Home to two globally recognized leaders in manufacturing, Dorchester County has pioneered the metal mesh industry for over a century. The county’s resiliency combined with its growth opportunity and its ever ready workforce has retained local manufacturers enabling them to grow and expand into high-tech frontrunners in the industry.
Cambridge International and GKD-USA are part of a world-class local industry cluster of conveyor belting, filtration, and architectural mesh. Most products that consumers touch every day come off of conveyor belts, and there is a good chance they were manufactured on belting made in Dorchester County. Food products, building materials, and automotive parts represent only a fraction of the products that are carried on belting from Dorchester County.
Dorchester native Tom Powley joined the wire mesh manufacturer GKD as CEO of its North American division in 1997. He believed then – as he does today – that Dorchester’s reputation as a center of metal fabric manufacturing and strategic Mid-Atlantic location made it the perfect location for GKD’s U.S. headquarters. Designed by renowned French architect Dominique Perrault, GKD-USA built their award-winning flagship headquarters as an operations center and a manufacturing facility. With talented craftsman and easy access to key markets, the company has thrived in their Chesapeake location and now employs 65 people.
Retaining and expanding high-tech global leaders like GKD and Cambridge International in Dorchester County is very important when attracting other manufacturers to the county. With twenty exclusive product lines and over fifty patents, Cambridge International has revolutionized industry automation and operations.
Cambridge International CEO Tracy Tyler added, “Cambridge has been a world leader in the metal wire industry for over 100 years, because we are constantly working to improve products and processes for our customers.” Cambridge International, the world’s largest metal conveyor belting manufacturer, is recognized throughout the industry for outstanding engineering and customer service.
The metal mesh business based cluster in Dorchester County creates healthy competition, has a positive economic impact and furthers innovative research and design. Strong clusters create synergies, attract foreign investment and create many other economic benefits including business attraction.
Dorchester County has shovel ready sites available for manufacturers who are considering expanding or relocating. The Dorchester Regional Technology Park offers four- to five- acre lots that are competitively priced. Dorchester County is a federally designated HubZone, which provides businesses access to unique procurement opportunities with federal government contractors. Additionally, the Cambridge-Dorchester Regional Airport sits adjacent to the park. Dorchester County Economic Development Director Keasha Haythe added, “We are poised for future manufacturing growth within the technology park.”
In an effort to attract businesses, market and unify the county, the Dorchester County Economic Development Office developed the “water moves us” marketing campaign. This serves as the department’s brand identity as well as a multi-platform, cooperative marketing campaign to promote Dorchester’s assets and opportunities.
The branding initiative features seven local business used to showcase local industry. GKD CEO Tom Powley is featured as one of the seven business faces promoting Dorchester County’s manufacturing sector.