Rowan company creating 170 jobs with $21 million expansion

Amrep Manufacturing, which makes garbage-truck bodies, announced it will more than triple its production with a more than $21 million investment that will create about 170 new jobs at its Salisbury location where it started producing products in 2018.

Based in the southern California city of Ontario, Amrep opened its second overall manufacturing site here with an investment of about $7 million, says company President Eric Mattson. Amrep is a subsidiary of Charlotte-based Wastequip, which manufactures a variety of waste-handling equipment.

Wastequip is involved in waste hauling, collecting, storing, and transportation and has approximately 3,000 employees at its manufacturing sites in 48 states and Mexico compared to Amrep’s total of about 400 employees, with just two manufacturing sites.

Amrep came to North Carolina to expand its sales on the East Coast, where it had no customers a decade ago. “If you’re going all the way to Miami or all the way to New York, it’s almost in the middle,” Mattson says of the location.

But North Carolina – and Rowan County – also proved itself business friendly. “The environment here is just conducive for a business to come here or expand here,” Mattson says.

Amrep now employs about 50 workers at its Salisbury site, where they are scheduled to produce in 2024 about 150 roll-off type containers used at construction sites and 150 packer bodies used for business and residential collections. The first side-loaders will roll off the production line in the next month. 

Within five years, Mattson says he expects the Rowan County facility to be producing about 850 total – including the roll-off containers and the front-end, rear-end and side-loaders.

The trash collection containers cost about $350,000 each, including the chassis, which come from a number of different manufacturers including Mack and Freightliner, Mattson says.

Amrep’s biggest customer is the city of Los Angeles, which purchases between 120 and 170 garbage trucks per year for business and residential waste collections, says Mattson. Amrep sells its products to collection companies, like Houston-based Waste Management, other companies and municipalities.

He says he expects a new 82,000-square-foot manufacturing facility located on 17 acres adjacent to its current site to be completed in the next 12 months. He says it will take the company about three years to go from 50 employees on site to more than 200.

Charlotte-based Myers Chapman Construction will be the general contractor, and Charlotte-based WGM Design will be the architect.

Positions at the Salisbury facility will include fabricators, mounters, painters, supervisors, welders, and other support positions. Salaries will vary by position, although the average annual wage is $57,490, which exceeds Rowan County’s average of $52,101.

These new jobs could create a potential payroll impact of more than $9.7 million for the region each year.

Amrep’s expansion in North Carolina will be facilitated, in part, by a $1.6 million Job Development Investment Grant. Over the course of the 12-year term of this grant, the project is estimated to grow the state’s economy by $335.2 million. State payments only occur following performance verification by the departments of Commerce and Revenue that the company has met its incremental job creation and investment targets.

The project’s expected return on investment of public dollars is 51%, meaning for every dollar of potential cost to the state, the state receives $1.51 in state revenue.

Amrep’s JDIG agreement could also move as much as $179,400 into a fund that helps rural communities across the state attract business in the future.

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