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State stacks package to keep on trucking

Mack Trucks Inc. could get $8.5 million in state incentives for moving its headquarters from Allentown, Pa., to Greensboro. That’s if the truck maker creates at least 493 jobs in three years — and keeps them. And if Volvo Trucks North America Inc. keeps the 1,454 jobs it has. Both are owned by Sweden’s Volvo Group. One reason Mack is moving is to combine some operations — including information technology, parts logistics, product development and purchasing — with Volvo Trucks. So it makes sense that the state would safeguard itself against gaining jobs in one division while losing them in another.

It nearly got a taste of that earlier this year when Lake Forest, Ill.-based Brunswick Corp. stood to collect about $4.4 million in state incentives for opening a plant in Navassa while its Hatteras Yachts subsidiary closed one in Swansboro. Commerce Department spokeswoman Deborah Barnes said at the time that Brunswick could still collect because keeping the Hatteras jobs wasn’t part of the original agreement. Brunswick has since cut jobs at Navassa and may not hit employment targets.

So does the agreement with Mack reflect a change in state policy? No, Barnes says. “Because the two [truck manufacturers] were so intertwined, that’s why Volvo was included. The whole reason Mack is moving is because Volvo is here. It doesn’t make sense to give a grant for consolidation of office functions and then allow the companies to cut employment.”

Earlier this year, she says, Commerce put similar safeguards in an incentive deal that could be worth $25.7 million for an expansion of the GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy Americas campus in Wilmington. In that one, GE Hitachi Energy has to hire 900 employees, bringing employment to about 3,150, while GE Aviation has to retain about 700 employees at its Wilmington operation. The requirements for affiliated companies in general have come when operations were in the same city. “We gave Brunswick incentives to move here to build specific lines of boats. Hatteras wasn’t part of that.”

GREENSBORO — Four food-service executives purchased restaurant-food supplier Southern Foods. Terms were not disclosed. The ownership group, which includes top executives of Norcross, Ga.-based Service Foods, says it will maintain Southern’s headquarters here and could add 400 employees, for a total of 615, within four years.

GREENSBORO — New York-based ELSAG North America Law Enforcement Systems is adding manufacturing to its 20-employee research center. The move could bring 100 jobs within a year. ELSAG makes a license-plate recognition system used by law-enforcement agencies.

GREENSBOROGraphic Packaging International plans to close its factory here by the end of the year and lay off 98 workers. The Marietta, Ga.-based company is closing several other plants to cut costs after acquiring Elk Grove Village, Ill.-based Altivity Packaging earlier this year.

ASHEBORO — City and Randolph County officials offered Kennametal $370,000 to keep its factory open and expand. The plant employs 170 and could add 70 more jobs. The Latrobe, Pa.-based tool and equipment maker had not decided by early September.

RAMSEUR — The N.C. Rural Economic Development Center will invest $350,000 in Brisco Apparel, which makes T-shirts and other garments. The company will add 33 jobs by early 2010, which will give it nearly 120 in North Carolina.

WINSTON-SALEMHanesbrands cut 15 information-technology jobs at its headquarters. The apparel maker also plans to close two distribution centers and lay off 155 in Pennsylvania early next year in a consolidation of domestic operations. It employs about 3,400 in Forsyth County.

WINSTON-SALEM Mobys Coffee moved its headquarters from Mount Airy, kicking off a wave of expansion for the coffeehouse chain. It employs about 100 and plans to grow from five shops to 25 in five years.

WINSTON-SALEM Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center hired John D. McConnell, 54, as its first CEO. The position grew out of a March 2007 restructuring that put the medical center under a single board. It employs about 11,000. McConnell has been executive vice president of health-system affairs at the University of Texas Southwestern since 2003.

WINSTON-SALEM Novant Health refinanced $198 million in debt, sav- ing the company about $17 million.

BURLINGTON Blue Water Automotive, which operates the Injectronics plant here, entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The Marysville, Mich.-based maker of automobile parts is trying to find a buyer for the factory, which employs about 120.

GREENSBORO — Glenn Waters quit as chief operating officer of Moses Cone Health System to become president of Morton Plant Mease Health Care in Clearwater, Fla. Waters had been at Cone six years. No replacement had been named.

LEXINGTON — Canton, Ohio-based Diebold plans to shift production of security equipment from Newark, Ohio, by the first quarter of 2009. But it also will move production of automated-teller machines from here to China and Hungary, and some other local jobs will move to a distribution center in Greensboro. The company employs about 255 in the Triad and expects no net change.

WINSTON-SALEMWake Forest University will begin offering a master’s degree in bioethics next year. The degree program will cover issues such as human cloning, euthanasia, genetic testing for deadly diseases and living wills.

WINSTON-SALEMReynolds American will cut 570 jobs, most by the end of the year, after a self-analysis completed in September. The cuts will leave the company more than 3,100 employees in Forsyth County.

JAMESTOWNGuilford Technical Community College will use a $243,958 grant from Charlotte-based Duke Energy to establish a training program in fall 2009 for avionics technicians at Piedmont Triad International Airport near Greensboro.