Hockmeyer to expand, create 90 jobs
By Julian Eure
Wednesday, August 21, 2019
Hockmeyer Equipment Corp., a longtime manufacturer of state-of-the-art process equipment, will create 90 new jobs as part of a $6 million expansion at its current site in Elizabeth City, state and local officials announced Wednesday.
The jobs announcement was the second in Pasquotank County in recent weeks. Telephonics, maker of sophisticated surveillance and communications systems, announced Aug. 6 that it plans to create 75 high-paying jobs at a second site it’s purchased in the county’s Commerce Park.
Gov. Roy Cooper was on hand for that announcement. On Wednesday, it was N.C. Secretary of Commerce Anthony Copeland’s turn to do the honors.
Joining local leaders outside the company’s plant for the announcement, Copeland — who grew up in nearby Hertford — thanked Hockmeyer CEO/President Herman Hockmeyer for bringing his company to North Carolina from New Jersey 35 years ago and for agreeing to build a 35,000-square-foot addition to Hockmeyer’s current facility in the city-county industrial park off Weeksville Road.
“We want to thank you for what you’ve done and what you continue to do as you invest in North Carolina,” Copeland said.
Copeland said when Cooper tapped him to be Commerce secretary two years ago, the governor told him he wanted the state’s goal to be creation of “an authorizing environment in North Carolina where people are better educated, healthier and have a lot more money in their pocket.”
“You’re creating an authorizing environment that helps us accomplish that,” Copeland told Hockmeyer.
According to officials, salaries for the new Hockmeyer jobs will vary by position but the average wage will be $37,416, which is above the county’s average wage of $34,929. The jobs will run the gamut from information technology and human resource positions to more skilled positions like water jet operators, electrical assemblers, welders and machinists.
According to a press release, Hockmeyer manufactures state-of-the-art mills for particle size reduction for inks and coatings. It also provides custom processing technology for the wet grinding, blending and dispersion industry.
To assist with the company’s expansion project, Copeland noted the state will provide Hockmeyer a $300,000 grant from the One North Carolina Fund. Monies from the fund help local governments attract economic investment and create jobs, according to a press release from the governor’s office. The grant requires a local match of $100,000 from the city of Elizabeth City.
The Hockmeyer expansion project is also slated to benefit from a $500,000 state Building Reuse grant. That grant, which will also pass through the city, will require a $25,000 local match from the city. A positive decision on that grant was expected today, local officials said.
During his remarks at Wednesday’s event, Hockmeyer thanked Copeland and the local officials who were in attendance, saying it “sends a very positive message to the community and our company.”
“It tells us that the state, the county and the town all care, support and respect us,” he said.
Hockmeyer noted that his company has been a leader in its field for 80 years, “using some of the world’s most creative and productive process solutions” for a variety of industries, among them pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, paints and ceramics.
“Being leaders matters,” he said. “We are proud of who we are and what we can do for the world. Creating and producing solutions and improving lives of those involved in other businesses is who we are. Our advanced product solutions have enabled our customers to expand and grow ... to create jobs and a wealth of opportunity for many, many people.”
He said the company is expanding now because the new technologies it’s created have created more customers.
Hockmeyer said he’s also proud of his company’s deep roots in the community, noting that “as Hockmeyer grows, so does the city of Elizabeth City.” He said almost all of the $6 million his company plans to invest in the expansion will be spent hiring local contractors and businesses.
“This expansion renews and extends our commitment to Elizabeth City, Pasquotank County and state of North Carolina,” he said.
The most rewarding part of the expansion, however, is being able to create 90 new, full-time jobs, he said. Hockmeyer said the new employees will “come largely from right here in Elizabeth City and some of the surrounding areas.”
“Our company will hire the best and we will make them ever better,” Hockmeyer said. “At Hockmeyer we are proud of our commitment to our employees and their families. Salaries are very competitive. Our benefit packages are second to none. ... Today, we have an expanding business with more opportunities for ambitious people than ever before.”
Hockmeyer in fact has hired a number of graduates from local colleges and universities in recent years. In a followup interview, Hockmeyer said most of the company’s recent hires are graduates of College of The Albemarle’s technical programs.
On Wednesday, he praised both COA and Elizabeth City State University for helping provide what he described as “customized training solutions” for his company and others in the region, and for equipping their students with the “technical sophistication” in new technologies the firms need in today’s marketplace.
Hockmeyer also said it was important for officials to know that his company isn’t “complaining about being unable to find good, smart people” for its workforce.
“Hockmeyer has and continues to demonstrate that we have smart people all around us,” he said. “Today is another step forward in demonstrating that you don’t need to go prospecting elsewhere when you have diamonds in your own backyard.”
Mayor Bettie Parker also spoke at Wednesday’s jobs announcement at Hockmeyer, declaring herself “ecstatic about what I see here happening today.” She noted a constituent recently approached her and “pleaded that elected officials need to do something to bring more and better jobs to this town.”
“So today’s announcement (of 90 new jobs) does bring great excitement to our community,” she said.
Parker praised Hockmeyer, noting the company is committed to having a diversified workforce. It also “has been employing our residents and giving back to our community since 1984,” she said.
Noting that Hockmeyer officials like to say they sell solutions instead of machines, Parker said “Hockmeyer’s solution is Elizabeth City’s solution.”
“These 90 jobs will help provide further opportunity for our citizens to stay local, have a career, raise families and be part of our community,” she said.
Pasquotank Board of Commissioners Chairman Jeff Dixon also spoke at Wednesday’s event. He said Hockmeyer’s announcement “will create a lot of excitement and bring prosperity to our city, county and region.”
He noted that a number of agencies were involved in the Hockmeyer expansion project. Besides the city and county, he mentioned the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Economic Development Commission, COA, the Small Business and Technology Center at ECSU and ElectriCities.
Christian Lockamy, director of the EDC, also noted the excitement the Hockmeyer announcement is likely to generate during the EDC’s monthly meeting on Wednesday.
“This is exciting for us,” he said. “Let’s keep it going.”