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Volvo Americas headquarters moving to Shippensburg

May 04, 2012|By ROXANN MILLER | roxann.miller@herald-mail.com
  • Andy Knight, operations president of Volvo Construction Equipment Americas, and Goran Lindgren, president of sales region Americas, break ground on the first phase of the $100 million expansion of its Shippensburg site at 312 Volvo Way on Friday.
By Roxann Miller

SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. — Volvo Construction Equipment broke ground Friday on the first phase of a $100-million expansion to make Shippensburg, Pa., the new Volvo Americas headquarters, generating several hundred jobs and a financial jolt to the local economy.

“We’re here to create jobs. We’re here to create a future for the employees that we have, but also to partner up with the community,” said Goran Lindgren, president of sales region Americas.

 Upon completion, the Shippensburg expansion will include a new, 36,000-square-foot Volvo Americas headquarters, a customer-demonstration center and a new production line of wheel loaders, excavators and off-highway haulers, said Bill Law, vice president of corporate communications for Volvo Construction Equipment Americas.

“Shippensburg is really an important part of our system,” Law said. “Shippensburg is the center for Americas business of Volvo Construction Equipment which includes South America, Central America and North America.”

There are 900 million consumers in the Americas market, he said.

“Depending on the economy, there will be hundreds of jobs coming as a result of the investment, depending on the market and how successfully we launch the product,” Law said.

The Shippensburg facility currently employs over 800 people, but that number will increase to about 1,000 when all operations from the company’s Asheville, N.C., facilities are transferred to Shippensburg, Law said.

Law said about 55 percent of the Asheville, N.C., employees are planning to transfer to Shippensburg.

The Shippensburg plant currently produces road construction equipment, but, as part of the $100 million investment, will begin producing wheel loaders starting in early 2013, followed by excavators and articulated haulers.

Meg Dameron, Volvo communications manager, said the company is adding more products to its line to reduce its lead-time to the market.

“If we’re making the product here in North America, it shortens that supply chain to our customers and helps the product get into the market quicker. It’s also a way for us to show visibly our commitment to North America,” Dameron said.

As Volvo expands its product line, the local and regional business community also benefits by providing components, company officials said.

“We want to build the machines locally, but we want to do all the purchasing here as well. So, we need to buy a lot of parts locally — preferably as near to the factory as possible,” said Andy Knight, operations president of Volvo Construction Equipment Americas.

Law said one of the later phases of the expansion is the building of a world-class customer-demonstration center to be used for exhibitions, testing and training.

The customer-demonstration center in North Carolina will be closed and moved to Shippensburg, Law said.

“The facility in North Carolina brings in over 10,000 visitors a year, and the Shippensburg center will be bigger than that,” Law said.

That could mean revenue for restaurants, hotels and other local businesses, he said.

Consolidating Volvo’s Americas operations in Shippensburg is a strategic move for the company.

“We really need some space. We don’t just build machines here; we design them. We test them; we run our purchasing here, as well as manufacture them,” Knight said.

To really make this site work as a world-class manufacturing facility, he said consolidating all the functions at one location was crucial.

“This is an enormous jumpstart to our economy. We couldn’t be more excited to see Volvo want to invest $100 million to relocate their entire Americas operation right here in Shippensburg,” said Rep. Rob Kauffman, R-Franklin/Cumberland.

“We know why this area is so great, and we’re excited that Volvo recognizes the extraordinary way of life we have here, the work ethic of our citizenry, and the value they will get bringing everything right here to Shippensburg.”

“The Volvo presence is a transformative type of investment,” said L. Michael Ross, president of the Franklin County Area Development Corp., Chambersburg, Pa.

“What we’re seeing here is an investment that every community in the country would want to occur,” Ross said. “They are making a $100-million investment in a town of 5,000 people in south central Pennsylvania. How does it get better than this?”

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