From The Asheville Citizen-Times
Diamond Brand plans to add up to 20 new jobs under a new contract to make tents for the military, the company said this week.
The 130-year-old company will make 2,100 soldier crew tents for DLA Troop Support in the next year under a government contract worth $2.7 million.
It’s the latest military contract for the Henderson County company, which employs 65 people. It also runs two retail shops.
The bid process was open to any business, which is different than other government contracts the company has won. In the past, the contracts had been restricted to certain kinds of businesses.
The bid was also for the lowest price, another challenge. The company normally wins government contracts based on best quality, said CEO Will Gay.
But Diamond Brand had an edge since with its experience.
“We are the only people who have ever manufactured the product for the government in the past,” he said. “We had a pretty good handle on what the basement price was.”
The tent, which weighs 100 pounds, is designed for tank and armored personnel carrier crews. It sleeps four and can be used in weather ranging from -64 degrees to 120 degrees.
Gay said he plans to add jobs in the middle of the fourth quarter. He said those interested should check with the employment security commission.
The jobs pay between $9.50 and $15 an hour. The company offers medical and dental benefits and a 401k investment plan.
Manufacturing experience is not necessary an sometimes it is better not to have any, he said.
“We found with the right people, the right attitude and the right aptitude, we can train them to be some of our better employees because they don’t come in with strong opinions on how something has to be done,” Gay said.
He said the company’s military work has grown since 2000 though the sequester has made the contracts fewer and harder to get.
The company is also the exclusive maker of wall tents for the Boy Scouts of America.
The company in 2011 added about 25 jobs with a U.S. Marine Corps contact to make tents. It is still working under that contract, which is part of the reason new hires will be needed to fulfill the new contract.
Over the past decade, Diamond Brand has sewn about 90,000 of the tents for troops. Under the Berry Amendment, textiles produced for the U.S. military must be made domestically.
The new jobs are the latest in good economic news for Henderson County.
Auto parts maker Continental this week announced it would add 40 jobs at its plant in Fletcher.