The South Carolina Department of Commerce, the Marlboro County Economic Development Partnership and Carolina AAC announced that Carolina AAC will open a state-of-the-art facility in Marlboro County, to manufacture an innovative energy-efficient building material. Spurred on by growing consumer demand and government mandates for green construction, the $16 million project will create 36 direct jobs with an additional 14 jobs added in the future. Further indirect economic benefits for the local communities are expected through resource supply management, product transportation and company-led training of individuals to install the product. Carolina AAC produces Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (AAC), a sustainable, fire resistant and environmentally-friendly material that provides excellent temperature-controlling insulation. AAC, used to create internal and external wall systems in residential and commercial structures, has been a predominant structural material in European and Asian countries for several decades, but is relatively new to the United States. The Bennettsville site will promote the Pee Dee region as a leader in sustainable building materials at a time when the emerging green construction industry surges — even while traditional building markets continue to recover from the economic downturn. Carolina AAC is locating its first manufacturing facility in the Pee Dee region because of the area’s resource-rich environment, proximity to construction markets throughout the southeast, employment opportunities and enthusiastic local government support. The 56,000-square-foot facility is located in the Marlboro County Certified Industrial Park. Charles Paterno, managing member of the company, has worked with leaders Marlboro County over several years to identify the current opportunity in Bennettsville. Mr. Paterno has been steadfast with his decision to keep the facility in the Pee Dee Region. “I applaud the efforts of the South Carolina Department of Commerce, the South Carolina Energy Office, the North Eastern Strategic Alliance (NESA), Marlboro County and Marion County for working with Carolina AAC to ensure that we were able to locate in this area of South Carolina,” said Paterno. “I would especially like to thank Marlboro County and Marion County for diligently working together to make sure that we were able to locate here in the Pee Dee.” “Partnerships are a key factor in the economic development process, and this announcement by Carolina AAC is an excellent example of what can be accomplished when economic development agencies at the state and local levels work together. Carolina AAC’s decision to invest and create jobs in Marlboro County is also an indication of the strength of our workforce throughout South Carolina and the potential to grow economic opportunity in rural communities. We congratulate Carolina AAC and look forward to the company’s growth in Marlboro County,” said Bobby Hitt, Secretary of Commerce. “Over the last two years, Marlboro County Council has made significant changes to our economic development program and today we’re excited to begin seeing the results,” said Marlboro County Council Chairman Ron Munnerlyn. “Today’s announcement is a testament to county council’s willingness to work with prospects, supporting them as they navigate the obstacles and challenges of a start-up operation. It’s this kind of support by local government that will hopefully lead to even more jobs for our community.” “Carolina AAC’s decision to invest in Marlboro County is the result of a true regional team effort and will provide many needed jobs for the people of Marlboro County,” added David Johnson, chairman of the Marlboro County Economic Development Partnership. “Their growth in Marlboro County will enhance this community while affirming that advanced manufacturing can indeed thrive in our county.” The project is the result of a combination of private investment, local and federal grants and loan funding. In addition to its partnership with Marlboro and Marion counties, the company has received vital support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Clean Green Investment Incentives Program-Industrial Energy Project of the S.C. Energy Office, the S.C. Dept. of Commerce and Coordinating Council for Economic Development, ArborOne Farm Credit, Marlboro Electric Cooperative and the Marlboro County Transportation Committee. Carolina AAC has entered into an agreement with Wehrhahn GmbH, a German company, to provide the company with state of the art, industry-leading proprietary equipment.