In 2014, German automotive supplier Borgers AG began searching for a location to build its second North American manufacturing facility. Werner Borgers, company CEO and a fifth-generation member of its founding family, had just started thinking about the search when representatives from JobsOhio came to his company’s headquarters in Bocholt, Germany.
“Amazingly, they showed up in my office before we had even started the selection process,” Borgers said. “There must have been something in the air.”
Borgers USA Corp., a division of the parent company, had some tall orders: As a company that produces NVH (noise, vibration and harness) materials such as trim, carpet and insulation for commercial and passenger vehicles, Borgers USA had to find a community with workers who had the skills to keep pace with the demanding production process for its customers. They also needed employees who could come to the job highly trained with experience working on complex machinery.
It Comes Down to Community
Once Borgers USA narrowed its choices to two communities, the final decision came down to which one could meet its aggressive timing requirements. In the end, the city of Norwalk, Ohio, offered everything that Borgers USA needed. From the workforce, to a site that was ready to build on in a very short timeline, Ohio had the right elements for Borgers USA to be able to put Norwalk on the top of its list.
“It was the whole community that was the real difference,” said Borgers when the announcement was made. “Norwalk is a great location regarding logistics as it relates to our Midwest customers, and the labor force is exceptional and highly motivated. In addition, we feel that there is a great emotional fit between the people in Norwalk and the values and characteristics of our family business.”
Borgers USA invested $60 million in the Norwalk facility, which began operations in 2015.
Norwalk Becomes the Paradigm
“We knew when we came to Norwalk, there was a workforce that had the manufacturing experience related to our product,” said Jochen Harmeling, president and CEO of Borgers USA. “Nearly 60% of our employees live within a five mile radius of our facility. The Norwalk community has supported us in many ways especially when it comes to our workforce, and we have surely contributed significantly to strengthen and grow local businesses in the area.”
In 2016, Borgers USA doubled its footprint in Norwalk based on increasing customer demand and successful initial execution. That ongoing success compelled Borgers USA to move the majority of its North American operations to Norwalk beginning in 2018. Since then, Borgers USA’s Ohio location largely contributed to the company’s thriving business. Borgers USA has significantly increased its number of employees and retained the confidence of its customers who are highly satisfied with the performance of the plant.
Borgers USA’s Norwalk location continues to be a reference for the company’s other facilities worldwide, and the company credits JobsOhio and the Norwalk Economic Development Corporation for stepping up to ensure the success of the company’s growth.