GE Lighting executives, employees and union leaders joined government officials and community leaders at the company's manufacturing plant in Bucyrus, Ohio this morning to celebrate GE's more than $60 million investment in the facility and the job creation that comes with it.
GE Lighting, headquartered in Cleveland, is a unit of Louisville, Kentucky-based GE — Appliances & Lighting. The production plant in Bucyrus is GE Lighting's global center of excellence for the manufacture of energy-efficient linear fluorescent light bulbs. Bulbs made in Bucyrus are sold to customers across the U.S. and in cities around the world like Singapore, Riyadh, Jeddah, and Santiago. Employment is expected to nearly double with more than 130 jobs added over the next few years as the Bucyrus plant ramps up production to sell these made-in-Ohio fluorescent products in global markets.
“GE Lighting's vision is to lead a global lighting revolution by delivering innovative solutions that change the way people light and think about their world,” said GE Lighting President & CEO Michael B. Petras, Jr. “We'll achieve that vision by investing in energy-efficient products like those made right here in Bucyrus. This investment we're making, along with support from local, state and federal governments, allows us to expand manufacturing in Bucyrus to offer customers some of the best energy-efficient solutions in the world, while also creating new manufacturing jobs.”
The October 1 celebration at the plant marked a milestone in the expansion as new production equipment was installed in the factory. The first fluorescent light bulbs made from the newly installed equipment will begin to roll off production lines in December.
The Bucyrus expansion is another example of GE's commitment to supporting job creation within the U.S. where it can be competitive. In support of GE's investment in Bucyrus, the State of Ohio is providing $1.2 million to help train new employees, and the federal government has awarded nearly $20 million in income tax credits related to this project.
“In Ohio, we know how to make things. Our rich manufacturing history is exactly why companies like GE Lighting choose to locate their plants in our state,” Senator Sherrod Brown said. “This $60 million investment will put more than 100 Ohioans to work in stable, good-paying jobs—making energy-efficient products that consumers want to buy. GE Lighting is making a smart investment in Ohio that will pay dividends for years to come.”
In a written statement, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland said, “We are committed to supporting Ohio businesses like GE Lighting that invest in their communities and create good Ohio jobs. Ohio has a proud history of innovation and manufacturing, and GE Lighting is a great example of an Ohio company that is making the things that the world demands. Their dedication to finding energy-efficient solutions is creating good jobs for Ohioans and helping to build our economy from the ground up.”
As an example of the energy savings that can be realized by the type of product made at the Bucyrus plant, consider a large high-rise office building that switches out 1,500, 3-lamp fixtures from standard fluorescent light bulbs to Bucyrus-made Watt-Miser® fluorescent light bulbs, used with an UltraMax® ballast. It could avoid 24 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually. This is equivalent to the CO2 absorbed annually by more than six acres of Southeastern U.S. forest.
Petras said, “Whether it is retail stores, office buildings, schools, hotels, new construction or government buildings, GE's linear fluorescent light bulbs that help conserve energy and reduce energy costs will be manufactured in and shipped from Bucyrus for export to countries throughout the world. Our Bucyrus employees have earned this opportunity by proving they have the ability to run one of the highest-speed linear fluorescent lines in the world and are the best in providing quality, service and good value to customers.”
Ron Wilson, general manager for GE Lighting's global supply chain, said, “The global lighting business is undergoing tremendous transformation from older technologies, like incandescent, to energy-efficient technologies and products, such as those made at the Bucyrus plant. Employees, the plant leadership team and union leaders of IUE-CWA Local 704 at this plant believe in teamwork. This is a great opportunity for this plant to be a major factor and long-term force in the future of GE Lighting and the execution of our strategy.”
Commenting on the expansion, Gregg Adams, president of IUE-CWA Local 704, said, “Everyone here has the desire to work together to create opportunities for the Bucyrus plant to grow and make great products for customers. We are ecstatic that GE Lighting made the decision to expand the Bucyrus plant. Our intent is to work cooperatively to do everything we can to make Bucyrus Lamp Plant as successful as we can be.”
Due to the changing preferences of consumers, commercial customers and lighting legislation that takes effect nationally in 2012—in California a year earlier in 2011—the Bucyrus center of excellence announcement comes at a time when the lighting industry is undergoing a transition of a magnitude not unlike that of Thomas Edison's era of gas lamps to electric light bulbs. Today GE is investing in and developing new lighting technologies that will not only lead the transition but also provide just the innovative solutions consumers and commercial customers would expect from GE. To learn more about the lighting industry transformation, download GE Lighting's Point of View paper, “A Transforming Global Lighting Industry,” available at GELighting.com/2012.
In addition to job retention and creation at the Bucyrus plant, GE Lighting's sister business, GE Appliances, is making a significant investment in U.S. innovation and manufacturing with a multi-year (2010-2014), $600 million investment in its manufacturing and other facilities at Appliance Park in Louisville, Kentucky. About 830 new jobs will be added due to this investment, and the business is also looking at other potential investments in its U.S. manufacturing facilities.
As for GE overall, at a time when 10 percent unemployment and continued fears of a protracted economic recovery has led many U.S. manufacturing companies to suspend hiring or postpone capital investment in new facilities, GE has continued investing for the future of American manufacturing. Since the beginning of 2009, GE has created more than 10,000 new U.S. manufacturing and related-engineering jobs. Many of these are in regions hardest hit by the recession. Additionally, GE has retained over 5,000 American manufacturing jobs through new product introduction, investment in growth sectors and productivity improvement that kept facilities cost competitive globally. Today, 50,000 GE employees work in manufacturing, building for America's future.