US Airways - November 2012 - (Page 56)
solaris vP sales, north america, bill haras checks out the steel tubing that ends up in products such as satellite dishes.
International companies find Charlotte USA a neighborly place to do business. by Gina carroll howard
As Denis Boulais searched for a U.S. manufacturing location, the president and CEO of Solaris Industries Inc. discovered not only a compatible culture, but also a new use for the Montreal-based company’s steel tubing: carports. The open-sided shelters are omnipresent in the South, but nonexistent in colder Canadian climates. In the Charlotte region, Boulais found not only a new market for Solaris’s products, but a vibrant region near existing customers, a pro-business climate, nonstop air service to Montreal, and a strong, cooperative work ethic — not to mention a gracious Southern lifestyle. “We were very impressed with the whole culture,” Boulais explains. “In Montreal, we’re used to doing business over dinner, developing personal relationships, and forming partnerships. That’s what we did during our search in the Charlotte region.” With more than 100 customers already, the Kings Mountain, N.C., site has proved to be an inspired choice for Solaris, which in just two years is already half the size of its Canadian parent company.
Providência’s nonwoven goods are transformed into personal-care products.
Home to more than 900 international firms, Charlotte USA has proven equally serendipitous for Providência USA. In January 2011, as Providência CEO Herminio Freitas cut the ribbon at its $80 million Statesville, N.C., plant, he announced a planned $60 million expansion at the facility. The Brazilian company sees the Statesville operation — its first in North America — as key to supplying its current customers in the North American Free Trade Agreement region. As the population ages, the disposable diaper and medical markets are expected to grow. Freitas believes those products manufactured with
the spunbond-fabric technology that Providência uses will grow even faster than other nonwovens. After a rigorous comparison of 12 Southeastern states, Providência selected Iredell County for its expert workforce; US Airways’ daily nonstop flights from Charlotte to Rio de Janeiro; a “first-class” rail/road/air infrastructure; community, regional, and state support; and competitive electricity costs — a critical operating component. Gene Konczal, director of operations in Statesville, says that accurately evaluating competing locations was challenging. Some initially attractive sites were not viable long-term. In the final cost-benefit analysis, the Charlotte region rose above the rest. “Our suggestion to other Brazilian companies looking to expand to North America would be to take a serious look at the Charlotte region,” Konczal insists. Boulais agrees. “It has major-league sports, culture, and great restaurants. We had no trouble attracting managers, and when we had a few start-up hiccups, everyone rolled up their sleeves and said, ‘Let’s get the job done.’ ”
photos courtesy of charlotte regional partnership
for more about charlotte, go to charlotteusa.com.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of US Airways - November 2012
US Airways - November 2012
Table of Contents
From the Editor
Did You Know?
Making It Happen
Hot Spots: Best Holiday Getaways
Hub Crawl: Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
Wine & Dine: Mendoza, Argentina Wines
Wine & Dine: Barbecoa Restaurant, London
Adventure: Thrifty in San Francisco
Adventure: Skiing Mt. Baker, Washington
Great Escapes: Red Horse Inn, South Carolina
Gear Up: Bar Ware
Making It Real: America's Historic Sites
Best of Education: Miller School of Albemarle
Silent Heroes: Honor Flight Network
Crossing Borders: Charlotte, North Carolina
Best of Health: Lankenau Medical Center
University Spotlight: University of Dayton
Celebrate Richmond, Virginia
Special Section: Chateau on Central
Must Read: Heisman — The Man Behind the Trophy
Readers Resource Index
Your US Airways Guide
U.S. and Caribbean Service Map
International Service Map
Airport Terminal Maps
US Airways Fleet/Customs & Immigration
Passenger Info/Contact US Airways
US Airways MarketPlace®
Giving: Miles for Good
Window or Aisle?
US Airways - November 2012