DuPont grand opening

County Commissioners Glenn Reeser (left) and Ula Jean Metzler learn about the new Tedlar production line Tuesday on a tour of the new facilities at DuPont.

CIRCLEVILLE - The grand opening of DuPont’s new Tedlar plant was an international affair with business leaders from China to Germany descending on Circleville to celebrate the site’s $175-million expansion.

Several of DuPont’s corporate leaders, including CEO Ellen Kullman, and the company’s many national and international business partners were on hand to tour the Tedlar facility, which has been up and running since December 2011.

Tedlar, first developed in 1961, is primarily used in solar-panel fabrication. It is a white film material used as backsheet for solar cells, providing insulation and protection against weather conditions and moisture.

It is now one of four products produced at the Circleville site with the others being Vespel, Teflon and Kapton.

Since opening in the 1950s, the Circleville plant has grown to be the largest DuPont site in Ohio.

With already more than 500 full-time employees and 200 contractors, DuPont anticipates hiring 25 people a year for the next couple years to support new business, Circleville plant manager Dave Pigion said.

He said the Tedlar plant, which in itself has added 70 new jobs, has “breathed new life” into the Circleville site and the community.

“Just a few years ago, this site had an uncertain future,” Pigion said at the grand opening. “DuPont-Teijin Films was shut down and, in the recession, a couple of our Kapton lines were idled. This plant was not in good shape, and thanks to a lot of help from you, we have this Tedlar plant rising out of that old Teijin Films plant, our Kapton lines are coming back, and we’re feeling strong.”

He thanked the political and business leaders who helped the site recover from such hardships.

Kullman called the expansion a significant milestone in the multiphase $295-million investment in the Circleville site.

“More important than the dollars going into the building is that we consider it an investment in our customers, we consider it an investment in our industry, an investment in Pickaway County, and in Ohio, and that’s the reason we should celebrate today,” she said.

“We have always viewed Ohio as a great place to do business,” Kullman added. “The long-standing positive business relationships we’ve had has truly been a win-win situation for the state, [our company], and employees.”

Congressman Steve Austria said the expansion is a positive sign for the manufacturing industry in Ohio.

“We’re starting to see things level off and see actually, in cases like this, a little bit of an uptick as far as hiring, which is a positive thing,” he said. “Our manufacturing industry has been hit hard with this economy. DuPont has done well during this time period because they are well-diversified internationally, but the manufacturing industry as a whole has suffered here in Ohio.”

He said this expansion shows what can happen when government and private business work together.

“This is a great example of a public-private partnership,” he said, “where government has set it up so DuPont was able to get tax credits and get some help getting started, but then you have to get government out of the way and allow the businesses to be able to grow and create the long-term sustainable jobs.”

And jobs are the biggest benefit of the expansion, said Pickaway County commissioner Glenn Reeser.

“It’s an employment opportunity for Pickaway County folks,” he said. “It’s a huge investment on the part of DuPont and, to me, that’s probably as important as anything because it shows that DuPont, at the national and international levels, has a confidence in this location to invest millions of dollars into this site. That tells me that they’re planning to be here for quite some time and that’s good news for Pickaway County.”

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