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German-headquartered Festo finds a perfect fit in Ohio

Tue Dec 07 2021

Headquartered in Esslingen-Berkheim, Germany, Festo is a leading global manufacturer of pneumatic and electromechanical systems, components and controls for process control and factory automation solutions. With more than 55 national headquarters serving more than 180 countries, over 40 years of innovation in the United States, and over 80 years globally, Festo has continuously elevated the state of manufacturing with innovations and optimized motion control solutions that deliver higher performing, more profitable automated manufacturing and processing equipment.

Festo Didactic is their world-leading equipment and solution provider for technical education. Global operations include a state-of-the-art Regional Service Center and Festo Didactic Learning Center in Mason, Ohio. Festo’s partnership with JobsOhio, along with the continued growth the company enjoyed in the state, was an ideal convergence of company needs and Ohio advantages.

A Home in Mason, Ohio

Festo first announced its move to Mason in 2013 with a $50 million, 150,000 square-foot facility that opened in 2015 along the I-71 Innovation Corridor. Festo’s leadership team credits the strong foundation established with city, regional, and state officials as the impetus to locate and expand here. The regional ecosystem also provides an abundance of opportunities in terms of talent, connectivity, and innovation in Industry 4.0/Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

Expansion and Relocation

After experiencing continued success in Mason, Ohio, Festo saw an opportunity to bring their engineering, manufacturing, and logistics operations under the same roof as their core automation business. They also decided to find a new home for the Festo Didactic headquarters, making the decision to bring the East Coast-based operation to Ohio.

Ohio Solves Both Problems

For many of the original reasons that Ohio was attractive to Festo when they announced their move to Mason in 2013, Festo made the decision to expand that same facility to accommodate their growth. Citing the physical location of the state bringing them closer to their customers, the proximity to world-class freight operations, and the support from the multitude of government and community representatives like JobsOhio that helped in their selection process, Festo found the best place to grow was in Mason with a $90 million investment towards its future.

JobsOhio, REDI Cincinnati, and the City of Mason collaborated to create an attractive incentive package for Festo to expand their facilities in Mason. Festo also found their partnership with JobsOhio to not only be advantageous for relocation, but for talent services as well. Festo Didactic’s Director of Operations, Sean O’Grady, explains, “In addition to the hundreds of local residents who have joined our team in Mason, our success is also driven by the broad and deep support that we continue to enjoy from representatives of government and community organizations across the state, such as JobsOhio.”

Festo Didactic found that Ohio was the perfect place to develop their Mechatronics Apprenticeship Program (MAP2). Based on the European model of training and upskilling workers, the MAP2 program aims to address the workforce skills gap in advanced manufacturing. Bringing this program to Ohio demonstrates Festo’s strong belief in the state’s workforce. JobsOhio jumped in to support Festo Didactic’s vision by connecting them to workforce boards, local colleges, and chambers of commerce. In making the program more visible to the community, it made it easier for Festo Didactic to build relationships with sponsor companies.

While a multitude of factors were considered in where to expand their facility and where to relocate Festo Didactic’s headquarters, O’Grady explains that “at the end of the day, it came down to a single question to the selection committee from the owners of the company: ‘Which of the potential locations is going to be the best place for our employees and their families to live?’ We know we’ve found it in Ohio.”

“The success of any business that serves a modern, technologically innovative market like Festo's is always driven by the people who comprise the team. The people of Ohio have been key to our success since moving to the state.”
Sean O’Grady
  1. Advanced Manufacturing
  2. Germany
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