In celebration of National Manufacturing Day on October 7, 2022, the Moore County Chamber of Commerce, Moore County Partners in Progress, and Sandhills Community College partnered to host a Manufacturer Appreciation Luncheon and manufacturing facility tour. National Manufacturing Day, an annual event that occurs the first Friday of every October, is an occasion for manufacturers to open their doors, showcase the potential of modern manufacturing, and foster interest in manufacturing careers.

Over 30 representatives from Moore County manufacturers, local elected officials, and community partners participated in the October 7th event. At the luncheon, host organizations shared information about the resources available to support the local manufacturing industry and participants networked with fellow colleagues. Manufacturers also highlighted some of their company’s accomplishments.

Following the luncheon, elected officials, community partners, and other dignitaries took a tour of Meridian Kiosks’ headquarters and production facility on their 13-acre campus in Aberdeen. Founded in 1999 by CEO Chris Gilder, Meridian is a pioneer in the automated self-service industry. A fully integrated advanced manufacturer, the company builds custom interactive kiosks, smart locker systems, digital EV charging stations, and other self-service solutions. Their impressive customer list includes Panasonic, Hewlitt Packard, Samsung, and Walmart.  

“We held the luncheon and tour to show appreciation for our manufacturers and raise awareness in the community that today’s manufacturing industry has advanced beyond traditional manufacturing. We see many of our manufacturers using innovative technologies to enhance their products and improve the efficiency & effectiveness of their processes. That’s a story we need to tell,” said Linda Parsons, CEO & President of the Moore County Chamber of Commerce.

At the luncheon, Dr. Jared Little, Director of Advanced Manufacturing and Customized Training at Sandhills Community College shared the services the local community college can provide to support workforce development efforts. “Advanced manufacturing can provide rewarding careers for skilled workers in a high-tech, dynamic work environment. Sandhills Community College can partner to provide employees with the skills and training they need to help our manufacturers succeed,” said Dr. Little.

Moore County is home to nearly 80 manufacturing companies that employ over 1,800 workers with total wages exceeding $23 million, making manufacturing Moore County’s 5th largest private industry sector. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for this sector is over $191 million, or 5.1% of Moore County’s total GDP.

Natalie Hawkins, Executive Director of Moore County Partners in Progress, said, “Our manufacturing industry is strong and growing in Moore County. We’ve seen a nearly 10% increase in the number of manufacturing jobs in the last year and we respond to requests almost weekly from new manufacturing companies wanting to locate here.”

A recent survey of Moore County employers indicated that within the next 12 months, 92% of manufacturers expect a growth in sales or revenues, more than 1/2 expect to expand their workforce, and 1/3 expect to expand their facilities. “Partners in Progress, along with other partner organizations are here to support these expansion efforts. We encourage all our manufacturers to take advantage of the resources we and others can provide,” said Hawkins.

The Moore County Chamber of Commerce, Partners in Progress, and Sandhills Community College will celebrate manufacturers throughout the entire month of October through the Made in Moore social media campaign. This campaign will highlight some of the unique and innovative products made right here in Moore County.

NC Governor Roy Cooper declared October 2-8 as North Carolina Manufacturing Week. With the 5th largest manufacturing economy in the United States and the largest manufacturing workforce in the Southeast, North Carolina’s manufacturers make a significant contribution to our state’s economy.

“We are so thankful for Moore County’s manufacturers and the jobs they provide Moore County citizens. Our community partners look forward to working with and supporting them so they can meet their customer needs for quality products,” said Linda Parsons.