MCCONNELSVILLE — During its four years of local production, Miba Sinter USA has been met with so much success, it has doubled the size of its production facility, and expects to create 100 high-paying jobs within the next three years.
Miba Sinter, a faction of the Austrian-based Miba Group, produces high-precision automobile parts used in transmission, steering and other systems for the majority of large production companies including BMW, Audi, Volvo and GM. The McConnelsville plant began production in 2010, moving into a facility next to the Miba Bearings USA plant built in 2001.
In the four years it’s been producing parts, Miba Sinter has continued to win contracts and build its clientele, necessitating the doubling of its original facility size and the expansion of its workforce. Starting with only 25 workers, the plant now has 121 employees on its payroll, with an expected 100 more technicians and production specialists to be hired in the next three years. Miba Bearings also employs more than 300 people locally. In a county with a 7.7 percent unemployment rate, Site Manager Steve Krise said the impact of those high-income jobs is huge.
“That’s one of the most rewarding parts for me. There’s a lot of unemployed people here in Morgan and Zanesville, and everyone we’ve hired here … it’s really changed their lives,” Krise said. “I mean most of them were either unemployed or working at a part-time job making minimum wage. Those people are buying houses and cars now. That’s the impact we see.”
Ohio Gov. John Kasich said the $8 million expansion of the facility, in combination with the $51 million Miba already has invested in McConnelsville, shows the promise of a brighter future for Morgan County.
“I’m excited about this operation being here,” he said. “This is such a hopeful sign for all of Southeastern Ohio and Appalachia.”
Krise said he thinks the continued growth of Miba Sinter stems from the quality of care and knowledge workers show toward the production process.
“The things we sell to our customers, I’d say we know them as well as they do,” he said. “We don’t make everything. We don’t try to make simple, little parts. We make ones that really require advanced engineering and equipment.”
The expansion will continue to help the local economy even outside of its employees, Krise said, as the machinery they use often needs calibration and service, for which they use local companies.
To continue the success Miba has had so far, Chairman and CEO F. Peter Mitterbauer said the company must continue with “dynamic evolution,” part of which involves the hiring of skilled workers.
Kasich agreed, stressing the importance of vocational and technical training for children as young as in seventh grade.
“We have to make sure our young people understand the opportunity in working in a place like this,” he said. “You have to make sure you have highly trained workers.”
A deficiency in trained workers almost sent the plant expansion to Michigan, Krise said, as the competitive evaluation process rated the Sterling Heights area’s workforce higher than McConnelsville. The proximity of Miba Sinter to Miba Bearings helped to bring favor back to the Ohio site, and Krise said he is glad the local workforce now has a chance to show its value.
“(The workforce rating) part was wrong,” he said. “The workforce here is much better. They need to be trained more, but they’ve got a good work ethic.”
To assist in the training of new employees, JobsOhio has awarded Miba with a $50,000 workforce training grant. An additional $2 million loan was provided to the company by the Ohio Development Services Agency to aid in the expansion Kasich said he thinks will start the area in the direction of prosperity.
“I’m so excited for the opportunity to get things right here,” he said.
From Zanesville Times Recorder | July 11, 2014
By Anna Rumer, Staff Writer