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Sharp Continues to Rapidly Expand Its Presence in the Lehigh Valley

By Colin McEvoy on April 19, 2021

A 2016 photo of Sharp Packaging Solutions' building on Penn Am Drive in Upper Macungie Township.

A 2016 photo of Sharp Packaging Solutions’ building on Penn Am Drive in Upper Macungie Township.

Sharp, which has been rapidly expanding its presence in the Lehigh Valley in recent years, is growing here once again, expanding its operations and creating or retaining more than 1,400 jobs in the region and neighboring areas.

A global leader in advanced clinical supply chain services and contract pharmaceutical packaging, Sharp is expanding its existing Upper Macungie Township facility and upgrading its newly-acquired facility in Lower Macungie Township.

“Sharp has a long history and a proven commitment to the Lehigh Valley area and to our site in Conshohocken and as this investment demonstrates, we will continue to offer career opportunities and skills training within our local communities, as our employees deliver vital packaging services for our pharmaceutical clients,” said Kevin Orfan, President of Sharp Packaging U.S.

Sharp will increase its manufacturing capacity by upgrading and partially re-purposing some of its four-facility campus in Upper Macungie, according to an April 14 announcement from Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf.

Additionally, the company will be carrying out building improvements and obtaining new machinery and equipment for its recently-acquired 170,000 square-foot pharmaceutical packaging facility in Lower Macungie Township.

In addition to the growth of its Lehigh Valley facilities, Sharp is expanding operations at an existing facility in Conshohocken. Between each of these locations, the company expects to retain 1,092 current positions and create 335 new full-time jobs over the next three years.

The company has committed to investing $42.9 million into the project, Orfan said. Sharp has three main facilities in Lehigh Valley, with a location in Bethlehem Township as well as its facilities in Lower Macungie and Upper Macungie.

Sharp has invested more than $100 million on its Lehigh Valley facilities in recent years. This includes a $21 million expansion of packaging capabilities at its Upper Macungie campus in 2019, and a $23 million renovation of its storage and distribution services at its Bethlehem Township facility in 2018.

Orfan was one of the Lehigh Valley business leaders interviewed as part of a weekly series the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) conducted with new corporate leaders with some of the region’s leading companies and largest employers.

In the video, Orfan praised the Lehigh Valley’s central location, close proximity to the “pharma belt” companies in suburban Philadelphia and Northern New Jersey, and the superior regional workforce. Sharp has about 1,200 full-time employees in Lehigh Valley, as well as between 400 and 450 temporary workers at any given time.

“Fortunately, we’ve been pretty lucky at being able to find the talent we need here, both skilled workers and people who do critical work for us everyday in our operations areas as well,” Orfan said in the interview.

The full video interview and viewed below, and additional videos from the series can be found on LVEDC’s website and YouTube channel. Other interviews feature executives from such companies as B. Braun, Capital BlueCross, Crayola, Follett, and PPL Corporation, among others.

Sharp has two primary businesses in the pharmaceutical and biotech field. It provides pharmaceutical packaging for commercial supply, such as tablets and capsules, and also provides innovative clinical supply chain services to pharmaceutical companies.

“My administration is thrilled to support Sharp – whose history in the Lehigh Valley is established and dates back decades – as it continues to expand and grow its teams and capabilities in the commonwealth,” Wolf said. “This expansion is a testament to the strength of Pennsylvania’s manufacturing sector and will bring new jobs and opportunities, at a critical time in pandemic recovery, to all three facilities and their communities.”

Sharp received a funding proposal from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) for a $140,400 workforce development grant through the WEDnet program to help the company train workers.

The company also received a $1.25 million Pennsylvania First grant, and $670,000 in Job Creation Tax Credits to be distributed upon the creation of new jobs, according to the DCED.

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