Improving Business in the Wilmington Region
GE Aviation, a division of General Electric Company, is the world’s leading manufacturer of commercial and military jet engines and components as well as integrated digital, electric power and mechanical systems for aircraft. GE Aviation also manufactures gas turbines, derived from its highly successful jet engine programs, for marine and industrial applications. In addition, GE Aviation provides comprehensive maintenance support for jet engines in service throughout the world. GE Aviation originally located to the Castle Hayne community of New Hanover County in the mid-1960s. Since then, they have continuously grown their operations which now include 600 employees and a planned additional 540,000 square foot manufacturing facility.
GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) develops advanced light water reactors (LWR) and offers products/services used by operators of boiling water reactor (BWR) and pressurized water reactor (PWR) nuclear power plants to improve efficiency and boost output. Products and services include steam turbines designed for nuclear applications, new and refurbished parts, nuclear fuel, inspection and reactor modifications and modernization, plant performance software, and instrumentation such as in-core/ex-core sensors, gamma thermometers, probes, and radiation monitors. In 2011 GEH provided support and assistance to the Fukushima Nuclear Power Stations in the aftermath of the earthquake/tsunami that damaged the structure.
GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy is part of the General Electric Complex located in Wilmington. It currently employs 2,000 people. A uranium enrichment plant is proposed to be built in the complex which will use new technology – laser isotope separation – to produce fuel for nuclear power plants. Global Laser Enrichment, a venture owned by GE, Hitachi and Cameco Corp., has exclusive rights to develop the laser technology worldwide. The project is estimated to cost $1 billion and create 900 additional jobs.
Corning invented the world’s first low-loss optical fiber in 1970 and is the only remaining U.S.-owned fiber manufacturer. Corning’s Wilmington, North Carolina, fiber facility was the world’s first fiber manufacturing plant and today has the largest capacity in the industry. Wilmington employs several hundred employees and manufactures a full portfolio of fiber products to meet the demands of different network applications from the desktop to the ocean. Continued excellence in manufacturing process control, automation and productivity in Wilmington allows Corning to remain the highest-quality and lowest-cost producer of optical fiber in the world. For more information on Corning optical fiber, please visit www.corning.com/opticalfiber.
About Corning Incorporated
Corning Incorporated (www.corning.com) is a diversified technology company that concentrates its efforts on high-impact growth opportunities. Corning combines its expertise in specialty glass, ceramic materials, polymers and the manipulation of the properties of light, with strong process and manufacturing capabilities to develop, engineer and commercialize significant innovative products for the telecommunications, flat panel display, environmental, semiconductor, and life sciences industries.
Verizon Wireless located their Customer Contact Center to Wilmington in the summer of 2004. Since that time, VW has expanded their workforce to over 1200 employees making it one of the largest employers in the region. The Center operates as an inbound call center accepting customers billing and service questions. Located in the midtown section of Wilmington, the 60,000 sf facility is considered state of the art for the industry. During VW’s time in Wilmington, they have taken on many community causes such as supporting the domestic violence shelter as well as contributions to non-profit organizations and educational institutions such as Cape Fear Community College.
PPD is a leading global contract research organization providing drug discovery, development, lifecycle management and laboratory services. Headquartered in Wilmington, PPD has offices in 46 countries with more than 12,500 employees. Their clients and partners include pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, academic and government organizations. PPD applies innovative technologies, therapeutic expertise and a commitment to quality to help clients and partners accelerate the delivery of safe and effective therapeutics and maximize the returns on their R&D investments.
Castle Branch Corporation is one of the nation’s largest background screening and compliance management firms. Founded in 1997, the company arrived in Wilmington in 2002 with 32 employees. Today, with the Port City as its global headquarters, Castle Branch is one of the city’s most dynamic and fast-growing employers. It routinely exceeds industry growth rates and gathers accolades. In 2014, for example, the North Carolina Technology Association named Castle Branch CEO Brett Martin its “Technology Executive of the Year.”
CastleBranch works with some 25,000 companies, organizations and educational institutions around the world, providing information to support critical business decisions, reduce risks and maintain safe, productive workplaces. These services include drug testing, employment verification, immunization tracking, certified records review, document management and more. Its brands include CertifiedBackground, CertifiedProfile, CertifiedHealthcare, CourtSearch and CourtMail. The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), a global trade organization that sets standards and identifies best practices, has accredited CastleBranch and each its brands, a distinction held by just five percent of the company’s competitors. Castle Branch also operates an on-site technology incubator known as tekMountain.
Live Oak / nCino
Live Oak Bank serves businesses around the nation with loans backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The community bank, headquartered in Wilmington, has no branches, tellers or customer service reps. Its borrowers include dental and medical practices, veterinarians, independent pharmacies, funeral home operators, independent investment advisers and other entrepreneurs. Its loans help finance acquisitions, refurbishment and remodeling of buildings, and construction of new and expanded facilities. Founded in 2008, Live Oak Bank is the third largest originator of SBA 7a loans in the country.
Live Oak’s pioneering software for streamlining the often-cumbersome process of loan processing led the bank to spin off its own tech start-up in 2010. nCino, which along with Live Oak is held by Live Oak Bancshares, Inc., makes its cloud-based Bank Operating System available to community banks around the U.S. with assets between $300 million and $10 billion and credit unions with $200 million and higher. A strong partnership with Salesforce.com that has helped nCino achieve a rapid growth and a highly satisfied customer base.
Acme Smoked Fish
Acme Smoked Fish Corporation traces its roots to 1905 and a horse-drawn wagon in New York City that served as its only distribution system. Today, strong global demand for nutrient-rich smoked fish is driving Acme’s fast growth. The company is a leading U.S. name in consumer seafood, with its salmon lox, wild-caught herring, fish salads and specialty-smoked fish distributed under the Acme, Blue Hill Bay, Great American and Ruby Bay brand names. Harris Teeter, Whole Foods, Costco and other major retailers stock Acme products for sale to hungry consumers. Acme’s success stems from careful planning, dedication to quality, and a commitment to the communities in which it resides.
Along with its longtime home in Brooklyn, New York, Acme now boasts a major new 100,000-sq.-ft. seafood processing facility in Pender County. The state-of-the-art “dream plant” is facilitating the company’s expansion into international markets. All Acme production facilities are BRC certified, an important global designation that assures high standards of food safety, security and operational quality. The company also requires its suppliers to have Marine Stewardship Council or Best Aquaculture Practices certification, and Acme representatives regularly visit fisheries as part of its quality control. The family-owned company is now in its fourth generation of executive management.
Fortron Industries is a leading global maker of polythenelene sulphide (PPS), a highly heat-resistant substance found throughout the automotive and aerospace industries in pumps and transmission components. It has operated for the past 22 years at a site on U.S. Highway 421 in Wilmington that has expanded numerous times in order to keep up with steadily growing global demand for PPS. About half the company’s product ships to foreign buyers, primarily in Asia and Europe. Easy access to global markets, a productive technical workforce drawn a four-county region and livability assets that attract the nation’s best engineering talent account for Fortron’s success in Wilmington.
Fortron is a joint venture between Japan’s Kureha Corporation and Celanese [NYSE: CE], a global technology and specialty materials company headquartered in Dallas, Texas. Celanese employs approximately 7,400 employees worldwide and had net sales of $6.5 billion in 2013. Kureha Group operates in eight countries, employing over 4,000 people worldwide across its core businesses of advanced products, pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals and packaging materials.