A California company that specializes in hearing and respiratory protective equipment will expand to Lebanon with the aim to provide more than 200 new jobs.
Moldex-Metric will retrofit and move into a now vacant facility that is approximately 90,000 square feet on about 21 acres on Innovative Way near State Route 109.
The company also plans to construct a new building adjacent to the current facility on the site, Moldex President and CEO Mark Magidson said.
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Moldex will initially concentrate on manufacturing its series of high-quality N95 face masks in Tennessee, Magidson said.
Moldex plans to start manufacturing in Lebanon by early 2021, Magidson said, and will initially focus on making N95 respirators primarily used for healthcare and first response workers.
“We hope to expand to other products that we make in the long run over the years,” Magidson said. “But right now it’s all about N95 … There is just more demand than there is supply in the entire N95 industry with us and our competitors and we’re just trying to meet the demand as best we can.”
Moldex is the 25th new project announced in Tennessee since the fiscal year started July 1, which comprises 3,800 jobs and $2.2 billion in capital investments, Tennessee Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe said.
Gov. Bill Lee and Rolfe were among several public officials who attended the announcement on Tuesday.
“The fact that this company makes N95 masks, what a relevant topic, what an important topic and very much of a market leader,” Rolfe said about Moldex.
The property Moldex will move to was recently purchased for $6.1 million, according to Wilson County property records. The buyer is listed as Orange Mesh LLC., and has the same address Moldex in Culver City, California, property records show.
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Moldex’s initial investment, estimated at around $25 million, is expected to jump to more than $30 million with the new building.
The number of jobs now estimated at 220 could climb when the additional building is complete, though Magidson didn’t give a specific estimate on how many more employees could be hired.
The additional building is expected to take about a year to construct, though Magidson wasn’t certain when it could start.
“It gives them the opportunity to meet their immediate needs and at the same time allows them to grow their business,” Joint Economic and Community Development Board of Wilson County Executive Director G.C. Hixson said.
Moldex employs about 450 workers in California. Moldex also has locations in Germany and the Czech Republic.
There was competition from other states to land Moldex, which has been looking to expand eastward in the U.S., before the company decided on Wilson County.
“We’re currently shipping from California to the rest of the country and so it worked out well,” Magidson said. “There are a lot of business-friendly aspects of being here and not to mention just the way we interacted with the state and local officials.”
Moldex will also donate 50,000 masks to Wilson County for first responders and others, Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto said.
Reach Andy Humbles at [email protected] or 615-726-5939 and on Twitter @ AndyHumbles.
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: California company to bring more than 200 jobs to Lebanon and produce N95 masks, protective equipment