SIDNEY, Ohio — “A great day for Emerson, our employees, and the city,” is how Brent Schroeder, group president, heating and air conditioning, Emerson’s Commercial and Residential Solutions platform, described the expansion of the manufacturer’s Sidney, Ohio, compressor plant, which has been in some stage of planning for more than four years. Schroeder, numerous other Emerson leaders, and a handful of local and state dignitaries were on hand to turn the first shovels of dirt for an expansion project on a site that currently employs approximately 1,700 people.
The project is expected to represent a $100 million investment, including an upgrade to the existing facility and the addition of nearly 20,000 square feet of office and engineering space.
The project will include the addition of a two-story office onto the current facility and the conversion of existing space to new and expanded engineering laboratories. With a focus on creating an environment to attract tomorrow’s engineers, scientists, and industry leaders, the renovated facility will facilitate cross-functional collaboration and provide an efficient, modern workplace. A highlight of the project will be an upgraded, cutting-edge lab space designed to conduct advanced performance and refrigerant testing with its compressors and related products.
“We began the more formal planning 18 months ago with design and architectural discussions, but this was a dream that began years ago,” Schroeder told The NEWS. “Our hope is to have the first stage of construction under roof by this winter. The entire project is a three- to four-year endeavor.”
Bob Sharp, executive president of Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions, was credited by Schroeder as having taken the Sidney dream to shovel-ready.
“One of my first observations upon coming into this business was that the facility was a bit dated,” Sharp said. “This location plays a critical role within Emerson’s overall Commercial and Residential Solutions business. Based upon Sidney leadership, innovation, and continued engineering advancements, the Copeland Scroll compressor technology invented right here 30 years ago still fuels a big part of our business globally. Seventeen-hundred employees and 150 million compressors later, we are still driving change and innovation in the industry. No one is more deserving of this major investment than our people here.
“Emerson is celebrating 80 years in Sidney this year,” he continued. “That’s eight decades of leading innovation and world-class results. When I stop to think about what our past leadership teams have accomplished here over the years and the things we continue to achieve, it’s really very incredible. It began when Edmund Copeland founded Copeland Corp. in 1921 and started making compressors for the refrigeration industry. In 1937, a group of local businessmen moved the Copeland Refrigeration Corp. from Detroit to Sidney. For years, Copeland compressors have set the standard for efficient, reliable performance. In fact, most homes across the U.S. are being cooled by compressors that originated here.”
The vision of Emerson leadership and the support of the Sidney community and regional leaders of central Ohio were evident during the groundbreaking event.
“It is no accident that the Helix Innovation Center is just 40 miles away on the University of Dayton campus,” Sharp said. “The Helix is an industry-first technological playground for our experts and customers to come together to develop and test solutions to the heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration problems of tomorrow in real-time.
“It’s also no coincidence that this important work we’re doing is happening right here in the heart of Ohio,” he continued. “The skills and dedication of the employees that we can find here are the reason we can be the strong, innovative company we are today. And you, our employees, are the reason that we will remain leaders in our industry for generations to come. I also want to thank our community and regional leaders who are here from Sidney and west-central Ohio. We rely on strong partnerships with our communities any time we make investments of this magnitude, and we appreciate your support.”
Sidney Mayor, Mike Barhorst, confirmed with his remarks that the city and Shelby County greatly value their relationships with Emerson.
“Emerson doesn’t just support good causes, they promote good causes. Emerson is always there, providing leadership and direction, providing volunteers and assistance, and making a difference,” Barhorst said. “When the financial constraints of the Great Recession forced the city to reduce its workforce, Emerson stepped forward and provided the funds to replace the play equipment in five city parks that had outdated and potentially dangerous equipment.”
Citing another example of Emerson leadership, he said, “I was not surprised to see Emerson employees volunteering their skills remodeling a part of a theatre in conjunction with Shelby County United Way’s Day of Action. However, I have to admit that I was surprised to meet the plant manager and to learn from him that they planned not just to stay the day, but to stay as many days as it took to finish the job.
“This is not only a historic event for Sidney and one that represents a visionary investment in our community, but one that will transform Emerson’s presence in this community and well beyond,” Barhorst added.
After Sharp concluded the formalities with his remarks, the festivities began with silver shovels and finely manicured soil for a photo shoot along with food and commemorative shirts for all.
“This location over the next few years will literally be transformed into a workplace of the future; a place that enables greater creativity, collaboration, and integration than ever before,” Sharp said. “On behalf of the entire leadership team at Emerson, thank you for all that you do. I look forward to seeing the different phases of this project take shape over the next few years and am proud to have secured the support of Emerson for this significant investment. I’m even more excited about the continuation of the spirit that lives here.”
MAYOR BARHORST’S PERSPECTIVE ON EMERSON’S EXPANSION
“Having grown up on a farm in Shelby County, the land has always held a special significance for me — this piece of land in particular. Not unlike all land in this area, Shelby County’s first human inhabitants hunted here. The approximate 72 acres on which Emerson is currently located, multiplied 20 times over, sustained just one Native American family from the Hopewell culture.
After my grandfather returned to the area having served in World War I, he lived here, farming this land. In the early 1920s and 1930s, the land on which Emerson is located sustained just that one family.
The point I am making is a simple one. Long before the land was purchased and the first building constructed here by Copeland Refrigeration Corp. in 1937, this land was sustaining life. Since that first building was constructed this land has continued to sustain life, but unlike most of the history of this land, the property now provides a livelihood for not only the 1,700 people who currently work here, but thousands of others who have worked here in the past as well as countless others in a support role around the globe.
It goes without saying that the products produced on this land have improved the lives of nearly every citizen in this country and in many countries around the world.”
Publication date: 8/14/2017