Dorchester County, the South Carolina Department of Commerce and the Charleston Regional Development Alliance joined ArborGen Inc., a biotechnology company focused on the science of forestry, in announcing that the company will expand its global headquarters to a new 13.5 acre campus in Dorchester County. The $14.3 million facility will be located in Dorchester County near Summerville and will house its laboratories, production and administrative functions, as well as a 35,000-square-foot greenhouse. The company expects to create 25 new, high paying jobs over the next five years.
Company officials credit numerous factors in the decision to expand in the Charleston region, including an expanding pool of local research talent, the rapid growth of its biotechnology business in the Southeast and the support received from state and federal officials.
Barbara Wells, president and CEO of ArborGen, said, “From the beginning, ArborGen has received great support from every level of government and from private-sector colleagues. We credit this support with helping our biotech firm achieve steady growth and expansion since our founding in 2000. We are passionate about helping the forestry sector meet the world’s growing demand for wood, fiber and energy, and excited to do so from our home in South Carolina. Thank you for making today possible, as we could not have attained so much, so quickly, without your support.”
Founded in South Carolina, ArborGen now has more than 174 employees in the United States, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand. The company locally employs 70, including 15 staff members with master’s or doctorate degrees.
In addition to a knowledgeable, highly-skilled and available local workforce, ArborGen re-committed to the Charleston area because of its long history in forestry combined with a community that welcomes the advances ArborGen is making. Officials also foresee long term opportunities to be a part of South Carolina’s technology boom. The company currently collaborates with organizations statewide including South Carolina State University, Claflin University, Savannah River National Laboratory, South Carolina Governor’s School and others to ensure a stable and ready pipeline of talent well into the future.
“ArborGen is the leading supplier of improved seedlings with customers throughout the world. The company’s growth here is another indication that South Carolina has the workforce talent necessary for industry leaders and high tech innovators to be successful in today’s highly competitive environment. Commerce along with our local economic development allies have been working with ArborGen for several years to make this expansion a reality and it is great today to see this South Carolina-grown business take another step forward. South Carolina and Dorchester County look forward to growing with ArborGen in the years ahead,” said Joe Taylor, South Carolina Secretary of Commerce.
“This project is the culmination of hard work by many partners. Grant funding provided by the EDA for infrastructure was critical to landing the project, as was assistance provided by Congressman Clyburn and his staff, and we greatly appreciate their support,” explained Jamie Feltner, chairman of the Dorchester County Council. “We are making great strides in attracting new industries to Dorchester County, and announcements like today’s speak to the progress we are making in creating jobs and encouraging investment in our community.”
“The new global headquarters will serve as a beacon for both business and scientific research,” said Mitchell Bohannon, chairman of the Charleston Regional Development Alliance. “ArborGen hires numerous PhDs and other highly trained and skilled scientists, professionals and researchers. The company’s decision to grow here says a lot about their confidence in our region’s workforce and our growing bioscience cluster.”
ArborGen anticipates its Dorchester County facility will be open by third quarter of 2011. You can learn more about ArborGen at www.arborgen.com.
About ArborGen Inc.
ArborGen Inc. is a leader in tree improvement and the commercial production of trees. The company helps engineer productive, sustainable methods for helping the global forest industry meet the growing demand for wood, pulp & paper. Enabling more wood to be grown on less land helps conserve native forests in all their beauty, diversity and complexity. With one of the world's most extensive tree germplasm resources, ArborGen uses both traditional breeding and advanced genetic technologies, to discover and produce high yield seedlings for its customers, allowing them to significantly increase the productivity of their forests and manufacturing processes. For more information, please visit www.arborgen.com.
About S.C. Department of Commerce
The S.C. Department of Commerce works closely with economic development professionals throughout the state to recruit new jobs and investments and help existing businesses grow. Commerce has been recognized for its success in the areas of job creation and economic impact by Area Development and Business Facilities magazines. The S.C. Department of Commerce was one of 10 state economic development organizations to receive Area Development’s Silver Shovel Award in 2009 and Commerce received the 2009 Deal of the Year award from Business Facilities magazine. Commerce received the top prize for Boeing’s selection of North Charleston for the company’s second final assembly plant for the 787 Dreamliner program. In addition to job and investment recruitment, the agency provides a range of business support services, offers grants for community development and infrastructure improvements, and provides tools to enhance workforce skills. For more information, visit www.SCcommerce.com.