Reynolds American will begin hiring this summer to fill 200 new positions that are being created at its Tobaccoville facility for production of its new e-cigarette product Vuse.
The jobs, mostly manufacturing related, are expected to have an average salary of $40,000 and full benefits. The company plans to fill the new positions over a four-year period.
The company is also making a multi-million dollar investment in new equipment for the facility, although Reynolds American President Susan Cameron would not reveal the exact amount of the investment to protect trade secrets. The new equipment will fill approximately 70,000 square feet in the existing facility.
“Today is about transformation,” Cameron said at a press conference at the facility on Friday. “Transformation of an industry, transformation of a manufacturing facility, transformation of a community and a state, and possibly transformation of lives.”
“This company had a decision to make,” said Governor Pat McCory, who participated in the press conference. “They could have gone anyplace in the world and they decided to stay right here at home.”
McCory said that decision was a testament to the quality of the work force in the area.
“They would not have made this decision without the existing employees displaying a good work ethic and great production and technical skills,” he said. “Because of the existing employees, you are helping in the creation of 200 new jobs in North Carolina.”
McCory added that no incentives had been offered to Reynolds American to locate the new production in the state.
“That is a real tribute to this area and the labor marketplace,” he said. “I know for a fact that they were considering other states and I am so glad they chose to make North Carolina their choice.”
“We love our facility and our employees and we want the jobs to be here,” said Cameron. “We will be expanding and delivering the future of our company from right here in Tobaccoville.”
Cameron said she also expected to see additional businesses locate in the area to help support the new production at the facility.
“We hope to get spin offs of suppliers,” agreed McCory. “There is a real opportunity.”
King Mayor Jack Warren said the announcement was a real boon to the community.
“I like what they said about there being other businesses coming in to expand to keep up with the products they need for production,” he said. “We have land available and we have an industrial park right across the street.
“We are ready for them,” he added. “I think this is great for King and Tobaccoville. It is going to help the community.”
Reynolds has begun sales of its new vapor product in Utah and Colorodo and claim it has become the top selling vapor cigarette in those markets. The company plans to introduce Vuse nationwide starting in mid to late June.
“If our past successes in converting smokers to Vuse are any indication of our future response from adult tobacco consumers nationwide, we’ll need new-generation, high-speed equipment and larger workforce to support he market demand,” Cameron said.
Currently the Vuse products are being produced in a contractor’s facility in Kansas, and Cameron said both the existing facility and the new equipment will be needed to meet expected demand.
Nicholas Elmes may be reached at 336-591-8191 or on Twitter @NicholasElmes.