Boeing visits Hartsville industry, schools

 Nelson Corbin, right, human resources director at RBC Bearings in Hartsville, talks about manufacturing operations at the Hartsville plant as he leads a tour of the facility for Boeing representatives. From left are James Richter of the South Carolina Manufacturing Alliance and Ashley Holbrook, Frank Hatten and Libba Holland of Boeing.

Representatives of Boeing toured a Hartsville manufacturing facility during a visit to Darlington County on Sept. 30.

The visit included a tour of RBC Bearings where the Boeing officials got to see the plant’s manufacturing operation.

The visit, part of what the company calls Boeing Days, was an opportunity for Boeing officials to see some of what is going on in education and economic development in Hartsville and Darlington County, said Libba Holland, communications specialist for Boeing.

Boeing’s Ashley Holbrook said the visit was part of an effort to introduce Boeing to South Carolina’s communities. The company completed a series of visits to each of the state’s counties two years ago, she said.

One aim of the visit was to expose local students to career opportunities with Boeing. Boeing’s Education Specialist Frank Hatten accompanied the group on the visit, along with James Richter of the South Carolina Manufacturing Alliance and Cheryl Lewis of the South Carolina Department of Commerce.

Boeing operates an assembly plant complex for its commercial airplanes division in North Charleston with up to 7,000 workers.

In Hartsville, the Boeing representatives visited the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science & Mathematics where they had lunch with staff, toured RBC, visited a local after-school program for girls and were guests at a reception hosted by state Sen. Gerald Malloy.

Earlier in the day the group visited Brockington Elementary Magnet School in Darlington, the Darlington County Institute of Technology and Darlington Middle School.

Company officials are also visiting Boeing’s industrial suppliers. They visited the RBC Bearings plant in Hartsville, where Human Resources Director met with them and took them on a tour of the plant. RBC is one of the company’s suppliers, though the Hartsville plant does not produce materials for Boeing.

Nelson Corbin, human resources director at the Hartsville plant, told the Boeing group that the bearings produced by the Hartsville plant are all custom made. “There is no bearing that we make that is a standard off-the-shelf bearing,” Corbin said.

He also discussed employee incentives the plant offers. RBC in Hartsville employs about 130 people. The company also operates a distribution center in Bishopville that employs about 30, Corbin said.

“Having done this now for quite a few trips, we’ve seen that not every community is the same,” Holbrook said. “You can tell when a community has got something going on.”

Holbrook said Boeing’s decision to locate an aircraft assembly facility in South Carolina was historic for the company and the state. “We feel like we owe something back to the state,” she said.

“When Boeing came to South Carolina 10 years ago, they knew it would take the entire state to make it successful,” Holbrook said.

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