BY KARISSA MILLER

Doosan Bobcat, a global leader in the compact equipment industry, broke ground Tuesday morning to celebrate the start of construction for a new $70 million, 600,000-square-foot manufacturing, warehousing and distribution site in Statesville.

The expansion will double the facility’s footprint to nearly 1.2 million square feet and add 62 acres to the current 92-acre campus, making it the company’s largest manufacturing campus worldwide.

“This is an exciting day for Doosan Bobcat and our team in North Carolina,” said Mike Ballweber, president of Doosan Bobcat North America. “As the demand for our products continues to grow, this investment not only increases production capacity and enhances our network of manufacturing operations throughout North America, but it also positions us to support our growing business now and well into the future.”

With around 400 full-time current employees, the company’s expansion will create 42 new jobs in the first two years and up to 250 new jobs in five years for a total of 650 employees.

The starting wage is $16 an hour for assembly and skilled positions. Careers include production, manufacturing, engineering and operations positions.

All of these positions offer competitive and comprehensive benefits packages, initial and ongoing training, and the opportunity for career advancement roles, officials stated.

Doosan Bobcat executives also noted that the company has been active in leadership and support for vocational and workforce development programs to support manufacturing, engineering and technology education.

Doosan Bobcat’s apprenticeship program, for example, allows a high school student to receive on-the-job training, earn their degree for free and also advance within the company.

Hundreds of Doosan Bobcat employees, along with elected officials and community and business leaders, were on hand to celebrate the project with company executives on Tuesday morning.

Guest speakers included North Carolina Labor Commissioner Josh Dobson, Iredell County Board of Commissioners Chairman James Mallory and Statesville Mayor Costi Kutteh.

“This is a proud moment for the state of North Carolina,” Dobson said. “Today’s groundbreaking and the company’s continued investments in North Carolina is a testament to our state’s positive business climate and talented workforce. We thank Doosan Bobcat for their commitment to our state and for providing a safe and healthy workplace and promising career opportunities to North Carolinians.”

 “This is a tremendous day. I’m proud most days to be mayor. I’m particularly proud to be mayor today,” Kutteh said.

“This day demonstrates Doosan Bobcat is putting down even deeper roots in Statesville. We are very proud of what has been accomplished through the years and what is beginning here today,” he added.

Mallory said that this expansion is just the latest example of the county commission’s commitment to bring quality jobs to Iredell.

“This is an incredible investment in our county, our city and our region,” Mallory said. “It’s not just an investment in the plant, but it’s in investment in our people. It’s the development of the workforce that’s second to none.”

Doosan Bobcat’s commitment to invest in the future, Mallory said, won’t produce instant results, but will come to fruition four to five years down the road.

Iredell-Statesville Schools teachers got a chance to tour the plant so they can share with young people careers of the future, he said.

Following official remarks, Doosan Bobcat executives used Bobcat equipment to move dirt in the ceremonial groundbreaking at 1293 Glenway Drive.

Doosan Portable Power Global Vice President Lance Mathern praised the work and commitment of Statesville employees, the project team and the ongoing support of state and local officials.

“It has been quite the journey to get us where we are right now, and I am really proud of the work of this team and the support of our partners, officials and the community,” said Mathern. “We will look back at this day and know we were here when the ground was broken, which led to new opportunities and ready for what the future brings.”

About the Expansion

The design team includes Shultz + Associates Architects and Omega Construction as the construction manager. The project is slated for completion fall 2022.

Within the new, connected addition, the expansion will add space for the following:

• Manufacturing and warehousing
• Research and development,
• Automated paint lines,
• Parts control and storage, and
• Shipping and receiving docks

The building’s design includes high exterior windows to provide abundant, natural daylight helpful for a quality workplace environment.

The Statesville operations have been a part of Doosan Bobcat since 2008. The company employs approximately 4,500 people at 13 facilities in seven states.

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