Roughly 100 people crammed into Berkeley County Council Chambers today for an introduction to the county’s new high-voltage cable manufacturer, Nexans.
“This is a standing-room only crowd,” said Dan Davis, chairman of Berkeley County Council, adding the event is Nexans’ welcome to the county.
And the county didn’t pay anyone to show up, Davis said, drawing laughter from the crowd.
Nexans’ site at the Bushy Park Industrial Complex will be the company’s first high-voltage manufacturing plant in North America, and company officials expect it to create 200 jobs and invest $85 million in the Lowcountry. Nexans expects the plant to open in 2014.
Nexans employs 1,700 in North America and has eight factories on the continent. The Berkeley County operation will produce high-voltage cables for utility companies, and the company expects increasing demand for its cables because of population growth, aging utility infrastructure across North America and the increased frequency in burying overhead transmission lines, said Stephen Hall, an executive vice president for Nexans.
The company chose Berkeley County after a “deep analysis,” said Frederic Michelland, a senior corporate executive vice president for Nexans.
Michelland said the company chose the Lowcountry because of its ability to attract a talented workforce, access to technical schools and universities, and its well-organized infrastructure.
He also hinted at future expansion, saying if the first phase is successful, the company may begin manufacturing submarine cables here, too, making the Berkeley County plant the first to manufacture both cable types.
Gov. Nikki Haley praised the company, which is at the top of its field and takes care of its employees, she said.
“I effectively work for you,” Haley said. “There is not a permit you will wait on. You are new family; we are invested.”