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Oct. 1—ELYSBURG — Great Dane LLC will add 200 new full-time jobs at its Elysburg facility as part of a $3.5 million expansion of its existing trailer manufacturing operations.
The company revealed the news Thursday in front of a small crowd of employees with the help of Gov. Tom Wolf, in a rare appearance in the county.
Wolf said big things are coming to Northumberland County, referring to the manufacturer of high-performance commercial transportation equipment.
"This is exciting news for Pennsylvania," Wolf said. "I know the three commissioners here today will say it is for Northumberland County, but it also is for our state."
Wolf joked with Northumberland County Commissioners Sam Schiccatano, Kym Best and Joe Klebon, during the announcement and after touring the facility with all three county leaders and state Rep. Kurt Masser.
"It really is a great day for the county and all of us and shows a commitment by Great Dane to stay here in Pennsylvania," Wolf said.
Schiccatano said he was happy to see Wolf and more so happy for the county and thankful to Great Dane.
"We are so pleased to get this news," he said.
The company's investment will also help retain more than 420 jobs at the company's additional three Pennsylvania locations in Turbotville, Lancaster County, and Philadelphia.
Great Dane officials said the expansion is being driven by a significant increase in demand for the company's products, requiring a second production shift. The expansion of the Elysburg facility will allow for increased production capacity, meeting the growing needs of the goods mobility industry, which has accelerated at a rapid pace due to the e-commerce boom, company officials said.
"As a transportation industry leader, Great Dane is committed to investing in its workforce, and the communities we call home," Axel Gros, VP of Manufacturing for Great Dane, said. "We are proud to create more jobs in Pennsylvania while meeting the growing needs of American industries."
Masser spoke with Wolf and the two, although on opposite sides of political issues, shook hands and praised the employees.
"When the governor comes and it's not because of any kind of disaster it's always a good thing," Masser said.
"We thank everyone involved in this but it is because of your hard work and continued dedication that this has happened," Masser said to the employees.
The company received a funding proposal from the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) for a $260,000 Pennsylvania First grant and a $180,000 workforce development grant to help the company train workers.
Great Dane was founded in 1900 and is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, with additional corporate offices in Savannah, Georgia. The company operates 11 manufacturing plants throughout the country and is the leading manufacturer of high-performance commercial transportation equipment, including dry and refrigerated trailers and truck bodies, as well as steel, aluminum, and combo open deck trailers.
The project was coordinated by the Governor's Action Team, an group of economic development professionals who report directly to the governor and work with businesses that are considering locating or expanding in Pennsylvania.
The expansion and hiring process will be complete within the next three years, officials said.