Sentinel Progress

Newberry welcomes Samsung

NEWBERRY — As the door of Caterpillar closes in Newberry, the window of Samsung has opened.

And that window is bringing a new $380 million manufacturing plant to Newberry County, with more than 950 jobs being created over the next three years.

Samsung is moving into the former Caterpillar plant at 284 Mawsons Way and is expected to be operational in early 2018. Samsung will be producing state-of-the-art home appliances and engaging in research and development.

“In terms of economic development, nothing bigger has ever happened in this community. This is a massive win on any scale, and we are delighted to be the future hosts of something so big,” Henry Livingston, Newberry County Council chairman, said Wednesday. “Today we welcome Samsung to our community. Over the past seven months, the growing relationship has led Samsung to Newberry a dozen times or more, and it has led us to Samsung headquarters in South Korea.”

Livingston said that this could not have happened at a better time in Newberry County.

Over a year ago Caterpillar announced they were closing operations in Newberry. He said this was one of the county’s largest employers and taxpayers.

“My response? Do not worry. We will find a way. We have a good solid building to market, a staff of hard working people who will literally go to the ends of the Earth to bring jobs and investment to Newberry. A community of the best reliable workers anywhere,” he said. “This is an excellent community and we always find a way to rise to the challenge. The old saying, when one door of opportunity closes, a window opens. A year ago a door closed for 300 of our people, but today a window opens for over 900. Thank you, Samsung.”

Livingston explained how Samsung will provide opportunity, not only for this current generation, but beyond. He said that the name Samsung becomes synonymous with opportunity in Newberry County.

“Six months ago I did not know a whole lot about Samsung. I knew it was a major electronic company that made cell phones, DVD players and appliances, but I learned a lot over this process, and I can tell you this company is driven a lot by imagination and innovation and are determined to make the world a better place,” Livingston said. “My first contact with Samsung was when I was asked to attend a meeting in Columbia this year, and show the economic professionals that they have our local leadership support. I went in with good intentions, modest expectations, but I do admit a bit skeptical.”

During that first meeting Livingston became aware of the vision and depth of Samsung. He said Samsung could have gone anywhere in the United States, but they chose Newberry County, a fact that makes Livingston proud.

Byungsam Suh, executive vice president, head of digital appliances business, for Samsung Electronics, said that over the recent months it has been a pleasure to get to know the state of South Carolina, with its strong leadership, dynamic business community and overall the passionate, hard working people who live here.

“I am very excited today as we announce our plans to open a new state-of-the-art facility right here in Newberry. This $380 million investment will create more than 950 local jobs and produce some of our most popular industrial home appliances for Samsung,” he said. “South Carolina workers are already delivering some of the highest quality products in the world.”

Tim Baxter, president and CEO of Samsung Electronics America, echoed much of Suh’s statement. He said that this investment confirms Samsung’s commitment to American consumers, American engineering and American innovation.

“We are especially grateful to the people of South Carolina for welcoming us and they truly welcomed us into their community,” he said. “This is our second facility in the Palmetto State, we have a large call center operation in Greenville. Samsung selection into this building based on more than your great barbecue, it is because Newberry County has a great skilled work force.”

Baxter added that they hope that this is the start of a long growing partnership and Samsung chooses their partners wisely, and work to grow together.

Gov. Henry McMaster added this is a major step forward and a major decision by Samsung. He said that Samsung could have decided to go anywhere in the world, but coming to Newberry County, South Carolina says a lot.

“What it means, of course we have a lot of assets, great natural resources, great port, great research, universities that work together. We really do have it all, as they will tell you most important factor is the people. The people of South Carolina, known now internationally as a handshake state, where your word counts. Known for loyal people, passionate people, strong and resilient. Our people will work and that is what has made all the difference,” he said.

Comments from other leaders around the state

“This type of investment is central to the quality of life and the superior workforce and business climate that South Carolina continues to hold the gold standard on,” said Stephen Gilchrist, chairman of the South Carolina African American Chamber of Commerce. “We commend Samsung on its presence in South Carolina and look forward to their footprint and desired outcomes for public private partnerships.”

“South Carolina has a long and storied history in manufacturing. We continue to show the world that whether we are building planes, assembling automobiles or manufacturing state-of-the-art appliances, we are a state that knows how to make top-quality products. Having a global name like Samsung locate its new $380 million manufacturing plant here is a testament to our ability to get things done.” said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt.

“S.C. Ports Authority congratulates Samsung on their plans to establish operations in South Carolina. Their announcement is very significant to the Port, and it reflects our ability to meet the global supply chain needs of major international manufacturers. We are pleased to serve a company the size of Samsung through our Charleston facilities, and look forward to supporting their long-term success in our state.” said S.C. Ports Authority president and CEO Jim Newsome.

“We are honored to have a globally-renowned name like Samsung select Newberry County and the Central S.C. region as a new location for their manufacturing operations, and we congratulate both. This is an exciting project, and we welcome this international company and their marquee products.” said Central S.C. Alliance Chairman Mike Brenan.

“The creation of nearly a thousand jobs is great news for our local community in Newberry. Our amazing state continues to lead the way in attracting economic development initiatives that have created more opportunities for folks across our state. We are also blessed with some of the most hardworking Americans our country has to offer, and know that Samsung will benefit from such a strong, local workforce,” said Sen. Tim Scott.

Governor Henry McMaster talks about the people of South Carolina and how their hard work led to Samsung moving into the state. Henry McMaster talks about the people of South Carolina and how their hard work led to Samsung moving into the state. Andrew Wigger | The Newberry Observer
Byungsam Suh commends the people of South Carolina, who he says are already delivering some of the highest quality products in the world. Suh commends the people of South Carolina, who he says are already delivering some of the highest quality products in the world. Andrew Wigger | The Newberry Observer
Governor Henry McMaster presented Tim Baxter and Byungsam Suh with a plate engraved with the South Carolina’s seal. Henry McMaster presented Tim Baxter and Byungsam Suh with a plate engraved with the South Carolina’s seal. Andrew Wigger | The Newberry Observer

By Andrew Wigger

Reach Andrew Wigger at 803-276-0625 ext. 1867 or on Twitter @ TheNBOnews.