Carroll County makes loans to 4 manufacturers to create 546 American Jobs

Four Carroll manufacturers to expand, bring over 500 jobs

With four loans, Carroll County is hoping the expansion of a few companies will generate more than 500 jobs.

Earlier this week, the Board of County Commissioners approved Maryland Economic Development Assistance Authority and Fund loans for Knorr Brake Company, EVAPCO, Penguin Random House and Strouse Corporation. Knorr Brake will get $700,000, EVAPCO will get $650,000, Penguin Random House will get $200,000 and Strouse will get $100,000, said Jack Lyburn, director of the county’s Department of Economic Development.

MEDAAF “funds grants, loans and investments to support economic development initiatives. Uses include business attraction and retention, infrastructure support, brownfield redevelopment, arts and entertainment districts, day care, revolving loan funds and local strategic planning,” according to its website.

A top priority for Carroll’s economic development is taking care of resident industries, Lyburn said. This expansion is expected to bring 546 jobs to Carroll, he said.

“This is an exciting day, it is part of the history of Carroll County,” Lyburn told the commissioners Thursday. “You are part of affecting and changing the lives of over 500 people in Carroll County with this vote.”

Commissioners aren’t voting to certify the loans, Lyburn said, but rather to say that these things are good for the county.

Commissioners unanimously approved — 4-0 because Commissioner Stephen Wantz, R-District 1, had to leave the meeting early to take part in a discussion about the opioid crisis — EVAPCO, Penguin Random House and Strouse all at once.

Knorr Brake President Rich Bowie spoke to commissioners before another vote was taken, which again came out 4-0.

When the company moved to Carroll, Bowie said, it made a $30 million investment here.

“In that time, we’ve doubled our business already,” he said. “We see the opportunity to continue to grow.”

Knorr Brake looked at other areas to expand to, Bowie said, but decided Carroll was the best choice. It’s a great place to work, live and raise families, he added.

“We’ve got very good projects, we’ve got very good people,” Bowie said.

Knorr Brake Co., which makes brakes, doors and HVAC systems for mass-transit rail lines, will add 200 new jobs over the next six years, the Maryland Department of Commerce announced Thursday. The company will add 30,000 square feet of space to its facility at the Westminster Technology Park off Md. 97, investing $2.2 million. The company built its facility there in 2013, moving from its former location on Md. 140, which is now home to Land Sea Air.

In April, Strouse announced it will construct the new 60,000-square-foot facility in the Westminster Technology Park off Md. 97. The company — which makes die-cut adhesive products used in the medical, automotive, electronics, military and appliance industries; and engineers “adhesive tape solutions” — is stationed on the opposite side of Md. 97 at the Airport Business Park.

The new facility will be expandable to 80,000 square feet and is tentatively scheduled to be completed during the first quarter of 2018. Strouse currently employs 65 workers in the county and anticipates adding 25 new jobs over the next four years.

Taneytown-based EVAPCO, which manufactures cooling and refrigeration products, announced expansion of its operations in February, investing $15 million in its facility on Allendale Lane, including constructing a new, 160,000-square-foot building across from its current corporate headquarters and manufacturing facility.

Bill Bartley, president and CEO of EVAPCO, said the hope was to have the new factory done by fall of this year, and add 125 new jobs over the next five years. The company employed 440 people last year, according to Maryland Department of Commerce figures.

Penguin Random House, the world’s largest trade book publisher, announced plans in 2014 for multiyear investment in the expansion of its Westminster distribution facility, adding a “significant number of new jobs” over time. Penguin Random House is already one of the county’s top five employers, with 755 working at the warehouse on Hahn Road off Md. 27, according to the Maryland Department of Commerce.

Commissioners applauded the four manufacturing companies’ expansions. “I think you really bolstered our community” by being here and growing here, Commissioner Doug Howard, R-District 1, told Bowie.

“You are a world-class operation,” added Commissioner President Richard Weaver, R-District 2.


Companies receiving MEDAAF loans

•Penguin Random House — 755 employees — $200,000 loan

•EVAPCO — 440 employees — $650,000 loan

•Knorr Brake — 265 employees — $700,000 loan

•Strouse — 65 employees — $100,000 loan