Business

Caterpillar expands in Sanford, hopes to add 325 workers

Posted October 7, 2011 1:32 p.m. EDT
Updated October 7, 2011 5:53 p.m. EDT

— Caterpillar Inc. employees, along with Gov. Bev Perdue and other local officials, on Friday celebrated the opening of the company's expanded operations in Sanford, which is expected to add about 325 workers over the next five years.

About 100 of those positions have already been filled, company officials said, but anyone interested in applying for the remainder of the jobs – including logistic professionals, design engineers and welding technicians – can visit the company's website.

About 900 employees currently work at the Sanford location, which has seen several rounds of layoffs since 2008. The company's Clayton location has also seen layoffs since 2008. Managers did not disclose the total number.

The addition of the 270,000-square-foot building at 5000 Womack Road in Sanford allows for increased logistics and fabrications capacity required to meet growing demand for the skid steer, compact track and multi-terrain loaders currently produced in Sanford.

The building is about three football fields long and one football field wide.

"A lot of people want our jobs. There are Chinese competitors now trying to make a machine like this. For us to be competitive, this investment behind us improves our competitiveness. It’s essential to grow the business," said Reed Waitt, general manager of Caterpillar.

The company announced in August 2010 its plans to expand the facility, which is part of Caterpillar’s Building Construction Products Division.

"This is a company that makes things, and that’s what we want to do in this state, in this country," Perdue said. "So, today’s a good day for us. We’re real proud that Caterpillar chose to expand in Sanford."

Caterpillar spokeswoman Bridget Young said the company is not disclosing the financial amount of its investment in the expansion. She would only say this is "long-term investment" in the future.

In addition to the Sanford expansion, the company previously announced construction of a lower powertrain components facility in Winston-Salem that is expected to employ about 400 workers once fully operational and at full capacity.