Corning Optical Communications, a worldwide fiber optics communication solutions provider, needed a building for a new, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. And they needed it fast.
When the call came to the Catawba County Economic Development Corporation in November 2016, several top-notch sites across the county came to mind, but a vacant manufacturing facility in Newton was the only site that met all the criteria on Corning’s list within their desired timeframe.
Corning was ready to move quickly. They wanted invest $67 million within a year, creating 210 new jobs with average salaries of nearly $57,000, almost $20,000 higher than the Catawba County average.
The State of North Carolina, Catawba County, and the City of Newton were ready to do what was needed to make the project an economic development success story. Catawba EDC worked closely with municipalities to draft economic development agreements that were win-wins for all parties. Within three months, the agreements were signed and Corning was ready to move forward with development of the new facility.
“We are pleased to announce this expansion of our world-class optical cable manufacturing footprint in Catawba County,” said Clark S. Kinlin, executive vice president of Corning Optical Communications. “Hickory—and now Newton—are a vital part of Corning’s 46-year history in North Carolina, where we invent, make and sell high-performance fiber optic solutions to global network operators. This expansion would not be possible without the ongoing support of city, county and state government entities that help make our increased investment here a win-win.”
According to economic modeling, the direct impact from the new project is 288 jobs and nearly $169 million. Including indirect and induced impacts (supply chain impacts and local purchasing as a result of the project), the impacts are 610 jobs and $217 million.
Corning’s investment in Newton is direct evidence that efforts to advance strategic economic development are yielding significant investment in Newton and Catawba County.