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Stork delivers more jobs

Manufacturer announces plan to expand Gainesville plant

POSTED: March 9, 2008 5:02 a.m.
ROBIN MICHENER NATHAN/The Times

Drew Minor, a machinist, works on a plastic router at Stork Gamco on Wednesday. The company announced an expansion of their Gainesville plant.

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Stork Gamco, the Gainesville-based manufacturer of food processing equipment, primarily for the poultry industry, has announced an expansion at its Gainesville plant.

The company is adding manufacturing space, primarily for equipment used in additional processing and cooking of chicken and other meats.

"These will be products for forming, battering and cooking meat, fish and vegetable products," said Mike Barton, vice president of manufacturing and information technology for Stork Gamco.

The company’s history in the poultry industry goes back to the 1940s as Gainesville Machine Corp., which was acquired in 1976 by Stork NV, which is based in Holland.

In the early days, the company operated a number of small departments in several shops across the city. In 1974, the first portion of the current facility was constructed on Airport Industrial Parkway. The company has undergone a number of expansions, the latest in 1996.

While Stork Gamco has been a mainstay in the poultry industry in North and Central America, the company has recently ventured into marketing its equipment for meat and vegetable processing.

"This is very new for us," Barton said. "We are still primarily focused on poultry, but this new equipment has potential in other markets."

Frank Nicolletti, the company’s executive vice president, said products made in Gainesville go in many directions.

"We not just a company in Gainesville," Nicolletti said. "We supply a lot of equipment around the world. Our ability to have qualified people working on the highly skilled machines we have allow us to keep competitive."

He said that he believes Stork Gamco can compete with companies in other parts of the world, including China and Poland."They have cheap labor, but it is unskilled labor. For the kind of business we’re going to be in for the next few years, it’s going to be important to have skill labor," Nicolletti said.

Stork Gamco is using Lanier Technical College’s QuickStart program to train new workers, which in time could number between 30 and 60 people. The training agreement was signed Wednesday by Barton, Lanier Tech President Mike Moye and Jeff Lynn, regional representative of the QuickStart program.

"What we are doing is trying to grow those jobs and skill sets so we can be competitive in the global market and keep manufacturing jobs in Hall County," said Russell Vandiver, vice president for economic development at Lanier Technical College. "We have resources now to do that better than anyone else."

Stork Gamco makes automated machines used in every facet of poultry processing. While the company uses many precision devices, including computer and laser driven machines, the work requires the attention of skilled machinists. Barton said the expansion, which will adjoin the current building, would be completed in the third quarter of this year.



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