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Powering the World from North Carolina

| Energy, Manufacturing

Rural Hall is a town outside Winston-Salem that a little more than 3,400 people call home.

It certainly does not have the largest population, but the work taking place inside Rural Hall is having a huge impact on people in countries throughout the world.

Specifically, what is produced in Rural Hall ensures that lights will turn on globally.

Rural Hall also is home to Siemens Energy’s Winston Service Center.

“We provide power to the world,” said Roger Morris, production manager with Siemens Energy. “So, we’ve got customers from the USA. We’ve got customers in Korea. We’ve got customers in Germany. We’ve got customers all over the world and we’re providing components to those customers to provide power to their customers.”

Siemens Energy is a leader in power generation and distribution.

The Winston Service Center manufactures parts to be placed inside new and existing turbines.

Workers at the site also repair existing parts.

“What we really are is that end-to-end power company to supply not only the solutions but creative partnerships with our utilities,” said Cory Phillips, plant director at the Winston Service Center for Siemens Energy.

The location has about 400 employees, including programmers, machinists, welders, support team members, and those providing technical skills.

“The people here are great,” said Isabel Ammerman, quality supervisor. “They love what they do. It’s a company that I fell in love with the first day I came for an interview.”

Ultimately, it’s those people who keep the lights on.

“Our employee base is a family here,” said Phillips. “We really want to take care of each other, and a lot of our folks are from locally here within a 20–30-mile radius of the facility here.”

Phillips added that the company fosters an atmosphere where many employees stay for generations.

“We have people here whose parents and grandparents worked here,” he said. “So, that idea of we want to be a part of the community because the community is allowing their people to come work here and we want to give back to support that for future growth.”

“At the end of the day, we can get everything else right, but if you don’t have the people, nothing gets made,” said Gary Salamido, president and CEO of NC Chamber.

Salamido recently joined state and local officials, along with other dignitaries, for a tour of the Rural Hall facility.

“What’s made in North Carolina powers the world,” he said. “The people are incredible. The precision, the science it takes, the materials that go into the turbines that power everything we need to live life.”

To continue that success, Phillips said the talent pipeline must remain strong.

“We have a close connection with our local community colleges,” said Phillips. “In our area, it’s Forsyth Technical Community College. We partner with them through what we have, the Business and Industry Leadership Team, BILT. What BILT does is it helps bring the voice of manufacturing to the community colleges and say how do we make programming and curriculum that’s right for the industry.”

BILT helps develop courses that facilitate workforce development and meet employer needs.

Phillips added that Siemens Energy partners not only locally with Forsyth Tech, but on a statewide level, with apprenticeship programs.

There are active apprenticeships at the Winston Service Center through the Learn and Earn Apprenticeship Program, or LEAP.

LEAP enables adults to earn a degree while working and training on the job as an apprentice.

“It’s really a unique program where the person will go to school and work a combination of 40-50 hours a week and they get paid full time as an employee while they’re getting their education,” said Phillips. “It’s really working towards a career.”

Salamido said partnerships statewide, like the one between Siemens Energy and Forsyth Tech, are critical to ensure continued success in manufacturing.

“If we’re going to win long term, it’s got to be all of those things,” he added. “We’ve got to have a long-term pipeline that companies can see as predictable, and it’s got to be a good place for people to come and raise their families. If you have a good job, good things happen.”

For Morris and Ammerman, Siemens Energy checks those boxes.

“I think I’m going to be here until I probably retire,” said Ammerman.

“I’m good,” concurred Morris. “I’m happy and I’d like to retire from here.”

Hearing those responses makes Phillips know that the company and industry’s future are in good hands.

“I see us being a leader in energizing society for the years to come,” said Phillips. “The future for manufacturing in North Carolina is very bright.”


Learn more about the NC Manufacturing Tour