Press release from Economic Development Coalition for Asheville – Buncombe County:
Asheville, NC (March 1, 2018) – In conjunction the Buncombe County Commission, City Council of Asheville and the Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County (EDC), GE Aviation announced plans to invest $105 million in its Asheville operations. The investments in new technology, machinery, and equipment will require the addition of 131 new positions to its current workforce of 425. The new positions will pay, on average, nearly 30% above the Buncombe County average wage.
In 2013, the company announced a statewide expansion that invested $126 million in new, state-of-the-art, production facilities in Sweeten Creek Industrial Park. The Asheville plant became the company’s first site to mass produce Ceramic Matrix Composite (CMC) components for jet engines. The additional investment made this year will accommodate increased local production capacity for CMC, as well as legacy nickel alloy rotating parts.
“We are very pleased to continue expanding our GE Aviation business in Asheville, NC,” said Michael Meguiar, Asheville Plant Leader. “We continue to build on a great workforce, culture and community that supports advanced manufacturing jobs in Western North Carolina. This merging of technology and a strong, creative workforce is the foundation of our success.”
The intrinsic heat resistance and light weight properties of CMC components manufactured in Asheville have contributed to an estimated $150 billion industrial backlog for GE engines worldwide with demand anticipated to increase tenfold over the next decade. The materials can outperform advanced metallic alloys and make jet engines lighter, more fuel efficient, and cut emissions dramatically. Research demonstrates a jet engine constructed using CMC materials can reduce fuel consumption by 15%, resulting in annual fuel savings of over $1 million per plane.
The expanded production capacity will sustain $12.8M in annual labor income from new direct, indirect and induced jobs, and will support another $7.5 million in new annual federal, state and local taxes essential to the fiscal health of our region.
“GE Aviation has a 75-year legacy as a leading employer in Buncombe County and we applaud their continued investment in technology, innovation and people,” said Brownie Newman, Chairman of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners. “The expansion will not only mean hundreds of jobs for our citizens, but also positions our state and community as a leader in the aerospace industry.”
Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer noted, “GE Aviation has proven to be a leader in North Carolina economic development; investing in sustainable technologies, creating lasting economic opportunity for our residents, and investing in the education of our next generation. We wish the entire team at GE Aviation much continued success.”
“Investment in high-growth technology companies, like GE Aviation, is key to the sustained economic growth of Western North Carolina,” stated EDC Board Chairman Janice Brumit. “Our ability to support these industries will build a strong foundation for our future.”
The Composites Training Center of Excellence at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College (ABTECH) has been a strategic training partner for GE Aviation for the past 4 years and continues to expand and prepare the next generation of advanced manufacturing technicians in the field. In addition, GE Aviation partners with local high school, machining apprenticeship programs that provide students the opportunity to develop a skilled trade and career in the high-growth aviation industry. For more information on GE Aviation and employment opportunities, please visit www.geaviation.com.
The EDC for Asheville-Buncombe County is a public-private partnership committed to creating and retaining high quality jobs, community leadership, and being a resource for better business decisions. The EDC accomplishes this mission through its four core services: business retention and expansion, small business and entrepreneurship, research, and marketing and recruitment. The EDC is funded by Buncombe County, the City of Asheville, the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce and the AVL 5×5 Campaign.
The Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce is a member organization with over 1,800 member businesses and organizations. Chamber members collaborate with community organizations and coalitions to support the community and each other with the mission of building community through business. The Chamber is home to a 4,000 square foot Visitor Center which welcomes over 240,000 visitors per year.