Gov. Mark Sanford, the South Carolina Department of Commerce, Dorchester County and the Charleston Regional Development Alliance announced that the IMO Group, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of slewing rings and slew drives, as well as experts in the machine and plant manufacturing sector, will locate its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Dorchester County. The South Carolina operation will be called IMO USA Corp. and will ultimately employ 190 workers and generate a $47 million capital investment. The company will occupy a building in the McQueen Industrial Park off of Jedburg Road.
Headquartered in the South of Germany, the family-owned IMO has been named one of “Bavaria’s Top 50” companies and listed among Europe’s 500 fastest growing companies for several years in a row. The company’s slewing rings are used in many applications, including blade, yaw and single main bearings for wind turbines up to 5+ megawatts; blade bearings for tidal stream systems; and slewing rings for construction machinery, tunneling and mining, medical technology and ship building. IMO’s patented slew drives are used in manlift platforms, solar tracking, cranes and as steering gears. The company also offers products and solutions for the machine and plant manufacturing sector as well as in environmental technology.
In seeking its first U.S. home, IMO executives were focused on locations within three hours of a major seaport, access to a major airport and a 40,000-square-foot facility. They also sought a region with technically trained and academically prepared workers. The company will utilize the Port of Charleston for both importing materials and exporting products and will service multiple markets from its Dorchester County operation including the U.S., Europe and Asia.
“South Carolina is well known throughout Germany as a good place to do business,” said Rüdiger Unverzagt, CEO of IMO USA Corp. “Charleston’s strong port coupled with its strengthening profile in alternative energy gave us complete confidence in our decision to come here.”
With over 20 years experience in the alternative energy sector, IMO serves customers worldwide, including several of the top wind turbine manufacturers.
“Today's announcement by IMO speaks to the progress our state and Dorchester County in particular are making in the global race for jobs, capital investment and way of life,” said Gov. Mark Sanford. “I'd offer special thanks to the team at Commerce, local officials and economic developers for their hard work, as this announcement represents yet another substantial dividend from our state's continuing efforts to increase our competitiveness and improve our state's business climate. For that, and for the immediate and positive impact this substantial investment will bring to Dorchester County, I'd join with many across the state in welcoming IMO to South Carolina.”
“We are delighted to make an economic development announcement such as this and to welcome another international company to Dorchester County. IMO is a strong and growing company that will become a top-notch facility within one of our emerging industry sectors,” said Jamie Feltner, chairman of Dorchester County Council. “Economic development is critical to supporting county services by supplementing the tax base and supplying additional revenue to the school district. The county has put together a very aggressive and innovative economic development strategic plan and team, and hopefully this is just one of many project announcements to come this year.”
CRDA Chairman Mitchell Bohannon welcomed the news. “With our focus on building a globally competitive regional economy, IMO is just the sort of dynamic company we want to bring to the tri-county region. Armed with 20 years of experience, and focused on the exciting future of alternative energy, IMO promises to contribute quality jobs, quality products and quality thinking to this community.”
IMO anticipates its Dorchester County facility will be open by July 2010. IMO will be filling a variety of highly-skilled positions including jobs in: engineering, production, sales and quality assurance. Those interested in applying for positions should visit the S.C. Tech Jobs Web site at www.sctechjobs.com or contact the Dorchester One Stop Career Center at 843.821.0695 or visit their office at 2885 W. 5th North Street in Summerville.