Things Were Really Hopping in late January in YEC’s East York Industrial Park. Bluestar Silicones, which in September purchased the building formerly occupied by Hella USA, had dozens of construction workers on site, building labs and quality control rooms, installing manufacturing equipment and conveyor systems and more.
“Right now, it’s really wide open,” said Strategic Development and Compliance Director David Beaty. The work is the culmination of a years-long project to consolidate Bluestar’s facilities in Rock Hill and California, he says.
The 236,000-square-foot East York facility “gives us lots of room for growth. Right now we’re planning our business projections out through 2015 and beyond,” Beaty says. “We’re more than doubling our available space.” The company’s facilities in Rock Hill and Ventura, Calif., each measured about 48,000 square feet.
Beaty’s happy to be here. “The economic development group from York County and the state of South Carolina developed an incentive package that helped us move here. Of course, York Electric Cooperative has competitive electricity rates. That was also a factor.”
The arrangement is mutually beneficial for Bluestar and the co-op. “We’re going to be a significant customer,” Beaty says. As YEC Vice President of Community Development Marc Howie notes, “Industries like Bluestar help the co-op hold down the cost of service for all members—and provide quality local jobs.”
Beaty adds, “At maturity in 2014, we will have about 120 employees at this facility. Currently in Rock Hill and in California we have about 90. We have about 18 people that are relocating with us from California to the York area. The rest will be hired locally. Some have been hired and are in training now.”
The local operation includes purchasing, supply chain, engineering, quality control, research and development (R&D) and manufacturing, Beaty says. “We have a lot of R&D effort that goes into developing and supporting our products,” he says. “We right now have about 25 people in R&D locally.”
An international company, Bluestar Silicones’ North American office is located in East Brunswick, N.J. The local predecessor companies that are now part of Bluestar started in 1984 in a fertilizer warehouse in the Guthriesville community of York County, Beaty notes. The operation relocated in 1986 to 911 East White St., Rock Hill.
East York Industrial Park