Siemens is investing $150 million to create a new manufacturing plant that will build low-voltage switchgear and switchboards.
The company says it will hire more than 700 people at the plant at 7200 Harris Legacy Drive at Carter Park East. The average salary at the plant will be $63,000, according to Siemens.
Fort Worth City Council approved incentives for the company in September, including a 10-year tax abatement of up to 70% of incremental real and business personal property. In a report, city staff said the incentive — worth an estimated $6 million — likely would be paid back in 6 ½ years.
Switchgear, which look like big gray metal boxes, are used for the transmission of electricity. Barbara Humpton, CEO of Siemens USA, said the equipment is part of the company’s fastest growing business.
“Switchgear is absolutely vital to the electrification of everything,” Humpton said. “Data centers, electric vehicles, charging stations … are all going to be powered by what gets produced here.”
The plant will be operational in 2024 and at full capacity in 2025, Humpton said.
Siemens hired 31 people from the company’s existing 225,000-square-foot power equipment manufacturing plant in Grand Prairie, she said.
Building up a workforce for the plant is the biggest challenge. One strategy the company is using, she said, is donating equipment to community colleges to attract more young people to the company.
By the time the plant is fully operational, workers will build 400 switchgears and switchboards a week, Barry Powell, North America head of Siemens Electrical Products Business, said. The largely empty space of the plant will fill up quickly, he said.
“In three to six months from now, this place is not going to look at anything at all like it does now,” Powell said. “There’s going to be tens of millions of dollars of equipment coming in here. And we’re going to be hiring 30 or 40 people a month.”
Siemens Global CEO Roland Busch said the company is investing $510 million in electrical infrastructure and green mobility, including a new rail manufacturing facility in Lexington, North Carolina. All told, the investments will create 1,700 new jobs across the country, Busch said.
Tarrant County officials expressed support for the new plant in Fort Worth. Council member Chris Nettles thanked the company for choosing Fort Worth. Much of the economic development in the city can be found in north Fort Worth’s Alliance area, Nettles said, so he was excited to see jobs in the southern area of the city.
“We found out … that people in east Fort Worth and south Fort worth could not get to those jobs in north Fort Worth for many reasons,” Nettles said. “It could be transportation, it could be sitting in traffic because (Interstate 35) was messed up for many, many years.”
The Tarrant County Commissioners Court will consider additional incentives for the Fort Worth plant Nov. 7. Commissioner Roy Brooks expressed support of the new plant during the company’s event.
“We’re all in on this deal,” Brooks told the Fort Worth Report.
Joshua Worthey, a union leader in Tarrant County, supports the opening of a new plant and efforts to expand the workforce in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Worthey serves as business manager and financial secretary of the local International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union chapter that represents workers at Siemens’ Grand Prairie plant.
But he expressed concerns about the deal. His main concern is wages.
“All of the job postings that we’ve seen go up are in the ranges of $18 to $22 an hour, which is far below what they had advertised to Fort Worth City Council,” Worthey said.
The average salary at the plant will be $63,000, according to Siemens. Company spokesperson Ashley Lagzial declined to provide the median salary for the plant.
Hourly wages vary, according to job postings on the Siemens website. An assembler position at the plant, for example, has a wage range of $17.50 to $21 an hour. An engineering technician for switchboards shows a broad salary range of $49,100 to $91,400.
Siemens Group USA generated $18.6 billion in revenue in 2022 and employs about 45,000 people across the country, according to a news release.
Seth Bodine is a business and economic development reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow on Twitter @sbodine120.
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