A Somerset County-based medical device manufacturer is creating about 20 local jobs by moving operations from China back to the county thanks to a $1.8 million business and industry loan guarantee announced Friday.
DeVilbiss Healthcare is returning manufacturing to Somerset County and expects to hire those 20 people later this summer, said Stephanie Murray, the company's marketing and communications manager.
DeVilbiss had been waiting for word from USDA Rural Development State Director Thomas Williams about a hoped-for business and industry loan guarantee. That word came Friday in an announcement from the USDA that the $1.8 million loan guarantee was completed.
"The project is estimated to preserve 92 and create an estimated 20 full-time jobs manufacturing high-end medical devices, including compressor nebulizers, oxygen concentrators and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) equipment," Williams said in a USDA press release. "The Somerset community will benefit from an increase in area economic viability, an improved local tax base and high-value products and services. Today's announcement is one part of the Department's efforts to strengthen the rural economy."
Relocating manufacturing from China to Somerset County is a win-win for DeVilbiss, Murray said. First, the move creates jobs in Somerset County.
"And we just felt it was best for the company to relocate manufacturing back here, so we can have a better handle on the manufacturing process so we can improve upon it more quickly," Murray said.
Ron Aldom, Somerset County Chamber of Commerce executive director, said his agency along with several others had been working behind the scenes to make sure the USDA announcement happened.
"This is not just bringing jobs back to the United States. These are jobs coming straight back to Somerset County," Aldom said.
About two months ago, Aldom said DeVilbiss leaders called him because a decision from the USDA was taking more time than anticipated. Aldom immediately called the offices of U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus and the Southern Alleghenies and Somerset County development councils — and everyone involved reached out to the USDA.
"It just needed shoved through," Aldom said. "DeVilbiss was very up front that they wanted to bring these jobs back here. It just needed pushed, and this team came together to do that. We all work together."