CDE Global to bring 200 jobs back to Monkstown site by December
The founder of Tyrone manufacturing firm CDE Global has created 100 new jobs at the former Caterpillar site in Monkstown since October, and remains on course to double that figure by Christmas.
The Cookstown company acquired the 300,000 sq ft facility outside Belfast last year in a bid to address the skills shortage it has faced in Mid Ulster.
CDE Global recently unveiled its new headquarters in Cookstown, with plans to add 150 jobs there by 2020.
But Co Down man Tony Convery, who set up the materials processing company in 1992, said he has had to move into other parts of Northern Ireland to realise CDE's growth ambitions.
Speaking after winning the top prize at the Belfast Telegraph Business Awards last Thursday night, the company chairman said: "We've had to move out of the Mid Ulster area, because there aren't enough heads in the area for our ambition.
"We're more ambitious than just Mid Ulster."
He said the Monkstown move had worked very well for CDE, which has established itself as one of the world's leading manufacturers of wet processing equipment for the quarrying, mining and waste recycling industries.
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"A lot of big companies are just closing down and moving stuff to China, Poland and Mexico.
"We decided to take an opportunity in Monkstown. We bought the facility, it's 300,000 sq ft of production space. It would be an awful pity to see that just turned into a storage depot of some description.
"It has overhead cranes, it has all the faculties. It also has a fantastic skill base."
Mr Convery confirmed that CDE has recruited skilled workers recently made redundant by major manufacturing companies in Belfast and Co Antrim, including Caterpillar, Schlumberger, Bombardier and the Wrights Group.
"We've had a lot of people come over from a number of different companies, people who were made unemployed.
"It's not nice, but some people have really good skills," he said.
"I just happen to have a talent for entrepreneurship and for making things work, and people like to latch onto something that's successful."
Caterpillar first announced its plan to exit Monkstown in 2016, with up to 250 staff affected by the phased closure. The site had been a sub-manufacturer of generators for the group.
The CDE Global chairman said he expects his firm to dramatically reverse the fortunes of the site, with plans to eventually employ 300 staff at the facility.
"We started from zero on October 1, 2018 and we now have just over 100 and we hope to take that to 200 by Christmas, and probably 250 to 300 after that," he said.
"There's loads of talent in that area. People who really want a job, who want to turn out good work and they're proud of what we do.
"They just love our place and we're trying to make more jobs for more people in that area and in the Cookstown area and whatever area we can get our hands on.
"We create a positive environment for people to work in and we give people every opportunity to make the most of their talent and from that we'll build a manufacturing base in Northern Ireland second to none."