The presence of major multinational companies such as Bombardier, Nova Bus and Georgia-Pacific also helps. Investment in existing subsidiaries accounted for 82 percent of all foreign direct investment in 2008, Beauchamp said.
“When you have these foreign multinationals in your backyard, you have to take care of them,” he said.
The growth of Schluter Systems in the Town of Plattsburgh is a good example, Beauchamp said.
Based in Germany, the company expanded its Canadian presence to Plattsburgh in 1986. It had 12 employees here in 1990 and was up to 139 employees by 2010.
Schluter is presently seeking approval for a 73,343-square-foot expansion and now has 185 employees in Plattsburgh and 35 who travel North America to promote their products.
During a panel discussion following the presentation, Schluter Systems Chief Financial Officer Ed Martin said the company’s rapid success in Germany led to exploration of the North American market with offices in Montreal.
Plattsburgh came next because of its proximity to Montreal and the availability of enough property for future expansions.
Asked about workforce issues that face the region, North Country Chamber of Commerce Vice President for Economic Development Susan Matton said they are two-fold.
The first is to ensure the educational institutions continue to provide enough workers for companies when they first arrive. The second is to provide training opportunities to allow those workers to grow with the company.
Martin said acquiring skilled workers hasn’t been a problem, even with 60-70 jobs in administration.
“Over 15 years, I don’t think we’ve had to hire one employee outside of Clinton County,” he said.
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