Note: This page is part of the Governor's News Archive, which holds press releases from January 2009 through September 2011. Since October 2011, recent news can be found in the Newsroom and archived news is available at news.delaware.gov.
May 6, 2011
Johnson Controls Breaks Ground on New Automotive Battery Distribution Center in Delaware
MIDDLETOWN – Johnson Controls, Inc., the world’s largest supplier of automotive batteries, today broke ground on a new 400,000 square-foot distribution center in Middletown, Del. The company is investing more than $75 million in the facility, which will perform the charging, packaging and distribution of automotive batteries for the Northeast region of the United States.
The groundbreaking was attended by Governor Jack Markell, U.S. Senator Tom Carper, U.S Senator Chris Coons, Delaware Economic Development Office Secretary Alan Levin, Middletown Mayor Kenneth Branner and Johnson Controls Vice President and General Manager for the U.S. and Canada Kevin Pasqua and Middletown Plant Manager Rick Thompson. Several other company leaders and state officials joined the celebration.
“Johnson Controls could have relocated elsewhere but decided to stay in Middletown and expand in Delaware,” said Governor Jack Markell. “It’s great to see a business here succeed and be confident that expanding its work will lead to even greater success. This project puts Delawareans to work producing and distributing products for the region. As Johnson Controls moves forward with its expansion, Delaware’s job market moves forward as well.”
The building, located in the Westown Business Park at 50 Patriot Drive, is set for completion in August. It will have a capacity of 8.5 million units per year with the capability of expanding to 14 million units. It will employ up to 225 employees at full capacity and the company will begin transitioning production to the facility throughout September and October.
“It is my pleasure to celebrate the history and future of Johnson Controls in Delaware,” said Secretary Levin. “I am proud that companies like Johnson Controls continue to recognize the value of our uniquely friendly business environment, strategic location and talented workforce. I would like to thank the leaders of Johnson Controls for choosing to expand in the First State.”
Currently, Johnson Controls manufactures the complete battery at its existing Middletown facility. With the new distribution center the process will be divided between the two plants. The battery core will be manufactured at the company’s existing plant, and then sent to the new distribution center as a dry battery. At the distribution center, the batteries will be filled with electrolyte, charged, tested and packaged for shipping.
“This new distribution center is critical in keeping our commitment to our customers to provide the best product availability, outstanding service and quality,” said Kevin Pasqua, vice president and general manager of the U.S. and Canada for Johnson Controls Power Solutions. “By building our new distribution center here in Middletown, we’re not only keeping existing jobs in the area, we are also adding new jobs and allowing for future growth and expansion.”
State and local officials have been instrumental in Johnson Controls’ decision to build this Distribution Center in Middletown. In February, DEDO awarded the company $2.06 million from the Delaware Strategic Fund to assist with construction of the facility and to purchase new equipment. An additional $384,968 performance-based grant was awarded for jobs created and retained in Delaware.
In addition to its automotive battery operations, Johnson Controls’ Building Efficiency Business, which is the global leader in delivering products, services and solutions that increase energy efficiency in buildings, has been servicing the region for more than 50 years out of Salisbury, Md., and Malvern Pa.
“Johnson Controls is enhancing our ability to support the distribution needs of our existing customers in the Northeast,” said Rick Thompson, Middletown plant manager. “We’re also implementing state-of-the-art technology in the new facility by using our proprietary water bath formation. This process is up to 3 percent more energy efficient than cooled formation. It supports our company’s commitment to sustainability, continuous innovation and industry leadership.”
U.S. Senator Tom Carper: "Johnson Controls is a shining example of how great things can happen when government and the business community work together. I am thrilled that this new facility will bring over 60 new jobs to Middletown during a time when we really needed them."
U.S. Representative John Carney: “My congratulations go to everyone who worked to make this project a reality. The partnership between Johnson Controls, DEDO, and the town of Middletown shows just how important it is that government creates an environment where businesses can grow. We need to make things in America again. My job in Congress is to help Delaware and the U.S. expand manufacturing opportunities that will create jobs and allow us to compete in the global economy. Johnson Controls has long been a leading manufacturer of automotive batteries, and I’m confident that their continued success will result in more jobs for Delawareans and a stronger state economy.”
About the Delaware Economic Development Office
About Johnson Controls
About Johnson Controls Power Solutions
Nikki Lavoie, Delaware Economic Development Office
Rebecca Fitzgerald, Johnson Controls, Inc.