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Behr Paint comes to Heath, decades after Ohio acquires Panhandle rail line, DeWine says

Gov. Mike DeWine, Heath Mayor Mark Johns and officials from Behr Paint and parent company Masco cut a ribbon Tuesday on the 300,000-square-foot Behr Paint manufacturing and distribution facility at the Central Ohio Aerospace and Technology Center campus in Heath.

Gov. Mike DeWine, Heath Mayor Mark Johns and officers from Behr Paint and father or mother firm Masco reduce a ribbon Tuesday on the 300,000-square-foot Behr Paint manufacturing and distribution facility on the Central Ohio Aerospace and Technology Center campus in Heath.

HEATH − Development discussions in Licking County usually revolve round new know-how for pc chip producers, information facilities and clear rooms.

Behr Paint Co., the most recent newcomer to Licking County, selected to construct a producing and distribution heart on James Parkway in Heath due to 200-year-old know-how: the railroad.

Gov. Mike DeWine welcomed the corporate to Ohio on Tuesday, becoming a member of Heath Mayor Mark Johns, state Sen. Tim Schaffer, R-Lancaster, and Heath-Newark-Licking County Port Authority President/CEO Rick Platt within the firm’s 300,000-square-foot facility on the Central Ohio Aerospace and Technology Center campus.

The governor stated a call in 1992 laid the groundwork for the rail service that helped convey Behr to Heath.

“I often talk about, in economic development, we are really planting a seed,” DeWine said. “Sometimes we will not see immediate results (and it might take) many, many years to see results. Sometimes we’re out of office and doing other things, and finally that comes through. But occasionally we plant a seed, and we do get to see the outcome.”

The governor stated it was 1992, when he was serving as lieutenant governor throughout Gov. George Voinovich’s administration, that the seed was planted.

“I had the opportunity to announce the state’s acquisition of the Panhandle rail line,” DeWine stated. “I went from Columbus to Coshocton to make the announcement. Rick Platt was part of my team at that time and on that particular trip.

“What does that have to do with Behr today? Well, it turned out (when) Behr was looking for a site for this project, one of their site selection requirements was rail. Had to have rail accessibility. Ultimately, that rail access is really what enabled Behr to be able to come here.”

The entrance to the 300,000-square-foot Behr Paint manufacturing and distribution facility Tuesday at the Central Ohio Aerospace and Technology Center campus in Heath.The entrance to the 300,000-square-foot Behr Paint manufacturing and distribution facility Tuesday at the Central Ohio Aerospace and Technology Center campus in Heath.

The entrance to the 300,000-square-foot Behr Paint manufacturing and distribution facility Tuesday at the Central Ohio Aerospace and Technology Center campus in Heath.

Based in Santa Ana, California, Behr invested more than $100 million and broke ground on the new facility two years ago. Distribution started in July, and manufacturing started Tuesday. The plant employs 67 today, but the company expects to eventually have 110 employees working three shifts.

Behr, which supplies architectural paint and exterior wood care products to U.S. and Canadian do-it-yourself markets, considered sites in other states, but Heath felt like the right place.

“We started our journey on this project and location selection process about two years ago,” Behr Chief Operating Officer Phil Markes said. “When the leadership team stopped here in Heath, Ohio, the comment that resonated with me was ‘now this feels like a Behr town.’ We eventually selected Heath, Ohio, for our new home, and the rest is history.”

View of the exterior of the 300,000-square-foot Behr Paint manufacturing and distribution facility Tuesday at the Central Ohio Aerospace and Technology Center campus in Heath.View of the exterior of the 300,000-square-foot Behr Paint manufacturing and distribution facility Tuesday at the Central Ohio Aerospace and Technology Center campus in Heath.

View of the exterior of the 300,000-square-foot Behr Paint manufacturing and distribution facility Tuesday at the Central Ohio Aerospace and Technology Center campus in Heath.

Behr President Megan Selby said the company has the land to someday expand the facility and add more jobs.

“Behr has a really sturdy tradition,” Selby said. “We have been an organization manufacturing for over 75 years. We have very low turnover. Our objective is to actually have staff be staff with Behr for all times.”

Otho Behr Jr. founded the company, then known as Linseed Oil Products, in 1947. Linseed moved from Behr’s garage to an 800-square-foot Quonset hut in Pasadena, California, a year later. Linseed Oil became Behr Process Corp. in 1954. In 1999, after 52 years of private ownership, Behr Paint Co. was acquired by Masco Corp. of Livonia, Michigan.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, left, with Keith Allman, CEO of Masco Corp., the parent company of Behr Paint Co., on Tuesday in Heath.Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, left, with Keith Allman, CEO of Masco Corp., the parent company of Behr Paint Co., on Tuesday in Heath.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, left, with Keith Allman, CEO of Masco Corp., the parent company of Behr Paint Co., on Tuesday in Heath.

The Heath-Newark-Licking County Port Authority had other companies interested in the land, but they would not have employed as many as Behr, Platt said.

“Our board had the imaginative and prescient we might maintain out for manufacturing for the job influence,” he said. “We turned away so many who would not have the job alternative influence for generations.”

Johns stated Behr made an huge impression on the group by sponsoring native youth baseball and softball groups earlier than it even opened.

“As mayor of a city, you always hope that your economic development projects don’t just bring jobs to your community,” Johns said. “That’s important, but you also hope the company will be a good corporate citizen. It was noticeable that Behr Paint was making an investment in this community. You may think it’s insignificant to sponsor little league teams. It’s not.

“Over the past 15 years, the city of Heath has seen quite a bit of success in landing projects, but there’s no project that I’ve been involved with that has been as pleasurable to work with, as smooth to work with, as this project.”

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This article initially appeared on Newark Advocate: Behr Paint marks new manufacturing plant, distribution center in Heath

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