PICKENS COUNTY — era-contact, a German based company that produces couplings for electric railways, announced a new facility to be built in Commerce Park off U.S. 123 in Liberty.
The space will serve as the company’s North American headquarters, bringing 45 new jobs to the Upstate as well as a $3.6 million investment to the area.
“We are excited to welcome era-contact USA’s North American manufacturing headquarters to Pickens County,” said S.C. Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. “They are demonstrating to the world that South Carolina remains ‘just right’ for businesses of all types, including corporate headquarters operations.”
The expansion of era-contact marks the fourth announcement of large industry growth in Pickens County in the past few weeks alone.
Reliable Sprinkler, St. Jude Medical and Zero Connect have all recently unveiled construction plans that are expected to bring approximately 236 new jobs to the area.
“It’s always a great day in our state when we can welcome a company like era-contact USA to the South Carolina family,” said Gov. Nikki Haley. “Their decision to create 45 new jobs in Pickens County is a huge win for the people of South Carolina and is a real reason to celebrate across the state.”
The initial structure for era-contact is expected to be roughly 38,000-square-feet but because company executives are anticipating growth, the building will be built on a 90,000-square-foot pad. Construction is expected to be competed early 2017.
Jennifer Willis, chair of the Pickens County Council, said the decision by era-contact helps reaffirm the county’s commitment to economic development.
“era-contact USA could have located their new facility anywhere, but knew that Pickens County ‘s commitment to workforce development, community support and world-class technical education would set the company up for success for many years to come,” Willis said. “Pickens County Council is delighted to welcome era-contact USA to our community and looks forward to watching their growth and success.”
According to era-contact USA Managing Director Jochen Kurz, the deal was made in the old fashioned way: with a handshake.
“It was love at first sight,” said Kurz. “We had an inspection of the whole Commerce Park, we saw the neighbors, we saw the constructions (sic) that where built on here and we were absolutely impressed with what’s growing up here. This was one of the main reasons why we have also relocated at the Commerce Park in Pickens County.”
In addition to electric railway couplings, era-connect also allows for transmission of power and control signals and is currently the only company that provides Ethernet solutions between train cars.
Originally known as FABEG, the company was founded in Berlin in 1928 as a subsidiary of AEG. FABEG was involved in the manufacture of steam generators and the production of electricity for electric lighting in locomotives. FABEG was then integrated into the aichele GROUP in 2000 as part of a corporate takeover and became known as era-contact three years later.
The company currently has operations in eight countries and across four continents, employing over 700 people worldwide. The first era-contact location in the United States (a sales offices in Hauppauge, N.Y.) is expected to close following the completion of the S.C. facility.
“As a medium-sized and family-owned company, we are very pleased and satisfied by the warm welcome and the strong support we get here in South Carolina, especially from Pickens County. We already feel right at home and are looking forward to becoming a strong and valuable member of the local and international business community,” said Kurz.
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.