Jeff Taylor loads material used to wrap elevator cable on Nov. 6, 2014, at Draka Elevator Products. 

A company in Rocky Mount that manufactures elevator products is planning to add 34 full-time jobs over the next five years as part of an expansion.

The Nash County Board of Commissioners approved an inducement agreement Monday for Draka Elevator Products to expand operations at the Whitakers Business and Industrial Center in Nash County.

Draka, which operates its global headquarters on North Church Street, plans to hire 34 full-time workers at or exceeding an average annual wage of $38,584 by Dec. 31, 2020.

The agreement states that Draka plans to invest $12.1 million into the development of a 140,000-square-foot manufacturing facility.

Nash County transferred ownership of 14 acres of land and 11 acres of easement valued at $375,840 in Whitakers Business and Industrial Center to Draka.

The deal was brokered by the Carolinas Gateway Partnership.

Krista Ikirt, vice president for the Partnership and recruiter for Nash County, said the news is great for the Twin Counties because Draka picked Nash County for its expansion plans over a few other areas.

In addition, Ikirt said Draka also is increasing the tax base for Nash County, which is another significant element to the growth of the county.

“Draka is a fantastic company and has been a good corporate citizen in the Twin Counties region,” Ikirt said. “We were up against three other places for this expansion to happen, and we’re very happy they chose Nash County as the place of their new growth. We want to make sure they continue to grow here and be happy here because it’s companies like this that continue to help us increase our economy.”

Draka Elevator President Sterrett Lloyd said the investment is a good decision for the company and Draka is happy with the support from the community.

Draka elevator cables and parts produced in Rocky Mount are inside some of the tallest buildings around the world.

The expansion enables Draka to expand not just the company’s current operations to allow for growth but also to be able to carry out more sets of operations, Lloyd added.

“We’re going to be able to perform more capabilities where we take our cables and wires and we add connectors to them,” Lloyd said. “We’re not just expanding our current operations but having our technical capabilities to perform more services for our customers.”

With existing companies such as Draka remaining in the area, Ikirt said it adds another feather in the cap for the Partnership’s efforts to recruit new industries to the Twin Counties.

“Companies that are seeking to come to your area want to know what has happened good in your area and why should we come here,” Ikirt said. “When you’ve got a story to tell about an existing industry that you were vying with other places around the country and sometimes internationally, and they chose you to continue to grow, that said something that they’re happy here. It shows we have the workforce available here and the cost of doing business is good here.

“Companies we’re trying to recruit see we have a good story to tell.”

The best news Ikirt and Lloyd said coming from the announcement is the creation of new jobs coming into the local economy, which has struggled over the past several years.

In 2012, Draka added 67 new jobs and invested more than $3.1 million for a three-year period.

“The worker base that we’re able to tap into in this community is very important to us,” Lloyd said. “Employees we secure stay for careers, and we have very low turnover because of the quality of individuals that we can source from this community. It’s a very important achievement for us to be able to expand in the community and support the local people with good positions, good benefits and good wages.”

Lloyd said positions are being filled immediately. Interested candidates can contact Kelly Services in Rocky Mount or Draka Elevator headquarters.

Lloyd said no date has been set for a groundbreaking ceremony for the new facility, but it will happen no later then February.