In with the new: Several companies are relocating to and expanding in Fort Worth.
In-N-Out Burger has brought its fast food franchise to the Fort Worth community with a restaurant on West Seventh Street. Ferris Manufacturing moved to the city and hired 60 employees to produce wound-care dressings and diaper rash products at its Northeast Parkway location.
FTS International established an oil and gas hydraulic fracturing operation, and General Electric Transportation chose Fort Worth for expanding its U.S. manufacturing footprint beyond its existing operation in Erie, Penn. GE invested $96 million to build a new Fort Worth GE Manufacturing Solutions site for a locomotive railroad assembly facility that opened in the first quarter of 2013.
“We chose Fort Worth principally because of its location, its skilled workforce and its rail-line access,” says Walter Amaya, plant manager at GE Manufacturing Solutions.
The company builds GE’s Evolution Series Class 1 diesel-electric locomotives, which reduce fuel use by five percent or 640,000 gallons over the lifetime of the locomotive. They also reduce emissions by 40 percent, and there are currently 17,000 GE locomotives in use in more than 50 countries around the world.
GE has also constructed another $95 million manufacturing facility in Fort Worth to produce electric motorized wheel assemblies for off-highway vehicles used primarily in the mining industry. Several U.S. states have a rising demand for mining equipment with motorized wheels and drill motors being key pieces of equipment for off-highway vehicles.
“Fort Worth and the State of Texas made us so comfortable that we later decided to increase our initial locomotive manufacturing investment by establishing a second manufacturing plant,” Amaya says. “In addition to the facilities themselves, the Fort Worth operations represent a significant investment in recruiting, hiring and training. Approximately 170 highly skilled employees have been hired to date at the Fort Worth facilities in areas such as machining, fabricating, welding and assembly, and that number will grow as our manufacturing process matures.”
Alcon and ATC
Another economic headline-maker, Alcon Lab Holdings Inc., recently added to its existing Fort Worth campus. Alcon develops, manufacturers and markets surgical equipment, as well as pharmaceuticals and vision care products. Their expansion project includes the creation of a Finance Service Center for North America, thereby adding 800 jobs to its 3,250-employee staff in Fort Worth. The median wage for the new jobs at Alcon is expected to be $90,000.
Also looking to expand in Fort Worth is ATC Logistics & Electronics Inc., which already has three facilities in the city and 1,700 employees. Tentative plans for the nation’s second-largest third-party logistics provider are to expand its building presence in Fort Worth in two phases – by December 2013 and by December 2016, with the addition of more than 350 employees.
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