A new energy surge for jobs

To a degree, Smart Electric Works decision to locate its North America headquarters was weighted heavily by just the right set of circumstances.

At the same time, however, Catawba County economic development leaders' ability to land a high-efficiency lighting manufacturing Conover comes thanks to efforts specifically focused on bringing new “energy” to the county.

“This is the third energy-related company that has located here this year,” said Catawba County Economic Development Corp. President Scott Millar.

Within the past year or so, TurboCoating Corp. USA and Punker LLC have brought about 166 jobs to the Hickory Metro with operations focused on creating energy-related products.

Smart Electric N.A. makes number three, and while the number of jobs created is still uncertain — company leaders say that number will be driven by demand — there will be new jobs, beginning as temporary workers that transition into permanent roles, said Pete Sander, Smart Electric N.A.'s incoming director of manufacturing and engineering.

The company serves the commercial electrical and lighting industry worldwide and the Conover site will complete assembly work, as well as provide logistics, research development and sales.

To read more of this story, pick up the print edition of Catawba County's community newspaper, The Observer News Enterprise, at newsstands throughout the county.