Seventeen months ago, a large international firm bought a Mount Airy-based company, prompting fears among some that would lead to eventual job losses locally.
Surry County Economic Development Partnership President Todd Tucker had other ideas when Altec Industries purchased a division of Pike Electric, LLC.
“I don’t think it’s bad news,” Tucker said when the sale was announced in March 2016. “It may be a gain for us,” he said, explaining there were some signs Altec actually wanted to grow its new Mount Airy presence, adding more jobs.
Turns out, Tucker was right.
Friday the North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority and the local EDC announced Surry County had received a building reuse grant for $500,000 to be used in making improvements to its 205,000-square-foot building at 200 Altec Way just outside of Mount Airy.
The work will entail making room for for new offices, a break room, bathroom, and manufacturing space, which is expected to create 50 jobs as well as a total investment of more than $5 million, according to information released by both the Infrastructure Authority and the EDC.
“The new jobs will pay wages above the Surry County average wage,” Tucker’s office said, though neither the EDC nor Altec released the actual salaries of the new positions. The EDC does state in its March 2017 Surry County Economic Overview the average annual wage for workers in Surry County is $33,751.
“We kind of knew, we had been working with them at that point, to help them formalize their plans,” Tucker said of the behind-the-scenes negotiations going on nearly a year-and-a-half ago.
“They (Altec) are a great company, privately owned, they treat their people well,” he said. “A lot of Pike’s people stayed, did well there.”
Tucker said the job announcement is simply a continuation of what’s been going on at the local Altec location since March 2016. At that time, he said the location had somewhere in the neighborhood of 70 workers, which has steadily climbed to around 120 now. This latest announcement will push that figure up another 50 — and Tucker said he expects to eventually see 200 individuals working at the location.
Altec, marking its 88th year in operation, is a provider of products and services to the electric utility, telecommunications, tree care, lights and signs, and contractor markets.
“We deliver products and services in more than 100 countries throughout the world,” the firm says on its website. “Altec Inc. is the holding company for Altec Industries, Global Rental, Altec NUECO, Altec Worldwide, Altec Capital, Altec Supply, and Altec Ventures, LLC.”
The news was welcomed by local officials.
“On behalf of the entire Board of Commissioners, we are excited that Altec has chosen to expand and create 50 new jobs,” said Eddie Harris, chairman of the Surry County Board of Commissioners. “We strive to ensure a business friendly environment for Surry County employers and are appreciative that Altec has chosen to grow their operation in our community.”
“Altec would like to thank the Surry County Economic Development Partnership, the Surry County Board of Commissioners, and the State of North Carolina in their effort to help us grow our operation,” said Ben Griffin, general manager, Altec Industries. “We have enjoyed a very warm welcome from the local community and our many customers over the last year and are excited to create jobs right here in Mount Airy that will add to our current outstanding associate team. We look forward to providing exciting job opportunities to trained workers including engineers, welders, machine operators, electrical and hydraulic assemblers.”
“We are very excited that Altec is expanding its location here in Surry County,” Tucker said. “We have worked with the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, the North Carolina Department of Commerce, Surry County, and Colliers International out of Charlotte to help the company grow and hire more people. Surry County is a great location for companies, and we are glad that we could be a part of this important project.”
To find out more about the jobs that will be available, visit www.altec.com.