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SKC to employ 400 in 'first of its kind' Covington semiconductor part plant
New venture will ramp up production in 2023
SKC MOU signing
From left, Covington City Councilwoman Hawnethia Williams were among local officials joining First Lady Marty Kemp, Gov. Brian Kemp and SKC President Wanjac Lee during the signing of a ceremonial Memorandum of Understanding on July 9 'solidifying' the project and location of the planned semiconductor part plant in Covington. (Special | Georgia Department of Economic Development)

COVINGTON, Ga. — SKC Inc. will create more than 400 new jobs as it works with several business partners to manufacture a part for semiconductor chips in a new facility on its Covington site. 

The company will invest more than $473 million in this "unprecedented venture" to create glass-based substrates for the chips in Newton County, the governor's office announced today. 

SKC expects to ramp up production by late summer 2023, a news release stated. 

The new facility will be developed on the SKC property at 3000 SKC Drive and will primarily be hiring high-tech engineers, skilled technicians, and other semiconductor field-experienced talent, the release stated. 

Lanier Sims, chairman of the Newton County Industrial Development Authority, said, “Since the 1996 headquarters announcement, SK has been an integral business in Newton County's business mix. 

"SK is a key community partner through their commitment to service and education locally,” Sims said.

“SK is truly a pioneer that we are honored to have a long-term relationship with Newton County. The Industrial Development Authority is grateful for this announcement, and we believe this is a continuation of strong partnership and perseverance together.” 

Serra Hall, executive director of the Industrial Development Authority, said the project announced by the governor will be a new facility on the SKC site. 

She said COVID delayed the project but "we are grateful" the company continued to work on it in partnership with state and local economic development teams.

"We are grateful to the city of Covington for their partnership," Hall said.

Covington Mayor Steve Horton said the impact of an expected investment of $473 million and more than 400 "well-paying jobs" means he expects "to see improved economic development indicators at many levels locally." 

Horton added that current upgrade plans for sewer capacity in northeast Covington "already takes into consideration this projected use."

"We are grateful for SKC's continued investment in this community and we look forward to a continued, long and prosperous partnership with them," Horton said.

Founded in 1976 as a specialty material company, SKC has expanded its business areas through continuous innovation. 

The South Korea-based company announced in 1996 it planned to build its Covington plant. It began operations in 1999 to produce polyester PET film, which is used for everything from printing to food storage, according to its website.

It broke ground on a polyurethane systems plant in 2009 and began production the following year. 

Since it began operations in Covington, the facility off Hazelbrand Drive has become one of the major PET film producers in North America, providing high-quality, environmentally friendly service as a base-film market leader, a news release stated.

The Covington plant currently manufactures a variety of Skyrol brand polyester films on four production lines, according to the company's LinkedIn page.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the facility also pivoted manufacturing to produce face shields and other PPE safety products, the release stated. 

Sung Jin Kim, SKC director of New Business Development, served as a research professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at Georgia Tech from 2012 to 2015. 

Kim helped develop the glass substrate technology through research conducted at Georgia Tech Packaging Research Center by working with the Center Team and global semiconductor supply chain companies. 

“SKC strived to develop innovative technology solutions by working with major U.S.-based semiconductor players for many years," Kim said. 

"The initial scientific research outcomes at Georgia Tech greatly inspired our disruptive, glass-based semiconductor solutions,” Kim said. 

“Our new technology will be key in enabling utmost performance with minimal power consumptions for high-performance computing, as well as for high-speed communication applications, and this technology is scalable for many other technology needs," Kim said. "Georgia will be a basecamp for SKC’s AI and high-speed data center semiconductor applications.” 

Gov. Brian Kemp announced the project today, Oct. 28.

“This announcement is a prime example of Georgia being at the forefront of addressing one of our nation’s most pressing supply chain roadblocks, which has affected so many U.S. manufacturers," Kemp said. 

"This decision by SKC speaks not only to the success they have found since first locating in Georgia, but also to the shared commitment we have in creating bold, innovative solutions right here in our state. Georgia’s workforce is trained, skilled, and ready to excel in the jobs of the future,” he said.

A ceremonial Memorandum of Understanding was signed in July between the state of Georgia and SKC solidifying the project and location, a news release stated. 

Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson said, “SKC’s investment in Newton County, Georgia, will directly support the desperately needed domestic manufacturing of semiconductors. 

"It also speaks to the level of commitment Georgia brings to the table and the assets we provide companies seeking success here," Wilson said. 

"To be able to announce that SK Group, one of the first Korean investors in Georgia, is once again choosing to do business here is yet another testament to the thriving relationship between our countries. Congratulations to all of our economic development partners involved." 

He said Georgia Tech is "one of the premier research universities in the world and always on the forefront of leading-edge technologies and innovation." 

"This announcement is a prime example of how investments into our academic assets not only drive economic development in Georgia, but can also contribute to finding solutions to global problems,” Wilson said. 

Ángel Cabrera, president of Georgia Tech, said, “Since its founding, Georgia Tech has been a powerful engine of economic development and technological innovation in our state.”

“We’re delighted that Georgia Tech’s investment in packaging research and advanced circuitry over the last 25 to 30 years has contributed to Georgia’s selection as the best place for the company to manufacture their state-of-the-art semiconductor technology. 

"We look forward to further collaboration so we can work together to lead the region in developing the best engineering talent to work in this crucially important field.”

Yoonie Kim, who is the Department of Economic Development's director of Korean Investment, represented the Global Commerce division in partnership with the Newton County Industrial Development Authority, Georgia Power, Georgia Quick Start, the University System of Georgia and Georgia Tech on the project.