Md. U.S. Sen. Cardin praises Hagerstown Mack/Volvo plant for investing in American workers
Volvo Director of Production Frank Morrisey, right, talks with Maryland U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin left during the Cardin's "Made in Maryland" tour on Monday. (By Yvette May/Staff Photographer / June 24, 2013)
Prior to touring the 34-acre truck engine and transmission manufacturing facility off Pennsylvania and Maugans avenues, Cardin met with Volvo officials who highlighted the company’s commitment to the plant and job growth in the area, including investing more than $300 million in the property since 2001.
One of the most recent additions is a new $8 million production line for automated manual heavy-truck transmissions, which opened in 2012 and added about 50 jobs, according to Volvo officials.
“This is big news,” said Cardin, D-Md. “This is talking about more jobs in Maryland. This is job growth, manufacturing job growth; showing that we make it in Maryland, and we can make it America.”
Cardin said getting the first-hand look at Volvo’s operations in Hagerstown shows that some of the best technology in the world can be found in Maryland. With an efficient and environmentally-friendly product, Volvo continues to grow and create more jobs for working-class Marylanders, he said.
“I think it’s very impressive what I see here,” Cardin said. “And I see people who know how to do their work as well as any place in the world. ... They really are proud of what they can do, individually and collectively.
“It’s Hagerstown. It’s Maryland. And it just shows that if you put your bet on the American worker, you’ve made the right bet for America’s future,” he said.
Volvo officials Frank Morrisey and Curt Hassinger led Cardin through various areas of the manufacturing plant, including a newer engineering wing that opened in 2006, where the company develops new technologies for more efficient and “greener” engine production.
“It makes us very competitive,” said Hassinger, Volvo’s director of key accounts.
The visit was also attended by representatives from the offices of U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski and U.S. Rep. John Delaney, as well as Washington County Commissioners Ruth Anne Callaham, Jeff Cline and William B. McKinley.
Cardin spoke highly of Mikulski and Delaney, both Democrats, touting their efforts in bridging party lines and helping promote jobs by keeping companies like Volvo informed about future federal mandates that may affect operations.
“We have a team effort here,” he told Volvo officials.
Morrisey, director of Volvo’s Powertrain Production, said Cardin’s visit is a “good sign for Hagerstown” and the company, because it continually works to stay ahead of the curve of changing federal emissions regulations and other initiatives.
“It’s always great to have the senators here, and have them take a look at our business and what we’ve done for the past several years,” Morrisey said. “... I think having an awareness in Washington of what we’re doing is important to us. It’s good for everybody, and it puts us ahead of the curve sometimes and helps us continue to build the right type of business we have in Hagerstown.”
One of the largest employers in the county, Volvo Group Trucks employs about 1,400 workers at its Hagerstown plant, which has existed since 1961 when it first started producing engines for Mack Trucks.
Volvo officials also hosted Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown in late April. Brown, a Democrat who is a proponent of developing public-private partnerships to promote job growth in Maryland, has since announced his candidacy for governor in 2014.
The Western Maryland swing of Cardin’s tour continued Monday afternoon, as he stopped by Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick for a tour and a roundtable discussion with small business officials.