Intel’s $20B investment good for all of Ohio, business leaders say

‘If Ohio wasn’t on your radar as a high-tech player, it certainly is now,’ Chamber CEO says

With what is being called Ohio’s biggest private sector investment planned only 90 minutes from Dayton and about an hour from Springfield, area business leaders welcomed the news Friday of Intel Corp.’s plans to invest $20 billion in dual New Albany-area semiconductor production sites.

“The first reaction is, ‘Hurray for Ohio,’” said Angelia Erbaugh, president of the Dayton Region Manufacturing Association.

“This is the deal of the century,” said Chris Kershner, president and chief executive of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce. “If Ohio wasn’t on your radar as a high-tech player, it certainly is now.”

Erbaugh thinks that with a project this size, it is conceivable that there will be considerable supplier opportunities for companies in the Dayton and Springfield areas.

Companies like Quality Quartz Engineering, which moved its headquarters to Dayton from California last year. QQE describes itself as one of the largest companies in the United States that specializes in the manufacturing and fabrication of high purity quartz products for the semiconductor industry.

“We are extremely excited to see Intel commit to the state of Ohio,” Ryan Kelly, president and CEO of QQE , said in an email. “We see significant growth for the semiconductor industry over the next decade and love that our home state is embracing this growth. QQE looks forward to supporting Intel and the fast growing semiconductor industry in the future.”

Erbaugh said Friday just a few hours after Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine confirmed that Intel intends to invest into dual semiconductor production facilities that are expected to employ about 3,000 people that it would impact Dayton-area manufacturers.

“So much of our manufacturing in the Dayton region is what we call contract manufacturing,” she said.

Many of these DRMA-member companies have a variety of capabilities, already supplying companies like Intel and others across the nation and across the globe, she said.

Having a company of that size so close by may create similar opportunities, Erbaugh said.

“Our manufacturers are already competing statewide, countrywide and most of them, globally,” she said.

Ohio government counts more than 140 Ohio businesses as Intel suppliers, and the project is expected to bring additional new businesses to Ohio to support the supply chain.

The opportunity for that roster of Ohio suppliers to grow is unmistakable, said Jeff Hoagland, president and chief executive for the Dayton Development Coalition.

“This is a generational opportunity that we have in Ohio,” Hoagland said.

“It’s great for Columbus,” he added. “But it’s also great for Ohio.”

Water, geography, colleges, workforce and other assets brought Intel to the state, Hoagland and other development leaders said.

Beth Graves, owner and president of Prime Controls Inc., hailed Friday’s news. Her company’s products use PC boards that require computer chips, and these days she is being told by suppliers that chips have a “52-week lead time” — which is another way for suppliers to say they simply don’t know when chips will be available, she said.

Prime Controls is a second-generation, family-owned business that designs and makes computer-powered inspection equipment for the can-making industry, as well as the auto industry and customers elsewhere. The company has 16 workers in Kettering and ships its products to 50 countries.

“We could not be more thrilled,” Graves said. “We’re not the only ones who have been experiencing the challenges this year with the supply chain.”

Ken Baker, vice president of Wurth Electronics in Miamisburg, agreed that a 52-week lead time is a massive problem for those who rely on semiconductors, like his company, which produces electronics for vehicles.

“From a logistics standpoint, it’s really exciting for us to have something back in the U.S.,” Baker said.

Kershner said this is a prime example of a company seeking to solve a problem — the dire need for new semiconductor production — and choosing to solve that problem in the Buckeye State.

“There is going to be significant for Dayton suppliers and partners,” Kershner said. “Dayton already has a highly technical and advanced manufacturing workforce that will realize significant opportunities from this investment.”

Erbaugh said as well that a project of this sort may boost the perception of Ohio in the realm of manufacturing and improve the perception of manufacturing itself. Workers employed directly by Intel will earn an average of $135,000 per year (plus benefits), the state said Friday.

This will certainly involve highly clean, high-tech manufacturing, employing an array of production “clean rooms”— areas needed to ensure that chips stay free of impurities through the production process — rooms which cost millions to build.

“There are just all kinds of good things about this,” Erbaugh said.

Erbaugh’s secondary reaction, she said, was: “Gulp, does this mean that an already scarce workforce is going to be shifted to that company and away from some of the smaller companies?”

But she added that the “bigger news” Friday is the announcement itself.

The project is expected to add $2.8 billion to Ohio’s annual gross state product, DeWine’s office and JobsOhio said Friday.

“Today’s announcement is monumental news for the state of Ohio,” DeWine said in a statement. “Intel’s new facilities will be transformative for our state, creating thousands of good-paying jobs in Ohio manufacturing strategically vital semiconductors, often called ‘chips.’ Advanced manufacturing, research and development, and talent are part of Ohio’s DNA, and we are proud that chips — which power the future — will be made in Ohio, by Ohioans.”

“We are excited to call Ohio home to Intel’s first new manufacturing site in 40 years,” said Pat Gelsinger, Intel CEO. “Today, we take an important step toward our goal to rebalance global chipmaking capacity and help boost production to meet the surging demand for advanced semiconductors, powering a new generation of innovative products.

Added Gelsinger: “The new factories we’ll build in Ohio are part of our strategy to increase semiconductor R&D and global manufacturing capacity and restore U.S. semi manufacturing leadership. We expect Intel Ohio will become one of the largest semiconductor manufacturing sites in the world over the next decade.”

Intel’s facilities will impact Springfield, which can provide labor and space for potential suppliers and other businesses looking to set up shop, said the Greater Partnership of Springfield.

Springfield and Clark County can also attract those who would be moving to Ohio or closer to the Columbus area for those jobs, said Horton Hobbs, vice president of economic development for the Greater Springfield Partnership.

Staff Writer Hasan Karim contributed to this story.

What you should know about Intel proposal

--- It’s $20 billion investment to build two factories in Licking County in an attempt to help alleviate a global shortage of chips powering everything from phones to cars to home appliances.

--- The two factories on a 1,000-acre site just east of Columbus are expected to create 3,000 company jobs and 7,000 construction jobs. The facility will support tens of thousands of additional jobs for suppliers and partners.

--- Construction is expected to begin this year, with production coming online at the end of 2025.

--- Move could also create a new technology hub in central Ohio as related businesses that support chip manufacturing open new facilities and bring expertise to the region.

--- Intel said two planned factories, or fabs, will support its own line of processors as well as its new “foundry” business, which will build chips designed by other firms.

--- The future production site aims to meet multiple needs, Intel CEO Patrick Gelsinger said during a White House event. Chips built there won’t just reduce supply chain pressures, he said, but will also bolster U.S. national security while bringing more tech jobs to the region.

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