Local News

Siemens Medical Solutions USA Expands Support Center In Cary

Posted October 3, 2006 6:57 a.m. EDT

— In these days of increasing outsourcing by U.S. companies and declining numbers of U.S. workers being employed by foreign-owned firms,

Siemens Medical Solutions USA

is bucking the trend.

Its support center in Cary is the beneficiary.

Siemens Medical Solutions, a subsidiary of Germany-based Siemens, formally launched its regional support operation at McGregor Park on Tuesday. The center is now responsible for supporting Siemens technicians and customers - primarily hospitals - in the United States as well as Latin America and Canada.

"Siemens Medical Solutions' philosophy is to invest in infrastructure in the countries where we do business," said Carl Westerhold, vice president of operations.

In a town that's home to such high-profile technology companies as SAS, not many people realize just how big a presence Siemens Medical has built.

"Over the past five years, we've had fairly explosive growth," Westerhold said. "While our competitors are off-shoring, we made the strategic play to on-shore' in North Carolina, and we've doubled the number of jobs.

"Now with our international alliance, I see no reason that won't continue."

The Cary operation employs 680 people, most of whom work at the support center. The headcount is expected to increase, Westerhold said.

"I'm sure we will over time," he said when asked if jobs would be added because the center is expanding its areas of responsibility. He said additions would not be "immediate," however.

Globally, the number of so-called "insourced" jobs shrank 2.4 percent in 2005 from 2004 to 5.12 million, according to the Organization for International Investment. The group did acknowledge, however, that foreign-owned firms were increasing their investments in U.S. operations.

A Web site maintained by a technology workers group, TechsUnite.org, says that nearly 470,000 tech jobs have been outsourced since 2000. Siemens AG is among the firms cited for moving U.S. jobs, including Siemens Power Transmission & Distribution. That group recently disclosed plans to move 180 jobs to Mexico from Wendell.

Siemens Medical, however, is a different story.

To accommodate growth, Siemens Medical Solutions recently increased its space, adding capacity at Regency Park.

The Cary center now supports more than 70,000 individual pieces of equipment, Westerhold said. The prices for that equipment ranges from $30,000 to as much as $3 million, including CT scanners and magnetic resonance imagers.

The center is satffed seven days a week, 24 hours a day, with personnel trained and ready to work with clients or Siemens field engineers.

To enable the center to replicate problems that occur in the field, Siemens Medical maintains what it calls a "virtual hospital" as part of the Cary complex. The hospital includes operational models of equipment in use by clients.

The campus also has a training and development center.

Siemens Medical Solutions employs more than 33,000 people worldwide.