MARIETTA — A California-based manufacturer of prototypes and end-production parts expects to bring 250 jobs to Cobb County over the course of three years, starting with the opening of its new facility on Kennestone Circle near the intersection of Bells Ferry Road and Cobb Parkway next month.
Plethora, a tech-based manufacturer of custom parts including brackets for airplanes, parts for 3D printers and pieces of surgical robots, among other items, announced Wednesday it would open a 57,000-square-foot production facility.
The company’s new location in Cobb County will expand its production capabilities from its sole San Francisco facility, according to CEO and president Jim Quinn.
The company is leasing the space from property manager Avison Young.
“We’re excited to tap into the talented workforce in the greater Atlanta region and to dedicate additional resources to our customers from coast to coast,” Quinn said. “We’re always listening to and learning from our customers, and our second site will help us expand our already exceptional customer service.”
Quinn said the company’s new location, near major transportation hubs in Atlanta, will provide new opportunities to manufacture parts on the East Coast, “where it makes the most sense for our customers’ needs.”
The new facility will house about 30 mills, lathes and other machines by the end of the year, according to Ben Fahlgren, Plethora’s people operations manager. The space has enough room for 70 machines, he said.
The company has begun taking minimal orders and loading its machines into one of its two vast industrial suites. Fahlgren said he is also looking to hire various employees, from shipping and receiving to shop managers, starting with more senior positions.
Plethora plans to move its headquarters to Cobb and revert its San Francisco location to a secondary shop within its first three years here, Fahlgren said.
Fahlgren said when all capital improvements and renovations are done and equipment purchases are made, the total investment in Cobb County will reach about $17 million.
“We’re ramping up production throughout the month of June,” Fahlgren said, adding he expects the company to hire 25 employees by the end of next month and 248 within three years.
Fahlgren said the decision to move to Georgia and to Cobb County was largely because of how easy it was to collaborate with state and county officials, as well as technical schools and universities in the area to develop a workforce pipeline to the company.
“When we thought about places to go, it was about real estate prices and labor costs and, more importantly, labor availability. Right now, in the Bay area, everyone wants to work on software. Coming here, everyone is interested and engaged with hardware stuff,” he said. “You can’t aspire to be what you don’t see in high school, and they even do it in high school here.”
The state and county have developed school-to-workforce pipelines that make it simple to bring technical and manufacturing jobs to the area, Fahlgren said.
He said when the company outgrows the new space in Marietta in three years “or hopefully sooner,” it may expand to or build more facilities in the county.
Plethora opened in San Francisco in 2012 and quickly outgrew its single facility, according to Christina Campbell, a spokesperson for the company.
Dana Johnson, executive vice president of economic development for the Cobb Chamber and executive director of SelectCobb, said the company will bring high-demand, advanced manufacturing jobs to the Cobb workforce.
“In addition to jobs, Plethora brings a spirit of innovation and a vision to empower inventors and engineers, and that’s a major win for Georgia,” Johnson said.
Johnson said the company did not ask for any tax abatements or other incentives to move to the county. However, Fahlgren said the state provided the company a Regional Economic Business Assistance grant, which helped to accelerate hiring. He said Quickstart, a technical training program, also worked with Plethora to “build up tech labor” to provide workers who are trained specifically in what the manufacturers need.
Fahlgren declined to disclose the dollar amount of the REBA grant.
Gov. Brian Kemp said Georgia’s “pro-business climate, abundant and advanced workforce, global accessibility, and access to world-class colleges and universities,” are only part of the reason companies like Plethora choose the state.
“Over the past 10 years, Georgia’s manufacturing GDP growth has outpaced the national rate, and with announcements like this one, we don’t see any signs of it slowing down,” he said.