REGIONALREPORT WesternSame song, different keys
President Barack Obama stopped by Linamar Corp.’s Arden factory in February to stump for the goals set forth in his State of the Union address. He used its story — Volvo Construction Equipment North America LLC abandoned the plant in 2010, laying off 228 workers, but Linamar bought it only a year later and restarted production in 2012 — as an example of how government investment can revive manufacturing. The president pointed out that such a comeback in Asheville seemed unlikely when Volvo departed. “Then local officials started reaching out to companies, offering new incentives to take over this plant.” Canada-based Linamar, which makes auto parts, has already announced capital and job expansions at the 405,108-square-foot factory for which it received another round of incentives. But local and state officials had lined up expansion incentives for Volvo in 2006, and that didn’t keep the Swedish company in Arden.
“Thank goodness we’ve got something to laugh about for a change."
— State Sen. Stan Bingham on the Opossum Right-to-Work Act. The Republican from Davidson County is co-sponsoring the bill, which would give the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission the ability to license the capturing of wild animals for exhibition. In November, an administrative-law judge ruled a Brasstown business owner couldn’t lower a live possum as part of his New Year’s Eve celebration because his license permitted only killing — not capturing — wild animals.
NORTH WILKESBORO — JELD-WEN will open a plant to make composite door skins, creating 49 jobs and investing $4.8 million. The Klamath Falls, Ore.-based door- and window-maker had a factory here but closed it in 2012, laying off 54 workers.
MORGANTON — Foothills Regional Airport named Brent Brinkley manager. He became interim manager in September after Alex Nelson, its former leader, pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to commit fraud, embezzlement and money laundering from the airport.
ASHEVILLE — Biltmore Farms Chief Financial Officer Paul Szurek will serve a two-year term on the board of directors of the Charlotte branch of the Fifth Federal Reserve District Office, which is based in Richmond, Va.
ASHEVILLE — Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy purchased a 95-acre tract of Lost Cove, a ghost town on the Nolichucky River near the North Carolina-Tennessee border, for $195,000. The trust wants the land
to eventually become part of Pisgah National Forest.
BOONE — Appalachian State University signed an agreement with Chonnam National University in South Korea that will create student and faculty exchanges between the schools. The arrangement is intended to support ASU’s global-studies program.