LINWOOD – Watching a board being processed in a laminating machine wasn’t something Misty Ebel expected her to be excited to see.
But when the first laminate board at EGGER Wood Products’ new plant in the Linwood area hit the press, Ebel couldn’t hide her excitement as she took photos to commemorate the moment.
âI was surprised how excited I was to watch it,â said Ebel, marketing and communications manager for the EGGER site. âIt’s nice to go from where we build and build to what we’re producing now. “
In July 2017, the Austrian wood products company announced that it would build its first production plant in North America near Lexington. Construction on the $ 700 million project began in 2018 on 200 acres of land that now houses the 4.5 million square foot building.
When production began at the factory in September, it was a moment that called for celebration.
âThis excitement of moving from construction to fully operational constructions grows every day, as you now have the opportunity to see the product as it is made,â said Michael Holmes, Head of Corporate Training at EGGER. “It’s pretty exciting for the people who have been here since when it was a construction site or before that when there was only dirt.”
The facility is currently still ramping up production and is only in the first of three phases of development, Ebel said. The first phase is expected to last six years and will include an investment of $ 500 million. The third phase is expected to be completed by 2035.
The EGGER plant located between Salisbury and Lexington produces particle board (sheets of compressed wood chips and resin) and thermofused laminates which are sold to furniture manufacturers, architects and designers in the United States and Canada . Although EGGER has 19 other production sites across Europe and South America, the new Davidson County site allows the company to gain a foothold in the North American market.
When the Linwood facility was announced, EGGER predicted it would create around 770 direct jobs. Currently, around 300 people work at the facility and Holmes said the company is still looking to hire for many positions. The facility is unlikely to reach 770 employees until full construction is completed.
âWe have positions in all areas including logistics, production, shipping, we have security positions,â Holmes said. âWe have positions in many different fields, so we are always actively recruiting. “
Although the site is located in Davidson County, it has provided a place to work for Rowan County residents like Ebel, who has lived in Salisbury for the past nine years. Having a major employer just minutes across the county border is a big plus for Rowan, said Rod Crider, chairman of the Rowan Economic Development Commission.
âWe are delighted with the start of production at EGGER and wish them many years of success at their new Davidson County site,â said Crider. âBeing located within five miles of the county line, we anticipate a significant economic impact for Rowan County that will benefit our residents and our businesses. “
To help meet its hiring goals, EGGER has partnered with Davidson Community College to form the Apprenticeship Consortium which allows new employees to the company to undergo several years of paid training while learning the trade. Holmes said program participants bring passion to the facility.
âWe’re giving them the opportunity here to get their education while learning and growing to become the foundation of our maintenance and engineering department,â said Holmes. âThey have breathed a lot of life and energy into the site.
The EGGER site will continue to grow in the coming years in terms of employment and production capacity. There are plans to add two more laminating presses to the line, Ebel said.
As the site grows, a reminder of the beginnings of the installation will always be present.
âThe entire production project team signed the first laminate and the first particle board (which were produced in the factory),â Ebel said. “These signs will be displayed in the factory for the sake of posterity.”
A list of vacancies available on the EGGER site is available at egger.bamboohr.com/jobs/.