Mason company looks to fill 100 jobs by January

Global industrial giant Festo to start operations at new Mason center.

At full capacity, the company is expected to create 250 new jobs in Mason at a newly-built $50 million plant. Construction is complete, and crews are installing machinery now, according to company leaders.

Operations and hiring will ramp up over time at the new Warren County facility, which will be an assembly and warehouse site for the German industrial giant. Plans are to ship the first product to customers in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. beginning in October and add workers and production lines until the Mason Regional Service Center becomes fully operational by spring of next year, said Vice President of Operations Yannick Schilly.

“In terms of level of automation, in terms of state-of-the-art infrastructure, we will have here a very nice plant providing our customers state-of-the-art delivery and lead times,” Schilly said.

Festo outgrew its New York facility, and scouted locations in North America for a new, bigger assembly and logistics hub. It settled on Mason and Ohio to build the 200,000-square-foot, $50 million factory and warehouse, which will give the company more capacity to make and deliver more products to customers faster; leaders say they chose Ohio for the new location because of its close proximity to customers, which cuts delivery times.

Manufacturing and logistics operations will transfer from Long Island to Greater Cincinnati during the ramp-up time, but New York will remain the company’s U.S. headquarters.

“We are close to the markets (in Mason). We are fast. We can increase our inventories,” Schilly said. The “Cincinnati, Mason area in the Midwest is very close to a large base of customers.”

As part of the ramp up, Festo wants to fill about 100 Mason jobs by January. Job seekers can apply at a job fair to be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, July 18, on-site at the plant, located at 7777 Columbia Road in Mason. Applications are sought for warehouse personnel, material handlers, pickers/packers, receiving operators, assemblers, machine operators, CNC machinists, prototype machinists, maintenance mechanics and maintenance technicians.

While Festo is looking for new hires with some manufacturing experience, the company will provide on-the-job training, said human resources manager Heather Jackson. The work culture also encourages ongoing learning and development, she said.

“We will be continually hiring from now until about January,” she said.

Attracting Festo to Mason is a big win, not only because the company is pouring capital into its building and equipment, but also because it’s investing in relationships with the school district and the community, said Mason Economic Development Director Michele Blair. Before choosing Mason to build, the company toured the city’s parks and community center. The city’s health and wellness amenities helped win over the business, Blair said.

“They’re an international company that has a high-technology product,” Blair said.

And an international, advanced manufacturer like Festo needs access to a highly educated workforce, said Mason Mayor David Nichols. Choosing Mason to open a new center tells other companies worldwide that Festo found access to the talent it needs to conduct business in Southwest Ohio, Nichols said.

“It says something,” Nichols said. “What happens is one company of a certain level — (such as) Intelligrated, AtriCure — they like to be around other companies that are advanced as they are.

Intelligrated is an advanced manufacturer of material handling equipment expanding in Mason, and AtriCure, a medical device maker, is building a new headquarters in the northern Cincinnati suburb.

Festo is a worldwide supplier of pneumatic and electric automation technology. It makes automation components including cylinders, actuators, valve terminals and sensors. It also provides consulting services to improve manufacturing processes, as well as industrial education and training, spokeswoman Andrea Ziomek said.

A privately-owned company, Festo has more than 300,000 customers and 17,800 employees globally in 250 branch offices in 61 countries. Sales for 2014 were 2.45 billion Euros.

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