Gov. Nikki Haley toured Morgan Olson’s new manufacturing plant in North Charleston today. The van outfitter said it located to the Palmetto State to be near the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans assembly plant. (Photo/Andy Owens)
By Andy Owens
Published Feb. 13, 2013
The company announced in August it was coming to the Palmetto Commerce Park to be near the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans assembly plant, bringing a $1 million investment and about 120 jobs.
Morgan Olson outfits and customizes step-in vans for companies such as FedEx. (Photo/Andy Owens)
“That’s what’s exciting in South Carolina, and the companies that we have here keep expanding,” Haley said before a group of government and company officials and many of the company’s local employees.
Haley told Morgan Olson President and COO Mike Ownbey that he would look back on this day a year from now as one of the best moves the company has made. She made the promise she often does for company’s bringing jobs to South Carolina that she would work to solve any problems the company had, including fighting to keep out unions.
“Whatever you need, I work for you. My job is to make sure this partnership is successful,” she said. “My job is to make sure that everyone here who works for this company does well because South Carolina is in the business of taking care of our own.”
The president and CEO of Morgan Olson’s parent company, J.B. Poindexter & Co. Inc., said the opening was part of an “industrial renaissance” sweeping across North America. Morgan Olson is one of six divisions the company owns, and Poindexter said van products were seeing a resurgence after slowing down during the recession.
Mercedes-Benz USA Commercial Vans General Manager Claus Tritt said the company doubled sales in 2011 from the previous year, and sales were up 26% in 2012.
Tritt said Charleston was home for the company’s preferred outfitter program, which allows Mercedes to invest in domicile partners that provide information, technology and special options for Sprinter van customers. He also noted the Mercedes plant is supplying vans throughout the U.S. and relies on the Port of Charleston for bringing in chassis.
“South Carolina here is the heart of our operation,” Tritt said. “I think this is great progress, and the market is actually recognizing it.”
Reach Andy Owens at 843-849-3142.