ABB exec: We're going to keep growing in Raleigh

2017-02-13 - Triangle Business Journal article by Lauren K. Ohnesorge - February 10, 2017
Four months after deciding to stay in the power business, ABB says that unit is growing.

In an interview Friday, Anders Sjoelin, power grids lead division manager for North America, says Raleigh’s Centennial Campus is contributing to the bottom line in a big way. The local unit employs 500, and three of the company’s four power grid business units are led from Centennial Campus: Grid Automation, Grid Integration and Transformers (High Voltage is headquartered in Pennsylvania).

And that’s not including its North American headquarters in Cary.

“We’ve been able to win key projects,” he says. “That will impact us positively, on both securing jobs here and also adding to the headcount."

That’s as effects are felt from a restructuring action – one he called in a previous interview more of a “transformation” than a reduction – initiated in October.

Over the past four months, the Raleigh operation has actually added 20 employees across both the power grids division and corporate research functions. It has 28 additional open jobs in Raleigh on its website, not counting 16 openings in Cary.

The local operation is also boosting additional competencies in key areas not headquartered here, such as high voltage, he says. And that further stabilizes the company’s footprint in Raleigh.

“The transformation is ongoing, but I think the team found their roles and were effective in acting in the market,” he says.

Power grids achieved more than $840 million worth of announced large orders in the fourth quarter, according to statements made by CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer on an earnings call this week.

“We are moving from making power grids better to making it even better and bigger in the future,” Spiesshofer told analysts. Regarding acquisitions, he said, "When the time is right, we will strike. If the time is not right and if the asset is not available, we’ll continue the path that we are on.”

ABB is based in Switzerland. It has more than 800 employees in Cary and Raleigh, 340 at a manufacturing facility in Pinetops and 2,000 in North Carolina overall.

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