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RALEIGH – Gov. Bev Perdue today announced that Kiln Drying Systems & Components, Inc. (KDS) will expand in Henderson County. The company plans to create 10 jobs and invest $1.4 million during the next three years in Etowah. The project was made possible in part by a $19,700 grant from the One North Carolina Fund.

“We must support North Carolina-based businesses that are looking to grow and create jobs,” said Gov. Perdue. “It’s important that we keep innovative companies like KDS right here and likewise, KDS knows North Carolina has the workforce and strong business climate that will help their company continue to succeed into the future.”

KDS is a North Carolina-based company specializing in the lumber drying industry. The company currently employs 32 people in Henderson County. In the past few years, new drying technologies that are faster and more energy efficient have helped KDS expand their business despite the economic recession and its negative effects on the entire lumber industry. A facility and workforce expansion is required to help KDS keep up with demand and stay ahead of their competition.

Salaries will vary by job function, but the average annual wage for the new jobs will be $50,500 plus benefits. The Henderson County average annual wage is $32,240.

“In 1999, KDS began designing, fabricating, installing and commissioning large scale Lumber Drying Kilns and Green Sawdust Gasification Burner Systems. The Green Sawdust Gasification Burners allow sawmills to get off any fossil fuels, while fulfill their thermal energy needs to dry lumber,” said Rob Girardi, President of KDS. “We are excited by the possibilities of our current CDK (Continuous Drying Kiln), which goes a step further by saving 30 percent of the thermal energy requirement to dry the lumber, thus lowering emissions and costs to our customers.”

The One NC Fund provides financial assistance, through local governments, to attract business projects that will stimulate economic activity and create new jobs in the state. Companies receive no money up front and must meet job creation and investment performance standards to qualify for grant funds. These grants also require and are contingent upon local matches.

North Carolina continues to have a top-ranked business climate. Through Gov. Perdue’s JobsNOW initiative, the state works aggressively to create jobs, train and retrain its workforce, and lay the foundation for a strong and sustainable economic future.

Through use of the One NC Fund, more than 50,000 jobs and $9 billion in investment have been created since 2001. Other partners that helped with this project include: the N.C. Department of Commerce, N.C. Community Colleges, the Mountain Area Workforce Development Board, the Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development and Henderson County.

For more information about KDS, visit www.kdskilns.com.

Kathleen O'Nan

Kathleen O'Nan is a contributing reporter to Carolina Public Press.

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