For Immediate Release:
Gov. Bev Perdue today announced that Fountain Powerboat Industries Inc., a designer and manufacturer of offshore sport boats, sport fishing boats, and cruisers, will expand its current facility in Beaufort County. The company plans to create 411 jobs and invest $5.1 million over the next five years in Washington. The project was made possible in part by a $150,000 grant from the One North Carolina Fund.
"While companies around the globe are wisely choosing to open up shop in North Carolina, Fountain Powerboats is already one of our valued corporate neighbors," Perdue said. "Their expansion, and the many jobs that come with it, demonstrate that Fountain has long known what many other companies are concluding: that North Carolina has well earned our national acclaim for a top-ranked business climate."
Fountain Powerboat Industries (FPBI) has its executive office and manufacturing facilities on a 65-acre campus along the Pamlico River in Beaufort County. FPBI has been in business since 1979 and in 2008 added an entirely separate product line, Baja Boats. FPBI currently employs 75 full-time employees in North Carolina. Fountain is privately owned by Liberty Associates, LC. Liberty Associates is also the Parent Company of Donzi Marine, LLC and Pro-Line Boats, LLC. Both of these Florida-based boat lines will move to the Washington, NC location.
Salaries for jobs created by this incentive package will vary by job function, but the average annual wage for the new jobs will be $35,657, not including benefits. That's higher than Beaufort County's average annual wage of $29,952.
Liberty Associates CEO Bill Gates recently appointed John E. Walker, III to the position of Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Liberty Associates to head up the task of combining manufacturing of its boat brands.
"We are absolutely thrilled to be moving our manufacturing operation of Donzi and Proline from the State of Florida to Washington, North Carolina," said Mr. Walker, who also serves as President of Pro-Line and Donzi as well as Chief Operating Officer of Fountain Powerboats, Inc. "All of our dealings with the State of North Carolina and Beaufort County have been outstanding. The skill level at the workplace, along with the state-of-the-art facility at Fountain Powerboats, is a great fit with our world class brands that will be built in Beaufort County."
The One NC Fund provides financial assistance, through local governments, to attract business projects that will stimulate economic activity and create new jobs in the state. Companies receive no money up front and must meet job creation and investment performance standards to qualify for grant funds.
These grants also require and are contingent upon local matches. The local match would have to amount to at least $150,000. In addition the company will receive community college training assistance for employees estimated at more than $400,000, and based on the company's planned investments and job creation could be eligible for several tax exemptions and credits.
"I am pleased that Fountain Powerboat is expanding and bringing jobs to our region," said Sen. Marc Basnight, who represents Beaufort County. "Anytime we're putting people to work, it is a success. We must keep investing in education, worker training, and transportation in order to help businesses grow."
"Today's announcement is wonderful news in a county that, like many others, has been hit hard by the recession," said Rep. Arthur Williams, of Washington. "Fountain Powerboat's expansion also is a tangible example of why North Carolina ranked second in job growth over the past year.
North Carolina continues to have a top-ranked business climate. Through Gov. Perdue's JobsNOW initiative, the state works aggressively to create jobs, train and retrain its workforce, and lay the foundation for a strong and sustainable economic future.
Through use of the One NC Fund, more than 45,000 jobs and $8 billion in investment have been created since 2001. Other partners that helped with this project include: the N.C. Department of Commerce, N.C. Community Colleges, Beaufort County, and the Beaufort County Committee of 100.
For more information about Fountain Powerboats, including job opportunities, go to www.fountainpowerboats.com