By DAVID BORAKS
When MSC Industrial Supply Co. dedicates its new six-story “co-headquarters” off I-77 Exit 30 Tuesday afternoon, it will be a sort of housewarming for Davidson’s newest corporate citizen.
About 150 of the company’s 6,000 global employees are now working in the $31 million building, which MSC built over the past year on 14.7 acres along Harbor Place Drive. Many moved here in August from MSC’s original headquarters in Melville, NY, on Long Island, while about two dozen were hired locally.
So how does a giant new neighbor plug in to a new community like this? First, with lots of help. Think of it as the corporate equivalent of having lots of apple pies delivered to your front door on moving day.
“I’ve heard this from so many people (at MSC): Everybody in the community has given us such a warm welcome, from local businesses to Realtors to your mayor,” said Doug Jones, an executive vice president of Global Supply Chain Operations and one of the top executives at the new site. “It’s really helped to make the transition smooth.”
And second, by getting involved right away. A horde of MSC employees in blue shirts were out this weekend on local streets, joining in the Davidson Lands Conservancy’s annual Run for Green fundraiser. MSC was the lead sponsor for the day, which included a Green Day festival, and 5K, 10K and half-marathon races.
In a statement last week, conservancy Executive Director Roy Alexander praised the company. “MSC is also actively working with us to promote conservation in Davidson, as they have agreed to be our presenting sponsor for Run for Green and are also paying for dozens of their employees to participate in Run for Green.”
Said Jones: “Davidson’s commitment to protecting open space is evident, and was a key factor in our decision to locate in Davidson. Our associates have always been committed to contributing to our community and protecting our environment.
Meanwhile, MSC already is working on its next community project: an auto-themed fundraiser Nov. 30 called AmeriCarna Live at the campus of its longtime business partner and new neighbor, Ingersoll Rand.
That festival, organized by racing team owner Ray Evernham, will raise money for Ignite, a new community center in Davidson for young adults with autism or Asperger’s Syndrome.
RELOCATIONS AND LOCAL HIRES
Besides the 120 or so employees who moved from New York, MSC has hired about 25 locally. It plans to hire another 70 to 80 people here by year’s end, reaching its initial target of 200 employees, Jones said. The company pledged to hit employment targets in exchange for tax incentives that local officials promised as they recruited the business.
Altogether, MSC said it was offered $14 million in incentives over 12 years. When the project was announced, then-Gov. Beverly Perdue’s office said state incentives to MSC could total $12.75 million, including an $11.7 million Job Development Investment Grant and $1.05 million from the state’s One North Carolina Fund.
Davidson’s incentive was about $500,000, and the county offered a similar amount, recruiters said in June 2012.
MSC said it picked Davidson over sites in South Carolina, Kentucky and Charlotte. Its decision was influenced by a variety of factors, Jones said: cost of living and attractiveness, a good airport with plenty of direct flights to Europe, and the proximity to Charlotte, which offered the conveniences of a bigger city that the company’s New York-based employees wanted.
The Charlotte area also offered the talent MSC was looking for as it recruits to grow, Jones said.
“What really drove us to the area in particular was access to talent,” Jones said. “The job pool that we have already come to find here is just tremendous. It’s allowed us to fill a niche that we had difficulty filling up in Long Island.”
About 600 people remain at the Melville, NY, “co-headquarters,” Jones said.
The Davidson site, which is north of the Homewood Suites, eventually could employ 400 people in a variety of headquarters-type jobs: top executives, finance, accounting, human resources marketing, sales, and sales support.
The average salary varies by position, but is more than $79,000 annually plus benefits, the company said when it announced plans to build in Davidson last year. That’s well above the average annual wage in Mecklenburg County of about $52,000.
MSC employees who moved here have settled throughout the area. The Davidson site’s easy access to the highway, the lake and to other nearby communities “was part of the reason we settled here,” Jones said in an interview. “It gives a broad area where they could go – Davidson, Mooresville. If people wanted a horse farm they could find that here. Some younger folks have gravitated toward uptown.”
Others have found homes in Huntersville, Cornelius and even Concord, he said. Jones himself moved July 4 weekend with his family to the Peninsula area of Cornelius.
WHAT IS MSC?
MSC Industrial Supply Co. Inc. distributes metalworking and maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) supplies to big companies in the U.S. and Europe.
The company distributes about 900,000 industrial products from 3,000 suppliers, most of which it keeps in stock, to enable rapid delivery to customers. (More at MSCDirect.com).
“We sell unplanned needs you need to run your plant,” Jones explained. “We’re not selling the things that go into the manufacturing of a widget, but tooling, measuring equipment, safety equipment, MRO supplies.”
“Our value proposition to our customers is we carry the inventory so they don’t have to,” he said.
TUESDAY RIBBON CUTTING
MSC’s president and chief executive Erik Gershwind will join Doug Jones and other MSC officials at the ribbon cutting Tuesday afternoon. Also there will be state and local officials involved with recruiting.
June 20, 2012, “MSC Industrial plans ‘co-HQ’ at Exit 30, up to 400 jobs”
See all previous coverage of MSC on DavidsonNews.net under the MSC tag.