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Diversity Strengthens Maury County Economy

R&D companies are finding success in Maury County, where they are investing in new facilities, creating jobs and contributing to a local economy that is increasingly strong and diverse.

By Stephanie Vozza on June 4, 2015

Columbia, TN
Columbia / Jeff Adkins

They are in completely different industries, but companies conducting research on the next generation of jet engines, developing advanced industrial filtration systems, manufacturing nutritional supplements and providing call center support for major corporations have one thing in common. They are all finding success in Maury County, where they are investing in new facilities, creating jobs and contributing to a local economy that is increasingly strong and diverse.

CLARCOR, an international manufacturer of filtration products, systems and services, is investing $10 million to establish an Innovation Center in Columbia for global research and product development. The company is creating 25 jobs for area scientists, engineers, technicians, business development personnel and marketing managers. CLARCOR wanted a location close to its headquarters in Franklin. It also needed a multi-use building that could house advanced technical equipment and serve as a customer experience and corporate training center. The Columbia location perfectly suited its needs, says Ryan Pastrana, the company’s vice president for innovation.

“We found a great fit in the facility that we now have,” Pastrana says. “The State of Tennessee, Maury County and the City of Columbia were great to work with during the search process and made the decision an easy one.”

Improving Performance

In Spring Hill, EDAS (Experimental Design & Analysis Solutions Inc.) created Ripxx, a handheld GPS device that the U.S. bobsled team used to train for the Olympics. Ripxx enables athletes to track their sports performance. EDAS also helps improve another kind of performance. The U.S. Air Force hired the company to enhance performance and functionality of equipment used to test the next generation of jet engines. The company’s customers include Pratt & Whitney, Honeywell, the Japanese Ministry of Defense, NASA, Rolls Royce and others. EDAS moved to Maury County in 2008. It previously was located in Williamson County, says CEO Kurt Nichol.

“We are proud to serve our military by providing the most advanced technology available for testing next-generation propulsion technology,” he says.

Healthy Growth

Another innovative company thriving in Spring Hill, Capstone Nutrition, announced the launch of a $14 million expansion that will create numerous new jobs. The company leased the 328,000-square-foot former Penske Logistics building to consolidate its headquarters, manufacturing and distribution operations. The company is a raw material supplier of bulk nutraceuticals, generally importing the materials from China and India. It is part of the $32 billion nutritional supplement industry. Capstone provides turnkey product development and value-added manufacturing services to branded nutritional supplement companies. The company develops, produces, and packages a wide range of powder and capsule products for a number of industry leaders, with particular expertise in sports nutrition.

In addition to expanding into new space, Capstone Nutrition, a portfolio company of H.I.G. Growth Partners, merged with Utah-based Cornerstone Research and Development, a leading developer and manufacturer of nutritional supplements and over-the-counter products. The merger’s goal was to create new world-class formulation, product development and production capabilities that are unparalleled in the industry.

“Cornerstone’s impeccable reputation for pharmaceutical-grade quality, strong innovation and manufacturing expertise make it a perfect complement to our business,” says Peter Miller, CEO of the combined company. “Additionally, having access to their extensive production capabilities across a variety of product formats and being able to offer our customers a bi-coastal manufacturing and distribution footprint is a significant competitive advantage.”

IBEX Global, also in Spring Hill, has created hundreds of jobs since opening in 2011 at the Workforce Development & Conference Center at Northfield and continues to ramp up employment, recently hiring an additional 800 workers and bringing its total workforce to 1,500. When customers call DirecTV or AT&T for technical or billing support, the voice on the line is someone at IBEX. The company also provides support for a very large tech company it is not at liberty to name, but one that makes computers, smartphones and other electronic devices.

Learn more about Maury County’s business climate.

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