The chairman and chief executive officer of NCR Corp. said Monday the company will reach its pledged goal of employing more than 800 in Columbus, and could go even higher as business ramps up.
“We will be there by the end of 2014,” Bill Nuti said of the local NCR workforce after visits to the Duluth, Ga.-based firm’s plants in Columbus.
There are now 650 on the company’s payroll in Columbus, with 550 of those working at a 340,000-square-foot plant in Corporate Ridge Business Park and 100 more at a 100,000-square-foot facility in Muscogee Technology Park.
The manufacturer of automated teller machines, self-service checkout equipment and point-of-sale systems also is setting up shop in 150,000 square feet of warehouse space in the technology park. That space will be operational April 16, but will not increase the local job count, said Don Naciuk, director of operations in Columbus.
“We’re going to use that warehouse to help support our material flow into the two facilities,” he said. “That was always part of our strategy.”
The larger NCR plant opened inside a retrofitted Mutec battery plant in late 2009, only months after the company unveiled plans to relocate its longtime global headquarters from Dayton, Ohio, to Georgia. The firm pledged to create 3,000 jobs in the state by 2013. As part of the mega-deal, Columbus snagged ATM production, with NCR committing to employ 870 workers here within the same time frame.
The smaller NCR building opened a year ago in a former Cessna Aircraft plant. It was outside that facility Monday, following a brief press conference, that Nuti praised Columbus for its cooperation during the search for plant sites, calling the area a “natural fit” for the firm.
“We are growing in terms of jobs, and we are growing in terms of relevance,” Nuti said. “We feel good about the commitments we’ve made. We’re almost there, frankly, in terms of numbers. But we hope to exceed those targets ... These two facilities are world class facilities. Columbus really came through with regard to the commitments that they made and quality of infrastructure and access to talent.”
Nuti cautioned that employment can not only rise, but fall at times, depending on demand for the high-tech NCR equipment that is used by banks, restaurants and retailers such as Walmart and Home Depot.
“We intend to be a net grower of jobs in Columbus over time,” he said.
Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson commented on her satisfaction at seeing buildings vacated by former employers being turned into an asset for another major company like NCR. The Columbus facilities are its only manufacturing plants in the United States.
“It’s been a great partnership,” she said. “When it was announced some four years ago, they were talking about up to 800 jobs, and here we are well north of 600 jobs. Those are lives, families, kids going to college, homes and cars being purchased. That’s affecting our economy here in Columbus.”
Mike Gaymon, president and CEO of the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce, concurred, pointing out to Nuti that “we’ve got more land, more buildings. We’re ready.”
On the financial front, NCR posted a profit of $146 million on total revenue of $5.7 billion in 2012. The company employs more than 25,000 worldwide.