By: Joshua Lloyd, Morning News
FLORENCE, S.C. – With approximately 700 employees and a nearly 500,000-square-foot facility, Otis Elevator in Florence is one of the largest employers in the Pee Dee region and one of the top manufacturers in the state.
Despite an already stellar presence and rapid local growth, Otis officials say more growth is coming for the Florence site.
“We need more manufacturing space, as well as more press equipment and more space for supplier components,” said Brad Selleck, Otis’ North American vice president and manager of the Florence plant. “There’s definitely more expansion coming in the future. We’re working through that now.”
Details weren’t available on what exactly a facility expansion would entail or when it could happen, but Selleck told the Florence Rotary Club on Monday that the Florence plant is moving toward adding escalator production to its repertoire.
“We’re working on a plan to relocate escalator production to the Florence factory,” Selleck said. “We’re looking at numbers on an expansion and what types of skills we’re going to need. We’re still evaluating, so there’s more to come on that.”
An approach that’s helped Otis in Florence become an economic powerhouse, not only locally but internationally, is diversity.
“In Florence we have 16 countries represented and 14 languages spoken in the building,” Selleck said. “It’s different, it’s progressive and it’s a great recruiting tool. You can feel the cultural difference, and that’s key when recruiting the best employees.”
Otis in Florence produces a variety of full elevator systems, including hydraulic and belt-drive models. Many of the materials produced in Florence are energy conserving and compact to minimize the environmental impact.
Approximately five years ago, Otis purchased the old Maytag facility that sits on 92 acres northwest of Interstate 95 at U.S. 52. The initial investment was $40 million with 360 jobs.