Local News

'Cheetah' Manufacturer to Bring 200+ Jobs to Roxboro

Posted September 26, 2007 6:55 p.m. EDT
Updated September 27, 2007 1:42 p.m. EDT

— A military defense company manufacturing an armored car designed to counteract roadside bombs and mines will bring hundreds of jobs to Roxboro when it opens next month, company executives said Wednesday.

South Carolina-based Force Protection will bring at least 270 jobs to the area, which, according to the North Carolina Employment Security Commission, has an unemployment rate of 6.9 percent.

County officials said the jobs are sorely needed.

"It's a real shot in the arm for our economy, as well as our county," said Person County Commissioner Larry Bowes.

The economy suffered about a year ago with manufacturer Collins and Aikman closed, leaving more than 800 people without a job, Bowes said.

Force Protection is refurbishing the plant, which will be the only facility in the United States to build the Cheetah armored car.

"It feels very good, not just to be able to deliver a product that keeps our troops safe, but at the same time, to bring an employment opportunity to a county like this," said Dan Busher, Force Protection executive vice president

Busher said he hopes the plant will be ready for limited production of the Cheetah by next month and that as many as 2,000 could be produced as early as next year.

Force has already hired 12 people to work at the Roxboro facility. Company officials said they had 20 job interviews lined up for Wednesday.