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County lands German firm
Vossloh Kiepe will move in next month
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Forsyth County News

Vossloh Kiepe Inc. is making a high-speed entrance into Forsyth County.

The advanced transportation manufacturer plans to move into a 15,000-square-foot facility in south Forsyth on April 1.

“By the end of the year, we’re probably going to bring 10 employees, and that will double next year,” said Klaus Roehmer, the company's president and chief executive officer of U.S. operations.

“ I am excited ... to get started because I believe the market is right at the present time for some new business.”

Vossloh Kiepe, the county’s 11th Germany-based firm, has been around for more than a century.

Based in Düsseldorf, it develops, manufactures and sells a variety of electro-technical products to deliver goods and transport passengers.

Roehmer said the company also does hybrid technology for buses, so “it fits in there with the overall [theme] of green energy.”

The Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce has worked with Roehmer since December.

Brian Dill, the chamber's vice president of economic development, said the business was in line with the county’s goal of recruiting European companies that specialize in energy and health care technologies.

“You look at what they do and the ability for that industry sector to grow over time,” Dill said. “This is hopefully what I foresee to be kind of a trend in specialized manufacturing."

Dill said the international company is the first to come to Forsyth since the local development authority, chamber and county government worked to create a recruitment market strategy.

Though the strategy isn’t expected to be approved by the authority for another couple of weeks, Dill has been doing some preliminary recruiting.

“I couldn’t think of a better way to kick it off than for it to actually be a German firm in one of the two market sectors we’re targeting,” he said.

“I’m thrilled for them, and now begins the process of supporting them.”

Dill said Forsyth and neighboring Cherokee County were the firm's finalists.

Roehmer, who lives in Cherokee, said Forsyth’s infrastructure and available work force were the deciding factors.

“In Cherokee, there are not nearly as many professional people available in this particular field as there are in Forsyth and Fulton counties,” he said. “We found a building was available where we could move in and we didn’t have to pre-build.”

Roehmer said once the location is set up next month, hiring likely will begin in May. The new hires will spend the next three months training in Germany, and production could begin in August or September.

The Forsyth location will be specifically working on inverter technology light rail for Houston, Texas. The technology provides traction to support top speeds of 70 mph.

The project is scheduled to be completed before summer 2014, though Roehmer said the company's move to Forsyth is a sustainable one.

“We’re trying to get some new projects in,” he said. “This is hopefully the first of many projects to come.”