PICKENS — Pickens County continues to reap the benefits of economic development as Michigan based JR Automation Technologies LLC announced plans Tuesday to expand and locate its new sales, engineering and manufacturing facility in the county.
Based in Holland, Mich., JR Automation Technologies is a maker of automation equipment for the automotive, pharmaceutical, food and general industries. The company is investing more than $2 million and is expected to create 54 new high-tech jobs in Pickens County over the next five years.
However, the Michigan plant and its jobs will remain intact.
Alliance Pickens Executive Director Ray Farley said the decision was directly attributed to Pickens County schools, the new Career and Technology Center and Tri-County Technical College.
“What JR Automation Technologies needs is technology sound and technology competent employees who can solve problems and our students are being taught how to solve technical problems,” Farley said.
Bryan Jones, vice-president for JR Automation Technologies, LLC, said the company was looking to expand in the Southeast region when they were contacted about Pickens County. What impressed Jones more than anything was the similarity between Pickens County and Holland, Mich.
“From a work ethic point of view, Holland, like Pickens County, is a very traditional, conservative community,” Jones said.
The company will locate its new manufacturing facility at 1473 Walhalla Highway in Pickens, the company’s first facility in South Carolina and first outside of Michigan. JR Automation officials see the move as an important step in increasing support of its existing customer base and are also excited about new opportunities in the manufacturing base of the southeastern United States. The company also plans to work closely with local businesses in supplying its needs and will outsource about 30 percent of its work to local machine shops, metal fabricators and the like.
Pickens County Council chairman Jennifer Willis said the economic development announcement “is a tremendous win for the citizens of Pickens County.”
“Our resources in Pickens County are great and we are thrilled to share them with our businesses,” Willis said.
JR Automation Technologies will be located in the former Pace Paving Technologies facility that has been vacant for several months. The company will begin hiring for the positions in the near future and anyone interested in job opportunities in engineering and skilled manufacturing trades with the company should contact ReadySC.