MYRTLE BEACH — Out of the 315 jobs business recruiters announced since December to come to the Myrtle Beach area, 123 of those jobs are already in place, Doug Wendel, chairman of the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corp., said Wednesday.
BauschLinnemann North America, a producer of surfaces and edge bandings for furniture makers, was announced last week to bring 55 manufacturing jobs to a new facility the company will build in the area. The company has 21 positions filled with existing employees from its Myrtle Beach and Conway facilities. BauschLinnemann plans to start hiring for the remaining 34 manufacturing jobs at the beginning of next summer.
Frontier Communications, which the EDC announced in May would renovate its building on Lumber Street in Myrtle Beach to house a call center, has employed 75 of 110 people to be hired for the call center, Wendel said.
The staffing should be complete by the end of September, according to Tim Ruedy, area general manager for Frontier Communications.
AvCraft, an aviation maintenance and repair company in Myrtle Beach, has added 27 of 150 jobs since February -- most of those jobs filled are in technical support, said AvCraft’s president Mike Hill. The company, which plans to improve its building on the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, has been having a hard time finding qualified aircraft mechanics but hopes to recruit individuals from the Myrtle Beach branch of the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics, Hill said. The plan has been for AvCraft to have all 150 jobs filled in five years.
With most of the new jobs coming from companies that already had a presence in the area, the EDC executive committee discussed Wednesday creating an existing industry committee.
The purpose is to diversify the economy and bring in jobs the area wouldn’t normally have because of it being a tourism, retirement community, Wendel said.
“Most jobs are created with existing industries. We want to focus on that,” Wendel said.
Existing industries “create more jobs traditionally than new industries,” said Dodd Smith, president and chief operating officer of Metglas Inc., who is the chairman of the EDC’s new existing industry committee.
A groundbreaking ceremony will be held at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 4 for BauschLinnemann, which plans to consolidate its operations in Myrtle Beach, Conway and Greensboro, N.C., into a new 75,000-square-foot manufacturing and office facility on Harrelson Boulevard near the Myrtle Beach International Airport. The facility is expected to be completed by July, at which time the company will begin hiring. Average wages will be $15 to $17 an hour for BauschLinnemann jobs, and $11 to $12 an hour for Frontier jobs. The AvCraft jobs will pay significantly above the average county wage of $14.31 per hour, EDC’s president and chief executive officer Brad Lofton has said.
The 315 jobs announced brings EDC about half-way toward its goal of luring 500 jobs to Horry County by the fall. Lofton, who started in April 2011 as the EDC’s president and chief executive officer, pledged to bring that number of jobs to the area during his first 18 months on the job.
Two other projects are in the works: Project Blue, which would bring 1,020 jobs to the area and Project AF, which would add 79 new manufacturing jobs.
Project Blue, which Wendel confirmed Wednesday is a call center, would be located in the Carolina Forest area, have a $30 million annual payroll and a $75 million annual economic impact on the area. The company could begin construction on a building in late September. Horry County Council, which has given two initial approvals to $8 million general obligation bonds for the project, is expected to take a final vote Sept.4.
Project AF, which has gotten initial approval from the Horry County Council, requires two more votes from the council, and would be an expansion of an existing industry, Lofton said. The council likely will take those two votes in September.
Officials still won’t reveal the names of Project Blue and Project AF because of confidential agreements until the deals are finalized. Average wages would be $14.36 an hour for Project Blue jobs, and $12 to $13 per hour for Project AF jobs, Lofton said.
Contact JANELLE FROST at 443-2404.