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State eyes huge impact from EFACEC
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Workers at the new EFACEC plant in Rincon get ready to crank up the transformer production lines. - photo by Photo provided
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EFACEC’s power transformer manufacturing plant outside of Rincon looks to play a vital role in re-energizing the regional economy with a net state impact of $23.75 million and an additional Effingham County impact of $39 million by 2017, according to figures from the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Global Commerce Division.

Over 1,500 workers, including skilled assembly workers, electrical engineering specialists, and suppliers will make a significant, permanent, and positive impact on the state and regional economy in the coming decade.

Despite economic turbulence since 2007, when the figures were calculated, actual growth is tracking closely with projections, which cover the period from 2008 through 2017. The figures are based on past and ongoing expenses, wages, taxes, population shifts, and the application of mathematical formulas to extrapolate future data.

“It’s been an honor to grow our relationship with EFACEC over the last few years,” said Gov. Sonny Perdue. “The company’s economic impact will benefit Georgia citizens for many years beyond the scope of our original projections, and we look forward to working with the company as it continues to grow in our state.”

The plant’s arrival makes it the third largest employer in the region, behind the Effingham County Board of Education and the Georgia Pacific Savannah River Mill (1,695 and 1,306 jobs, respectively). 

“We have seen the mitigating effects over the recession as the construction was under way,” said John A. Henry, CEO of the Effingham County Industrial Development Authority.

He described a ripple effect through the economy that is being felt locally in hearts and minds as well as wallets.

“Our restaurants, apartment complexes, and retail establishments have already benefited greatly from this project,” Henry said. “The visual impact of the facility as you drive along Highway 21 in the county is immense. It has been a source of pride and hope during the past 18 months or so. We have also seen reinvestment in local convenience stores, plans for new ones and a new grocery anchored development within two miles of the facility.”

As the plant continues hiring aggressively, more than 400 employees are working steadily toward delivery of its first orders this April. 

“The high wage and high tech attributes of the project have really had the community talking and realizing the potential in the area,” Henry said. “What EFACEC has done in the past 12 months for the morale of this community will never be superseded by any amount of revenue generation. Everyone knows someone who has been hired by the company.”

EFACEC has been hiring workers from among those successfully completing a QuickStart supported industrial assembly class at Savannah Technical College’s Effingham campus.  Each month, several dozen job seekers complete the training program.

And EFACEC continues to hire, with the goal of adding 200 more workers by 2013, bringing the total at the plant to 624. With an additional 929 associated jobs statewide to support supply and distribution of products, the total state jobs figure should reach 1,535 by 2017.

In addition to the jobs EFACEC is bringing to the state, the report also projects a 10-year net state fiscal impact of $39 million for Effingham County and an additional $23.75 million statewide. Total impact figures for the next four years include $765,790 for 2010 and $1,415,270 for 2011. 

By 2013, with the plant at full production, revenue looks to top $50 million.

“The contribution EFACEC is making to Georgia’s economy is a great example of the way international investment directly benefits the state,” said Ken Stewart, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, which assisted EFACEC with its location. “We’re proud that assets like our strong workforce, tremendous partnerships and easy access to global markets will provide value not only to the company and its customers, but to the economies of the region and the state.”

“When the transformers ship to customers, the economic impact will expand beyond Georgia,” noted Jorge Guerra, executive director of U.S. Business and Operations for the EFACEC Group. “As utilities across North America take advantage of the shipping and import expense savings available to them through this plant, the first new manufacturing plant of its type and scope in the United States.”