Evonik Corporation Expanding in Lehigh Valley, Creating New Jobs
By Colin McEvoy on November 27, 2018
The Evonik Corporation will expand its technology and business capacities in the Lehigh Valley, a project that is expected to create 50 new high-paying jobs and retain the company’s existing 277 jobs in the region and across Pennsylvania.
The German specialty chemicals company had considered potential locations in other states, but ultimately decided to the Lehigh Valley was the best place for its operations and will instead expand its current location in Upper Macungie Township.
“Evonik is a high-quality company, and we’re extremely grateful that they’ve chosen to stay and grow in the Lehigh Valley,” said Don Cunningham, President & CEO of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC).
“Retaining great employers is as important as recruiting new ones,” Cunningham said. “This decision is a vote of confidence in the Lehigh Valley and in the region’s ability to attract the top-tier talent employed at Evonik.”
LVEDC has been in direct conversations with Evonik since they first moved to the Lehigh Valley in January 2017 after completing a $3.8 billion acquisition of Air Products’ performance materials business.
Evonik had been considering sites in other states that have historically competed with the Lehigh Valley for economic development, including New Jersey and Alabama.
To keep the company in in the Lehigh Valley, LVEDC provided Evonik information about the regional business climate and hosted multiple meetings with representatives from both the company and the state of Pennsylvania.
“LVEDC’s role was to show that the Lehigh Valley was the right location,” Cunningham said. “In the end, as with so many companies, it was a decision about attracting and retaining workforce talent.”
Evonik will purchase its leased manufacturing facility and construct a new business and technology center. The company plans to invest at least $50 million into the project, which will include more than 50 specialized laboratories for new product development and testing
“Purchasing the existing facilities in the Lehigh Valley will allow us to retain the R&D capabilities, avoid business disruption, and enable investments to the site to modernize and sustain the growth of our businesses here,” said John Rolando, North America region president for Evonik.
Matthew Tuerk, LVEDC Vice President of Economic Development and Marketing, said the Lehigh Valley is attractive to companies like Evonik because they can access existing talent for today’s needs, and utilize the region’s higher education institutions and technical schools to recruit talent for the future.
“The Lehigh Valley is a place where the type of talent important to these companies wants to be,” Tuerk said. “International material sciences companies are confident about the future of the new Lehigh Valley and are increasing their investments here as a result.”
The expansion was first announced on Nov. 27 by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf. Evonik received a funding proposal from the Department of Community and Economic Development for a $2.5 million grant from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program and $150,000 in Job Creation Tax Credits.
“Evonik’s expansion shows that the commonwealth is well-equipped for companies looking to grow their R&D capabilities,” Wolf said. “Additionally, the 50 new family-sustaining jobs will boost the local economy. I applaud Evonik for committing to grow right here in Pennsylvania.”
Evonik Corporation is the North American arm of Evonik Industries, a German specialty chemicals company which operates through three segments: nutrition and care, resource efficiency, and performance materials.
Its products range from amino acids and building protection coatings to another of its specialties, specialty acrylic products In addition to the automotive industry, Evonik Industries serves makers of coatings, pharmaceuticals, and plastics.
Evonik is active in over 100 countries around the world with more than 36,000 employees, according to the company.
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