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Part of his vision in 2009 included expanding the company’s reach into the U.S. compressor market, beyond the company’s facility in the Atlanta area.
Opportunity presented itself in Syracuse, N.Y. The area had been suffering from a loss of jobs as several manufacturers moved out of the area, placing its unemployment rate at 8.6 percent. According to the Brookings Institute, it’s lower than the national average of 9.7 percent. And a number of these people came from the technology sector, making the city a great resource for skilled employees.
Schaufler and his management team (Richard Kobor, chief technology officer and president of Bitzer Scroll Inc., and Mike McKee, general manager of Bitzer Scroll) found facilities that could easily be converted to their line, and trained workers to run it.
The 57,600-square-foot facility may not be the biggest. However, it’s injecting a fair amount of hope into a community affected by the departure of other manufacturers. The facility Bitzer moved into had been occupied by GM, and Bitzer’s market entrance created 300 jobs in the area.
Schaufler invested $28 million in the facility. Its renovation started in June 2009; 2010 will be its first full year of production, and it’s designed to produce up to 45,000 units annually.
Schaufler and the company leveraged a grant from the Empire State Development Corp. (ESDC) to invest more than $30 million over the next four years to design and manufacture its scroll compressors.
N.Y. Senator John A. DeFrancisco said, “I applaud Bitzer Scroll for its investment in the central New York business community and in our region’s workforce. This will provide a tremendous boost to our central New York economy, create lasting and well-paying jobs, and hopefully encourage other businesses to make the same kind of investment in our upstate economy.”
By putting an interesting twist on the concept of “Made in the U.S.A.,” industry leader Peter Schaufler is helping to inject hope and energy into the Syracuse community.
Sidebar: 2009 NewsmakersNAME: Peter Schaufler
COMPANY: Bitzer SE
LOCATION: Sindelfingen, Germany
NOTABLE QUOTE: “I am not like other owners. I still have visions.”
Publication date: 12/21/2009