March 27, 2017
GE Healthcare launching $40 million expansion, creating 100 new jobs
GE Healthcare held a groundbreaking Tuesday afternoon at its facility on West Radio Drive for its $40 million capacity expansion, which is expected to begin construction this summer.
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GE Healthcare will expand its production of MRI components to accommodate several new products in the company’s portfolio, according to the South Carolina Department of Commerce. The 500,000-square-foot facility will grow both in size and in personnel as approximately 100 new jobs will be created.
Dale Wolf, shop operations executive at GE Healthcare, explained that the catalyst for the expansion came from the desire to have GE’s supply chain under one roof. Wolf said the expansion consists of new equipment as well as materials from other warehouses moving into the Florence facility.
“We’re really trying to improve the customer experience and get the entire system leaving from one site,” Wolf said. “We’re trying to simplify it.”
Wolf said GE Healthcare currently ships just five percent of the total number of parts of its MRI imaging system. After the expansion is complete, Wolf said, GE expects to ship 100 percent of the system from the Florence plant.
“This is a tremendous accomplishment and tremendous investment GE is making in Florence, the people that work here and the state of South Carolina,” Wolf said. “We’re proud to call Florence our home and to continue this great partnership around lifesaving technology in the years to come.”
Wolf said the construction timeline is still tentative, but with production expected to start this summer, he hopes to be moved in to the expansion by this time next year.
The expansion groundbreaking was held at the rear of the GE facility Tuesday afternoon. Hundreds attended the ceremony, including state, county and city representatives, McLeod Health executives, and numerous GE employees.
Governor Henry McMaster addressed the crowd during the ceremony and praised the people of the Pee Dee and the Florence area for their latest accomplishment.
McMaster also presented to Wolf a state-seal-inscribed brass plate during the ceremony. McMaster commended Wolf and GE Healthcare as a whole, saying the company is “making a reality of what this seal stands for.”
“This is a great collaboration among that state, city and county governments as well as a great company,” McMaster said. “We’re just going off the scale with economic development. And this is a perfect example of it.”
Buddy Brand, chairman of Florence County Economic Development Partnership, also applauded both GE Healthcare and its 350-plus employees, saying they work for “one of the best companies in the world.”
“Congrats to all of you,” Brand said in his address the GE staff members. “Florence is proud to have you here. You make Florence a better place to live.”
McLeod Health employees also had quite a presence at the groundbreaking. Dr. Shawn Conwell, clinic chairman of MRI services at McLeod Health, said the hospital is excited to be uniting with GE Healthcare during its expansion and to provide better MRI services for patients in the future.
“We’re pleased to be partnering with GE Healthcare in continuing the growth and expansion for our patients,” Conwell said. “GE is not just building magnets or turbines. Together GE and McLeod are building things that matter and that includes strong communities.”
*Story as it appears on scnow.com*