Existing Industry – Eastern Carolina Vocational Center
Name: Jason Thomas
Position/Title: VP – Customer Acquisition & Retention
Business Name: ECVC
Where, in Pitt County, is your business located: Greenville, NC
1. Tell us about your business/company.
Founded in 1965, ECVC is the largest employment services organization for persons with disabilities in Eastern North Carolina. ECVC holds more than a dozen federal contracts for hundreds of items across multiple product lines. We are the largest supplier of batteries to the United States Military. We are a prime manufacturer of picture frames and battery terminal adapters. We partner with a variety of commercial businesses, both locally and internationally, to handle their warehousing, packaging, kitting, assembly, manufacturing and shipping needs. ECVC also provides janitorial services to the Pitt County offices, courthouse and other facilities, as well as to several local businesses and churches. ECVC’s job placement service is free to employers and we place 80-90 persons with disabilities at other companies each year.
2. How long has your business been operating in Pitt County?
3. Was your business originally established in Pitt County? Or did it expand/relocated to Pitt County? Please explain.
We have always been located in Pitt County.
4. What do you like about doing business in Pitt County?
We love to partner with other local businesses by helping them solve a problem or meet a need. Whether that means storing their product, taking on a packaging or assembly job that might be slowing them down, or placing qualified employees at their business, we are happy to consult on meeting any need. We take pride in being part of the industrial and economic fabric of Pitt County and are invested in growing the local business community so that all Pitt County businesses can succeed.
5. How has doing business, in general, changed in this area over the years?
The local business community has grown and become more diverse over the years. Many of the older industrial plants have closed or transitioned to new businesses. The medical, pharmaceutical and technical industries have grown and the workforce has become better educated. The focus on growing local businesses and keeping business local is positive for Pitt County and there is a renewed effort on several fronts to recruit and retain businesses.
6. How many people do you employ?
7. What kind of employment do you offer? What are the range of positions?
ECVC has a wide range of positions, including forklift drivers, machine operators, packagers, material handlers, custodians, shipping clerks, maintenance technicians and others. We also employ a full professional staff, including job placement specialists, accounting professionals, IT staff, customer care associates, engineers, production planners, PR/marketing professionals and a variety of supervisors, managers and other leadership positions.
8. What is your favorite thing about living/operating a business in Pitt County?
Being part of the business community and working with other local businesses to build mutually beneficial relationships is very rewarding. Pitt County has a variety of large and small businesses and a vibrant business community.
9. Outside of the business climate, what do you like about Pitt County?
We have a unique proximity to the coast and to the RDU area. Greenville is a medical and educational hub and there have been great strides in revitalizing the downtown (“uptown”) area.
10. Any interesting facts about your business?
ECVC is the largest supplier of batteries, picture frames and battery terminal adapters to the US Armed Forces. ECVC is the largest employer of persons with disabilities in Eastern NC and is one of Pitt County’s largest manufacturing employers. ECVC operates about 20 different lines of business, from a variety of federal and commercial packaging contracts, manufacturing, warehousing and shipping a variety of products, to janitorial service, recycling and job placement services.
11. Has your business expanded over the years? If so, how? (new infrastructure, new technology, etc.)
Yes. ECVC is currently undertaking a major capital improvement campaign to modernize our HVAC system, replacing a number of units and updating our electrical system. We have added several new machines in recent years, including a Gerber cutting table, a Starview multi-station rotary blister sealing machine and a computerized mat cutting machine. We have added a variety of new commercial products, including manufacturing rain barrels, packaging dental kits, warehousing spices and seasonings, baby blankets and toys. We have added federal contracts for packaging pushpins, thumbtacks and pipe cleaners and have expanded our federal battery contracts to include a variety of additional batteries.
12. Anything else you would like to tell us about your business experience in Pitt County?
ECVC has focused more and more on partnering with the local business community in recent years. We hosted a Chamber Business After Hours in 2017 and are part of the new Greenville ENC Alliance economic development initiative. We now partner with seven Eastern Carolina businesses – most from Pitt County – to manufacture, package, assemble, warehouse and/or ship their products. We also place about 80 persons with disabilities at other Pitt County businesses each year and follow up with them and their employers to ensure a successful employment relationship. Our job placement services are performed free of charge to employers.