Knorr breaks ground on new Westminster plant; officials tout new jobs

Knorr Brake Corporation on Wednesday, Jan. 18, broke ground on the company's new manufacturing facility in the Westminster Technology Park in Westminster.

This new facility will double the existing size of Knorr's manufacturing capabilities in Carroll County, from 120,000 square feet to 236,000 square feet of space.

Knorr is a manufacturer of braking, door and HVAC systems for mass transit vehicles. Company officials said that an influx of new orders, primarily from a new series of rail cars for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, along with other increased business, is driving the expansion.

This new 24-acre site on Independence Way will enable Knorr to expand by another 150,000 square feet in the future as well, officials said.

Knorr currently employs 230people at the Westminster facility, and plans to add 60 additional jobs to handle the increased volume at the new plant.

The new facility is expected to be built over the next 15 months and be ready for occupancy at the end of the first quarter of 2013.

"I'm so proud of the men and women at Knorr Brake, creating jobs in Carroll County, …" saidSen. Barbara Mikulskiin a prepared statement.

In addition to Mikulski, officials attending the Jan. 18 groundbreaking included Sen. Ben Cardin, Westminster Mayor Kevin Utz, members of the Westminster City Council, members of the Board of County Commissioners, state and county economic development officials.

Also taking part were WMATA CEO/General Manager Richard Sarles and Deputy General Manager Dave Kubicek, Rich Bowie, president of Knorr Brake Corp., other Knorr executives and about 100 employees.

In a media release, Cardin noted that the new plant not only means new jobs in Carroll, but, "also is welcome news for the millions of commuters across the nation who rely on safe and reliable mass transportation to get to their jobs."

Last year Knorr announced that it had been looking for a new site for its expanded plant, and studied locations in Hanover, Pa., and Westminster.

The Westminster Technology Park, adjacent to Carroll County Regional Airport, was selected, and in April 2011 the company announced plans to invest more than $15 million in building the new facility. Officials said LEED energy efficient and green technologies will be utilized in the construction of the building.

Knorr Brake is division of Knorr-Bremse, AG, a Munich, Germany-based design and manufacturing firm.

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