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Current drive maker moving to Pa.

December 06, 2008|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A Finnish manufacturer of electronic-control devices that will be moving its North American headquarters to Chambersburg next year was welcomed Friday by Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell with $657,000 in state funding.

Vacon Inc. purchased the adjustable-speed-drive business from Chambersburg manufacturer TB Woods in January and employs 55 people at leased facilities in Chambersburg and Scotland, Pa.

The Chambersburg Area Development Corp. will build Vacon's 69,000-square-foot headquarters for $8.4 million in the Chambers-5 Business Park, leasing it to the company for 10 years, Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce President David Sciamanna said.

Rendell said the $657,000 in funding will be in the form of tax credits, job creation grants and customized job training assistance. Vacon has committed to creating 94 new jobs by the end of 2012, he said.

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"These are good Commonwealth investments," said the governor, who earlier in the day announced the state would provide $35 million in financial support for the National Gateway, a CSX-backed project to improve freight rail corridors running through Pennsylvania and six other states.

"I am a Finnish engineer, and neither Finns nor engineers are known to be very talkative," Vacon President Dan Isaksson said. He did say that Vacon, a subsidiary of Vacon PLC, designs and manufactures alternating current drives, basically the control systems for electric motors.

One major application for its devices is in electric power-generating windmills, Isaksson said. The headquarters in Chambersburg will be both a manufacturing and office complex.

The company, whose growth has averaged 20 percent a year in the past eight years, has production facilities in several countries and markets its products in more than 100 nations, Isaksson said. The company employs more than 1,100 people worldwide, he said.

Coming to Chambersburg is part of Vacon's strategy to "continuously strengthen the company's global presence," Isaksson said. Vacon will be able to expand its product line and shorten delivery times in North America, he said.

Sciamanna said Vacon will be able to move into the new headquarters by October.

Franklin County Area Development Corp. President L. Michael Ross said the Vacon plant will complete the buildout of the 350-acre Chambers-5 Business Park.

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