Leading Supplier of Mission-Critical U.S. Navy Pumps Makes Lehigh Valley its Home
By Colin McEvoy on April 8, 2015
The nation’s leading supplier of mission-critical pumps for the U.S. Navy’s aircraft carriers and submarines are now making those products in the Lehigh Valley.
The Curtiss-Wright Corporation, a global innovative company that delivers highly-engineered, critical function products and services to the commercial, industrial, defense and energy markets, held a grand opening for its new Bethlehem facility on April 8.
The 180,000 square-foot research, development and heavy manufacturing facility in the Lehigh Valley Industrial Park (LVIP) VII marks a $25 million investment in the region by Curtiss-Wright, which was previously located in New Jersey.
“The choice of this specific site in Bethlehem has provided the perfect location or our technical requirements, but also allows us to be located centrally here in the Lehigh Valley to track and retain the kind of skills and talents that our business and customers demand,” said Todd Schurra, general manager of Curtiss-Wright’s engineered pump division.
“Curtiss-Wright is thrilled to be here today with all the people who helped make this a reality here in Bethlehem,” Schurra told a crowd of more than 200 people. “We hope that this first step will transition into years of business success, professional growth for our employees, a continued strong relationship with the U.S. Navy, and a close link to the Bethlehem community.”
A total of 95 new full-time jobs will be created over three years as a result of the Bethlehem facility, the state previously announced. It will house Curtiss-Wright’s engineered pump division, with 145,000 square-feet dedicated to manufacturing, testing and warehouse space, as well as more than 30,000 square-feet of office space.
Matthew Tuerk, vice president of administration and investor relations with the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC), said Curtiss-Wright’s presence in the region underscores the important role manufacturing plays for the Lehigh Valley.
Manufacturing accounts for about $5 billion of output in the regional economy, Tuerk said, making it the Lehigh Valley’s second-largest sector in terms of GDP. Advanced manufacturing has also been a regional leader in job creation, he said, making up nearly 11 percent of the region’s workforce.
“When they made the decision to move their engineered pump division to this new facility, leadership at Curtiss-Wright chose to take advantage of (the Lehigh Valley’s) superior geography, excellent transportation infrastructure and a rich history of manufacturing know-how,” Tuerk said. “They are bringing exactly the type of world-class manufacturing that will help us continue recruiting the next generation of Lehigh Valley manufacturers.”
Construction began in 2013, and Curtiss-Wright moved into the facility in December. The company manufactures about 160 pumps each year, which range in size from a few hundred pounds to as heavy as 25,000 pounds, or 12.5 tons.
Curtiss-Wright chose Bethlehem from a number of competing locations in various states. Tuerk said strong regional collaboration helped bring them to the Lehigh Valley, which such partners as LVEDC, LVIP, the Pennsylvania Governor’s Action Team, the Northampton County Industrial Development Authority, J.G. Petrucci Co. and the city of Bethlehem.
“The transformation that has taken place at this site is remarkable,” Bethlehem Mayor Robert Donchez said. “It truly is a national model for the reusing of brownfield sites. Furthermore, attracting companies like Curtiss-Wright to this site is key to the future of Bethlehem and the Lehigh Valley, and I look forward to having a long-term relationship with Curtiss-Wright for many years to come.”
LVIP President Kerry Wrobel said Curtiss-Wright was coming to the LVIP VII at a perfect time. New manufacturing neighbors are expected to move into adjacent properties, and new restaurants will open along Route 412, where road work will be completed within the next year, he said.
“We’re going to see another $500 million to $750 million invested in south Bethlehem, not only on our site but on the Sands site and Majestic,” he said. “These are exciting times for LVIP. “We’re really pleased that Curtiss-Wright has selected us, and your employees will get to share in the success of what’s coming.”
Curtiss-Wright has 13 divisions and 6,000 employees nationwide. In addition to the U.S. Navy, they deliver technologically-advanced, highly-engineered pumping solutions to the U.S. Coast Guard, Military Sealift Command, commercial marine, and foreign military programs.
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