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Fountain adding jobs in North Carolina

Fountain Powerboats plans to add 250 jobs and invest $12 million during the next five years to expand its Beaufort County, N.C., operations, North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley announced.

“(The boating industry) continues to thrive in our state because of our trained workforce, top-ranked business climate and superior quality of life,” Easley said in a statement. “For more than 200 years, many North Carolinians have made careers building boats.”

Fountain Powerboats, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fountain Powerboat Industries, currently employs 333 people at its 65-acre campus along the Pamlico River. The company is expanding so it can produce the Baja line of boats, which it recently acquired from Brunswick.

Fountain expects to begin manufacturing the Baja by Fountain boat product line for the 2009 model year. Fountain paid $4 million for the assets, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The assets acquired consist primarily of equipment, tooling, drawings, blueprints, design software and production process documentation used to build Baja boat models for the model year 2009 and later. The company also acquired trademarks and other assets used to sell the acquired models.

Fountain’s expansion was made possible, in part, by a Job Development Investment Grant, Easley said. Wages for the 250 jobs will average $35,800, which is more than the county average of $28,132.

Company CEO Reggie Fountain said the state’s JDIG “played strongly” in its decision to relocate Baja boats to its existing North Carolina plant. Baja boats had been produced at a plant in Bucyrus, Ohio.

“In the past, we have made the world’s fastest boats to the highest standards of quality, using the best employees any manufacturer could hope for,” Fountain said in a statement. “(This) announcement means we’re going to make even more boats, employing more of these great people.”

This marks the 79th JDIG award announced since the program was started in 2002.

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