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German industrial giant to add 350 jobs at Mason location

Festo, a German-based worldwide supplier of pneumatic and electric automation technology for more than 40 industries, will more than triple the size of its state-of-the-art Regional Service and Manufacturing Center in Mason and add hundreds of new jobs.

Construction, which will be conducted in two phases and add 350,000 square feet to the 150,000-square-foot facility, is expected to be completed by 2024, according to Yannick Schilly, Festo’s chief operating officer and vice president of product supply for North America.

That will allow the company, which employs 200 at the facility, to add 350 new jobs in the fields of engineering, mechatronics, purchasing and material management, as well as production and logistics operations over the next five years.

Festo, Sinclair Community College and area companies Art Metal Group, Clippard Instruments, MQ Automation and Nestlé worked for the past two years to create a two-year Mechatronics Apprenticeship Program to help employers develop the skills that are missing in today’s workforce.

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Festo opened its $50 million Mason facility just off Interstate 71 in 2015. This new investment is the next step in maximizing the 47-acre campus acquired by the company to meet growing demands in the United States and North American market, according to Schilly.

“We are a market leader in our industry and we have an excellent product offering,” Schilly told this news outlet. “The supply chain base we have established now gives us even stronger positioning. The market is doing extremely well … the global economy is booming and we’re on a growth path. We want to prepare ourselves for the next couple of years to deliver an even better service offering to our customers here in North America.”

Mason City Council approved during its regularly scheduled Monday night meeting a resolution paves the way for economic development incentives.

Mason City Manager Eric Hansen said the company’s expansion, both of its facility and its workforce, is “historic.”

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Festo’s local expansion may seem like a traditional economic development announcement on the surface, but Mason Mayor Victor Kidd said the company’s investment “represents far more.”

“Our four-year friendship with Festo runs deep,” Kidd said. “Through their incredible generosity to our community and schools, Festo has redefined what it means to be a partner, helping to inspire curiosity in STEM education in our youngest residents.”

The City of Mason, REDI Cincinnati and JobsOhio are collaborating to create an incentive package for Festo. The company’s Mason expansion is contingent upon the approval of those incentives.

Kidd said it’s important for the city to offer financial incentives to companies like Festo or run the risk of them getting snatched up by other communities who are more than willing to do so themselves.

“If you don’t compete in that environment, you’re just simply going to be left behind,” he said.

Mason has invested $3.3 million in city funds in the last 15 years for such incentives, resulting in $641 million in annual payroll, Kidd said.

The company continues to maintain United States and North American regional headquarters in Hauppauge, N.Y., he said.

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