CEO Perspectives: Why We’re Here
Who: Denise M. Morrison, CEO and President, Campbell Soup Company
Site History: Campbell opened its headquarters and operations in Camden, New Jersey, in 1869 and has remained there. In 2007, the company completed a $132 million expansion, adding an 80,000-square-foot employee center and acquiring several adjacent properties slated for development as an office park.
Why New Jersey?: Campbell values the access its Camden location provides to Washington, D.C., New York City and Philadelphia, just across the river. The company extolls the region’s transportation infrastructure and proximity to such colleges as Rutgers, the University of Pennsylvania and St. Joseph’s.
Bottom Line: “We applaud the efforts of New Jersey state officials to be pro-business. In working with local and state governments, we strongly supported the new economic development reforms in the recently passed New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act of 2013. The economic development incentives and tax credits under the Act will make Camden and the Gateway Office Park we are working to develop adjacent to our headquarters an alluring home for companies.”
Who: Chip Bottone, CEO and President, FuelCell Energy
Site History: FuelCell Energy was founded in Danbury, Connecticut as Energy Research Corporation in 1969, operating out of a 72,000-square-foot facility it still owns. The company was reincorporated in Delaware in 1999 and renamed FuelCell Energy. It maintains power-generation plants in nearby Torrington as well as Bridgeport. An additional plant was recently opened in Hwasung City, South Korea.
Why Connecticut?: FuelCell Energy has remained in Danbury to tap the “skill set and stability of our work force, about 250 well-educated people.”
Bottom Line: “There has been improved communications between government and private industry in Connecticut, not just to save jobs but to create jobs. I talk with the governor and his commissioners on a fairly regular basis. When we had to put people on a shorter work week in the Spring of 2012, for example, they worked with us to pay some of the differential so people kept their benefits. We’ve also had projects that couldn’t get done in the initially specified time frame, and they got certain legislation passed so we could continue and get financing.”
Who: Edward Price, CEO and President, PCI Synthesis
Site History: Ed Price founded PCI, a custom chemical-manufacturing company, in 1996, in a 5,000-square-foot chemical plant in Leominster, Massachusetts. After a 2005 fire destroyed the plant, the company moved to an acquired 70,000-square-foot facility in Newburyport.
Why Massachusetts?: Price built his company locally to tap over 20 years of chemical development and manufacturing experience he’d obtained at other companies in metro-Boston. The region’s strong cluster supports a deep specialized labor pool and provides valuable networking opportunities.
Bottom Line: “Our main advantage is our location and being within Boston’s huge Life Science cluster. As the FDA has made the regulatory environment more stringent, communication with clients has become more important. We’re active in the Mass Biotech Council and meet often with clients, prospects, investors and collaborators. There’s a huge amount of outsourcing in this industry, and we’re part of that.”
Who: Mike Granby, President, Red Lion Controls
Site History: Red Lion Controls was founded in York, Pennsylvania in 1972. The industrial-control manufacturer company has acquired companies in New York, Alabama and St. Louis and consolidated them in York, employing about 200 people.
Why Pennsylvania?: Competitive labor and fixed costs, large engineering labor pool and good logistics.
Bottom Line: “There are several advantages to manufacturing in Pennsylvania. Real estate and overhead costs are very reasonable; we are able to get very competent staff for manufacturing and engineering. Engineers tend to stick around without the churn of Silicon Valley. As for logistics, we can ship in and out very easily. We do an awful lot of next-day delivery and this is valuable.”
Who: Dave Thuro, President, Thuro Metal Products
Site History: Dave’s father, Albert Thuro, a machine-tools engineer, founded TMP in 1971 as a hydraulic-fittings manufacturer and aircraft defense supplier. In 1976, the company purchased a 9,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Amityville, New York. In 1982, the company purchased and moved into its present plant, a 25,000-square-foot building in nearby Brentwood. In 1998, TMP doubled its footprint, expanding into an additional 27,000 square feet of adjacent assembly space. Since 2010, it has invested nearly $4 million in new machinery, equipment and plant renovations.
Reason for Location: The company’s roots span over two generations are in the Long Island/New York market.
Bottom Line: “We stay in New York because of the highly skilled work force and access to lower-skilled labor. What we do is very specialized and getting entry-level help is very important to us. The region has a large population of Hispanics and we can hire very diligent, hard-working people at $9 an hour. I’m not sure you could hire for less in the south.”