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Atlas Copco surpasses hiring goal at Fort Loudon plant

July 14, 2010|By JENNIFER FITCH
  • Jaco Van derMerwe, left, and Keith Mackling from Atlas Copco speak briefly before the company's ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday in Fort Loudon, Pa.
Jennifer Fitch, Staff Writer

FORT LOUDON, Pa. -- Atlas Copco officials announced Wednesday they've already met the three-year hiring commitment made last September as they broke ground for an expansion of the company's U.S. 30 facility.

Back then, the global manufacturer of mining and construction products said it would hire an additional 15 people within three years for the campus at the intersection with Pa. 75. Comments from Wednesday's ribbon-cutting ceremony revealed that goal has already been met, with a couple extra people hired beyond that.

"I think we've shown to our division management a good quality product and a good working relationship," plant manager Keith Mackling said.

"They've done a really good job for us," said Jaco Van derMerwe, vice president of manufacturing.

Atlas Copco added the Fort Loudon facility to the corporation in 1989. Mackling said corporate leaders already invested millions of dollars into the plant before embarking on an expansion involving a 19,000-square-foot building.

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The 46 employees made their first shipment from the new building last week, Mackling said.

State Sen. Richard Alloway II, R-Franklin/Adams/York, said he expects Atlas Copco's drill bit production to be in even greater demand as more natural gas drilling occurs in the northern part of Pennsylvania. Drillers are leasing more land in the Marcellus Shale formation.

Alloway said the Atlas Copco project upholds his campaign promise to enhance the tax base in the Tuscarora School District.

"We really want to see this area expand out here. ... As an international company, they could've gone anywhere to do this expansion," he said.

Franklin County (Pa.) Area Development Corp. President L. Michael Ross agreed with the importance of commercial and industrial development in the Tuscarora School District.

"At FCADC, we like to see economic development through all of Franklin County," he said.

Atlas Copco has grown despite the rough economy, Van derMerwe said.

"It's a testament of the quality we have," he said.

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