10 companies that show Hamilton is growing its international presence

At the new 80 Acres facility being built in Hamilton, passers-by will be able to get a look at the type of indoor growing happening inside the gigantic vertical farm next to it. MIKE RUTLEDGE/STAFF
At the new 80 Acres facility being built in Hamilton, passers-by will be able to get a look at the type of indoor growing happening inside the gigantic vertical farm next to it. MIKE RUTLEDGE/STAFF

Hamilton companies can wish you a Happy 2021 in a variety of languages, including German, Japanese, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, French, and perhaps even Gaelic.

The city continued its growth in foreign-based companies with offices or facilities in the city this year, which includes construction ongoing and growth in innovative technologies. That variety comes as the city and businesses battle the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Dutch is courtesy of Infinite Acres, a Dutch-and-British joint venture with Hamilton-based indoor food grower 80 Acres. Spanish comes with Spain-based Saica Group, which uses recycled paper for advanced-design corrugated packaging. And both are using office space in Hamilton’s city government tower,

“Saica’s in the building here,” said city Economic Development Director Jody Gunderson about 345 High St. “We’ve carved out a space on the third floor for them to begin to ramp up their operation while their building’s under construction.”

With 80 Acres and Infinite Acres also in the building, “You’ll see people coming from the Netherlands and Great Britain I suppose as well,” he said.

Increasingly, business people are appearing in downtown restaurants, and English is not their first language.

At a recent meeting at Salvagnini and other international firms, it struck Gunderson that, “they’ve got a foreign accent, but they’re very good at speaking English. The city really has a lot of companies that are having people come in” from other countries.

“It’s just so cool to see that type of energy downtown,” City Manager Joshua Smith said.

David Litvin, a crop specialist who focuses mostly on tomatoes, grew up in Israel and works for 80 Acres. Earlier this year, he was working for them in New York City, at an agricultural “art” exhibit at the Guggenheim Museum. The company donated the tomatoes it grew there to City Harvest, which distributed them to needy families. He also passed them out to neighbors of the museum, or pedestrians.

“When I first arrived in Hamilton, I walked into a diner. It looked like the diner had stayed the same design since the ’60s, ’70s, and I found it fascinating. And the people, I see a lot of veterans,” he said.

“There’s also a lot of poverty. And with these kinds of neighborhoods with low income, you get a lot of food deserts, and you don’t have as much accessibility to fresh produce. So us being here is pretty meaningful.”

The list of international companies with a presence in Hamilton is growing:

  • Infinite Acres is a joint venture among Hamilton’s 80 Acres, Netherlands-based Priva Holding BV, and United Kingdom-based Ocado Group. Priva Holding optimizes facilities with climate control and water reuse, among other tasks, and Ocado is the world’s largest dedicated online grocery.
  • Saica Group is one of the largest and most advanced European companies in the field of making corrugated boxes from recycled paper. It launched a $72 million investment in Hamilton in October when it broke ground on a 350,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in the industrial park. The building will include 17,400 square feet of office space, and the company has promised to create at least 64 jobs.
  • Italian-based Salvagnini America Inc., which established its first American facility in Hamilton in 1989, produces a variety of products that bend metals for the manufacturing process.
  • Irish-based Synergy Flavors is a leading supplier of flavors, essences and extracts for the global food and beverage industry. The company came to Hamilton in 2012 when it acquired Sensus, a Hamilton-based company, which provided similar services to those offered by Synergy.
  • German-based thyssenkfupp Bilstein of America had 160 employees in Hamilton a decade ago. It now has about 800. The company manufactures adjustable, high-performance shock absorbers.
  • Neturen America Corporation is a Japanese firm that began operations in Hamilton during 2008. It manufactures induction-tempered steel wire, a high-strength wire rod that is widely used to manufacture industrial springs, including automobile suspension springs. The company developed that technology in the 1970s and is a joint venture of three Japanese firms: Metal One Corporation, Neturen Japan and Nippon Steel.
  • French-based Valeo Climate Control Corp. makes produces climate control systems such as heating, ventilation and air conditioners for vehicles by a variety of automakers at its facility located at 3620 Symmes Rd.
  • Canadian firm Tipco Punch makes specialized tools and dyes for companies in need of them for their own manufacturing.
  • The Barclaycard call center at 101 Knightsbridge Drive is a credit card-servicing division of the UK-based Barclays Bank.
  • iMFLUX is a subsidiary of Procter & Gamble, a multinational company based in Cincinnati, but it says its Innovations are “transforming the future of plastic injection molding.” As you enter the building, Gunderson said, “on the wall, they have a bunch of patents. They’re cutting-edge. There isn’t anybody doing what they’re doing.”

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