Incentives approved for manufacturer

The area’s newest manufacturer will get a financial lift from the county next year.

Catawba County Commissioners approved an incentive agreement Monday for Punker LLC, a German-based manufacturer that plans to bring up to 80 new jobs to the area.

Earlier this month, the Catawba County Economic Development Corporation (CCEDC) announced that Punker plans to open a new manufacturing plant in Hickory. Punker produces fan parts for the HVAC and exhaust industries.

The expansion will bring at least 62 jobs to the area, with the potential to create 80 new jobs.

Should the company fulfill its planned minimum investment of about $4.5 million and 62 new jobs, the county will grant the manufacturer $44,475 over four years. If the company creates 80 jobs or more by Dec. 31, 2016, the grant will be extended one year, with a grant payment of $18,224 in the fifth year.

Punker, a subsidiary of Punker GmbH, is headquartered in Eckernforde, Germany, and manufactures fan parts for more than 1,000 customers on every continent, according to the CCEDC. The company also manufactures cooling systems, roof fans, dust and smoke extraction and commercial ovens.

Punker employs 300 people in Germany.

On Monday night, commissioners also approved a request to fund a Drug Treatment Court (DTC) coordinator position, and operating and travel costs through the end of the fiscal year.

The request comes from Catawba County's Supervision, Treatment, Accountability and Recovery (S.T.A.R) team, which was established in 2004 to help enhance and monitor the delivery of treatment services to chemically dependent adult offenders while holding them accountable for complying with their court-ordered treatment plans, according to a county memorandum.

Based on its mid-December start date, the projected cost of the DTC coordinator position is $22,000. The position was previously funded by the state, but was eliminated effective July 1, 2011, according to the county.