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Company breaks ground on new headquarters in Chambersburg

April 04, 2007|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Hirschmann Automation and Control Inc. has had a presence in Chambersburg since the early 1990s with a warehouse, but Tuesday it broke ground on a 35,000-square-foot office and warehouse complex that will become its headquarters for the Americas.

Electronic Control Systems is Hirschmann's biggest division, selling control systems for cranes to companies such as Manitowoc, President Mark Hendel said. Manitowoc also has a presence in Franklin County, having purchased Grove Worldwide a few years ago.

The company's other divisions supply cable connectors and industrial computer networking components to industries, Hendel said.

Hirschmann will lease the building from the Chambersburg Area Development Corp., which is building the $4.4 million structure at 1540 Orchard Drive, Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce President David Sciamanna said. The building, within site of Hirschmann's current warehouse, is scheduled to be completed by the contractor, Brechbill and Helman, by late September.

The new building in the Chambers-5 Business Park will hold the current work force of 74 people and have room for expected expansion of the number of employees over the next five years, Hendel said. Sciamanna said the 15,000-square-foot warehouse could eventually be expanded to 50,000 square feet and the 20,000-square-foot office section also can be enlarged, if needed.

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"To me, this is the best lot in the whole city, and not just because it's next to a beer distributor," Hendel said at the ceremony. The company is consolidating its headquarters operations, which had been split between Chambersburg and Germantown, Md., he said.

The building will have training and conference facilities and a modern warehouse, Hendel said. Hirschmann does about $250 million in sales worldwide, but its acquisition by the Belden Co. of St. Louis last week makes it part of a $2 billion corporation, he said.

"We're no longer a German company," said Hendel, who has been the president of the company's North American and South American division for three years.

Hirschmann's biggest clients include Rockwell Automation and Emerson Electric in addition to Manitowoc, Hendel said.

Chambersburg Area Development Corp. President Jake Kaufman said the building incorporates the latest in "green" design, which includes the use of recycled materials and energy conservation measures.

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