Company moves here from Mt. Airy
Published 9:11 am Thursday, October 21, 2021
By Jeanna Baxter White
Word Master Media Group
“If you are ever in a Volkswagen, Daimler, or BMW, and it’s really quiet, you’re welcome,” says Jerry Sutphin, vice president of Dr. Friest Automotive (DFA) US.
The Germany-based company, which designs and manufactures sound deadening and insulation materials for the auto industry, is relocating and expanding its US manufacturing operations to Mocksville.
DFA will move from a 28,000-square-foot-space in Mount Airy into a 110,000-square-foot leased facility at 300 Bethel Church Road, which will allow the company to begin production for a third automotive manufacturer. The company ships to Volkswagen in Chattanooga, Tenn. and to Daimler in Georgia, and will soon ship to BMW in Greenville, S.C.
The company has invested $5.9 million in the facility in Mocksville and plans to complete the move in November and should begin production in mid-December.
“Our business has grown to the point that we can no longer produce in Mount Airy,” said Sutphin. “We searched several locations and other states, and after a long search, we found the perfect facility on Bethel Church Road in Mocksville.
“I have been in automotive manufacturing leadership roles for 30 years, including two years spent in Europe, Japan, and China designing and building manufacturing facilities, and it was nice to walk into a facility that is almost a duplicate of what I would have wanted to build.”
Once Sutphin located the ideal facility, he spent a couple of months getting to know the people of Mocksville to ensure that he could also find the perfect workforce. DFA employs 33 in Mount Airy, about 80 percent of which will remain with the company and either commute or relocate to Mocksville once they find housing. The company plans to add an additional 23 positions in production at the new plant in Mocksville. The hiring process will begin now and extend until 2023 when all of the new equipment has been installed. Starting pay for entry-level workers will be $17.50 per hour.
“You can have the best facility in the world and the most modern sophisticated equipment but if you don’t have the right people you will fail. It’s that simple”
He started talking to people at WalMart and other local hangouts and found “many hard-working, intelligent people to become our future team members within the Davie County community.”
“I was very impressed with what people were talking about, what they were passionate about, and the types of working environments they were looking for. I felt very confident that the family-oriented team environment that we offer would match very well with what the people in the Mocksville area are looking for.”
Spec Buildings Pay Big
Terry Bralley, president of the Davie County Economic Development Commission, noted that attracting DFA was once again the result of having ready spec buildings.
The company initially came to Mocksville to look at a 108,000-square-foot spec building in the South Point Business Park on US 601 which is owned by the Hollingsworth Companies. While that building could have met their need it would have required upfitting. Then Bralley received a call that the Bethel Church Road site was losing a tenant and recognized that the building would be the perfect fit.
“Had that spec building not been there for them to look at, they might not have looked further in Mocksville,” said Bralley. “The Hollingsworth park, once again, helped us attract new business to Davie County.”
Sutphin agreed, adding: “Around the world, there are a lot of cities and towns that would love to have what you guys have right here in Mocksville. I know this stuff doesn’t happen by accident. It took great planning and execution on the part of your local leadership. The way the infrastructure is laid out is perfect for industry growth.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better location. The whole area is set up well for manufacturing, with easy access to the interstate, within 20 minutes of a major city, and not too far from Charlotte. This is the perfect hub for traffic. Our customers really liked it because we are right off of the interstate and we are now about an hour closer to all of them.
“I feel like we will have it all here. DFA is bringing the right equipment, and Mocksville has the right facility and the right people with the right attitudes and the right work ethic.”
Sutphin would love to be fully staffed when DFA begins production in Mocksville in December. He encourages anyone who would like to learn more about employment with the company to reach out to HR Manager Kelby McLean at KelbyMcLean@DFA-US.com.
About Dr. Freist
Dr. Freist Automotive GmbH is an innovative, internationally-oriented, and family-owned enterprise in the design and production of sound deadening and reinforcement materials and primarily supply the automotive industry. Since incorporation in 2004, it has been investing continually in innovative production technology. The aim is to provide customers with tailor-made solutions of the highest quality for even the most specific and complex of needs.
Visit https://www.dfa-gmbh.com to learn more.