts, as well as automation and fleet management technologies. Crown operates 19 global production facilities and a service and distribution network that exceeds 500 retail locations in over 80 countries. The company’s expansion in Kinston will provide additional manufacturing and assembly space to meet growing customer demand.
“This expansion is part of our long-term vision to enhance our manufacturing flexibility and capacity,” said Todd Frideger, plant manager of Crown’s Kinston manufacturing facility. “We are pleased to strengthen our commitment to Kinston and the state of North Carolina through this investment and excited to create more career opportunities in region.”
“With the largest manufacturing workforce in the Southeast, North Carolina is poised to support Crown’s next phase of growth as they expand their manufacturing operations,” said N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Sanders. “Crown has been one of the larger employers in Lenoir County for more than 30 years. We welcome their continued investment and confidence in our business community and our people, especially during such unprecedented times.”
The North Carolina Department of Commerce led a team of partners in supporting Crown’s decision to expand their manufacturing footprint in North Carolina. The new positions include assemblers, engineers, machine operators, and support staff. The potential payroll impact for the new positions is more than $6.1 million per year. Lenoir County’s overall average annual wage is $38,241.
A performance-based grant of $400,000 from the One North Carolina Fund will help facilitate Crown Equipment’s expansion. 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 a matching grant from local governments and any award is contingent upon that condition being met.
Joining the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina were key partners in the project that included the North Carolina Global TransPark Economic Development Region, North Carolina Community College System, Lenoir Community College, Lenoir County, North Carolina’s Southeast, and the City of Kinston.