Advanced Superabrasives plans to expand its Mars Hill operations, adding 47 full time jobs by 2021. Frank Taylor / Carolina Public Press

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MARS HILL — A Mars Hill manufacturer is investing $26 million and more than doubling its staff in an expansion of its Madison County facility, Gov. Roy Cooper announced this week.

Advanced Superabrasives, a manufacturer of “premium high-performance grinding wheels and equipment,” is expanding its Mars Hill facility and will create 47 full-time jobs over four years, according to a press release from Cooper’s office. Advanced Superabrasives general manager Jonathan Szucs told Carolina Public Press that the expansion will allow the company to add three new product lines.

“North Carolina’s top-flight manufacturing workforce makes our state the right choice for companies looking to grow into the future,” Cooper said in a press release. “Advanced Superabrasives’ expansion is just the latest example that top manufacturers have confidence in our state and our workers.”

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Advanced Superabrasives manufactures industrial grinding wheels, tools for sharpening grinding wheels, dressing machines and coolant systems, according to the company’s website. Two grinding wheels manufactured by the company are currently attached to NASA’s Curiosity rover, which is on a scientific exploration mission on Mars, according to the press release. The wheels are used to polish rocks that are then analyzed by other equipment on the rover, according to Szucs.

“Companies with experience in North Carolina understand the advantages of doing business here,” North Carolina Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland said in the press release. “It’s wonderful to see another manufacturer choose to expand their operations in our state.”

North Carolina is providing the company with a $100,000 performance-based grant through the One North Carolina Fund. Cooper’s office said the One N.C. Fund “provides financial assistance to local governments to help attract economic investment and to create jobs” and that “companies receive no money upfront and must meet job creation and capital investment targets to qualify for payment.” The state grants are also contingent upon matching local grants.

Szucs told Carolina Public Press that when the company began exploring expansion, it was courted by several other states and countries. The decision to remain in Madison County was in part practical, because of the difficulty of setting up in a new facility with a new workforce for a company that makes such specialized products, but was also tied to a feeling of commitment to Madison County and the community.

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The company has partnerships with public schools and colleges in the region to promote manufacturing careers and internship and apprenticeship programs that are growing.

“North Carolina values its manufacturing companies, both large and small,” Szucs said. “Our company is proud to do business here and we look forward to growing in the state for many years to come.”

Cooper’s office said salaries for the new jobs will average $33,829 annually.

Advanced Superabrasives first formed in 1993 as Advanced Tool in Asheville with a 3,000-square-foot facility. The company moved to Mars Hill in 2000 and has clients in the woodworking, metalworking, automotive, ceramics and aerospace industries.

Michael Gebelein

Michael Gebelein was an investigative reporter with Carolina Public Press. To contact Carolina Public Press, email info@carolinapublicpress.org or call 828-774-5290.

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