Doors opening for some area manufacturers

Jamison Door, Procter & Gamble, Volvo all have expansion plans in the works

By Mike Lewis

John Williams said he sees a lot of doors opening for his company — literally.

Williams is chairman and CEO of Jamison Door Co., which is based in Hagerstown, Md. The company recently expanded into a new manufacturing facility across the state line in Franklin County, Pa., to increase its production and grow its product line.

“We think we’re really well-positioned in the industry,” he said. “We have a great sales team.”

Jamison is not the only regional manufacturer to be making news. The sprawling Procter & Gamble Co. facility in Berkeley County, W.Va., continues to ramp up. Established facilities, such as the Volvo Group plant near Hagerstown, have announced expansion plans. And one company in Pennsylvania made a political splash when Vice President Mike Pence showed up for a pep talk.

“The real credit goes to all of you” Pence told workers at the Manitowoc Co. crane plant in Shady Grove, Pa. “And the comeback in American manufacturing is happening because of the men and women of this country who work in this great industry. And it’s thanks to great companies like Manitowoc in this economy that American manufacturing is rallying all across the country.”

‘Everyone’s excited’

File photo
John Williams, chairman and CEO of Jamison Door Co., in his office in Hagerstown, Md. The company was founded in 1906. The large portrait behind him is of company founder John Vincent Jamison Sr.

Jamison Door is one of those rallying companies.

A decade or so ago, Jamison had about 100 employees. Now the company employs nearly 200 people at facilities in Washington County, Md., and Franklin County, Pa., as well as Montana and Mexico City, Williams said.

Jamison makes air doors, insulated doors, and high-speed, roll-up doors, specializing in doors for cold-storage businesses.

It outgrew its 12,000-square-foot roll-up door space south of Hagerstown and moved that operation to the new 50,000-square-foot building in Franklin County, he said. 

The company also plans to expand its product line to make large exterior roll-up doors for manufacturing facilities and other doors that are used for vehicle service bays.

The company recently hosted a national sales meeting at the new building.

“Everyone’s excited about the new plant,” he said.

About a dozen people work at the new building. Jamison hopes to roughly triple that number in three years.

The Franklin County (Pa.) Area Development Corp. served as a developer for the 50,000-square-foot building. About $3.7 million was invested in the new facility.

Still hiring

A little to the south, the Procter & Gamble plant near Martinsburg, W.Va., continues to grow.

When the new plant was announced in 2015, P&G said the building would cover more than 1 million square feet and employ 700 full-time workers.

Plant operations have been expanded to about 2.5 million square feet under roof, and about 1,100 people work there.

Keith Busby, the plant’s HR leader, recently told Herald-Mail Media, publisher of Crossroads Business Journal, that the company still had nearly 300 positions to fill.

The consumer goods company makes many familiar brands. Bounce fabric softener was the first product line to be launched at the Berkeley County facility in February 2018. Aussie, Pantene and Herbal Essences shampoos and conditioners, along with Swiffer cleaning products and Dawn dishwashing liquid, have been added since then.

Now millions of cases of products are being shipped from the plant each month.

P&G expects all of its operations at the plant, including dozens of production lines, to be operational by the end of 2020, Busby said.

Volvo expansion

Manitowoc wasn’t the only company getting the attention of politicians. In conjunction with a July visit from Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly M. Schulz, Volvo Group announced plans to invest $43 million and add 85 new jobs to the powertrain production plant near Hagerstown. The company develops and produces heavy-duty diesel engines, transmissions and axles for Volvo Group brands, such as Volvo and Mack semi trucks, at that facility.

The plant will introduce a new machining operation, expanding automated manual transmission assembly and adding logistics management. Automatic transmission gears and shafts machining will be added alongside the existing automatic transmission assembly line, with production expected to begin in early 2021.

Volvo employs nearly 2,000 people at the plant.

To help with the expansion, Maryland Commerce has approved a $1.4 million conditional loan through Advantage Maryland. Washington County has approved approximately $140,000 for the project.

“It is very important for us to receive support from the state of Maryland and Washington County. We value the long-term relationship we have with our local and state legislators as they are key partners to build a sustainable business,” Pierre Jenny, Volvo Group vice president of powertrain production at the Hagerstown facility, said in a news release about the expansion.