Alliance Pickens director excited about projects at commerce park
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Posted on April 15, 2017
By Greg Oliver
LIBERTY — A grin comes across Alliance Pickens executive director Ray Farley’s face when he talks about the four expansion projects underway at the Pickens County Commerce Park.
Four projects are currently underway at the Pickens County Commerce Park in Liberty. (Rex Brown | The Journal)
The four expansion projects involve three companies that are tops in the country in their respective fields — Reliable Automatic Sprinkler Co., era Contact USA and Abbott Laboratories, formerly known as St. Jude Medical.
Reliable, which is adding 150,000 square feet to its current 300,000-square-foot facility, holds the top spot when it comes to fire suppression worldwide. The Pickens County facility is Reliable’s only manufacturing site.
German-based electrical railway couplings leader era Contact, a new addition to the commerce park, is building a 40,000-square-foot plant. The local plant will be the company’s North American manufacturing headquarters.
Abbott Laboratories, first in the world in cardiac rhythm devices, is adding 60,000 square feet to its current 100,000-square-foot facility.
JR Automation Technologies, second in the world in custom automation solutions like robotics and automated machinery, is under construction for the first phase of its 50,000-square-foot facility, set for completion this month. The company has a site pad on site that would enable expansion of up to another 100,000 square feet.
Farley is also proud of what TaylorMade Adidas has brought to the commerce park. He said Taylormade, the top golf brand in the world, has produced more than 25 PGA and LPGA championships, including the winner of last Sunday’s Masters, as well as the Olympic gold medal winner, from the Liberty building.
“When Justin Rose and Sergio (Garcia) ended (hole No.) 18 tied (during the fourth round of the Masters on Sunday, which Garcia won in a playoff), I knew either way that Pickens County won, because both guys play with Pickens County (manufactured) golf balls,” Farley said. “It’s been quite an achievement for world-class companies to come here, and we’re very proud of that for such a small South Carolina community that we are.”
Farley said in addition to construction projects, work is also underway at the commerce park for a sewer line expansion.
“(Expansion) requires infrastructure, and having a sewer line like that will serve four more sites in the commerce park,” he said.
Farley said while he is excited about the construction already visible at the commerce park, the fact that there are also pad-ready sites on hand make the future even brighter.
“We like to think we’ve delivered here with three No. 1s and one No. 2 that has become an investment for the private sector,” Farley said. “For new industry, we have the opportunity to locate on a pad-ready site with all the utilities with three No. 1s across the street. With the vehicle we have and workforce development taking place, we’re confident these projects are going to thrive and have job-creative activity.”
The entire boundary of the Pickens County Commerce Park is 310 acres, and Farley said the final sites for the park are now being graded, with the yield being more than 40 acres.
When asked whether any future economic development announcements are expected this year, Farley replied, “Yes. We’re reasonably confident.”
One of the key reasons why Farley believes Pickens County is landing so many projects is not only through site development, but also workforce development — especially the impact of the Scholar Technician program.
“The key to success in economic development recruiting is product availability and workforce development,” Farley said. “Our workforce development activities, Scholar Technician and Pickens County Career and Technology Center have all helped with economic development projects.
“Bringing these four sites to pad-ready condition will significantly assist in our economic development recruitment — especially with these individual sites located adjacent to world No. 1 companies that exist in the commerce park.”
Farley said he is pleased that era Contact has already made the first hires from the technical high school program in Pickens County. The two students selected are now training in Germany.
There are currently a combined 1,600 employees at the commerce park, sitting on more than 950,000 square feet of industrial space. The expansion projects will bring more than $43 million in capital investment and more than 200 new jobs to Pickens County.
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