Fresh off a trip to South Korea, the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce has announced that it’s honoring long-time investor Doosan Industrial Vehicle with an international award at its annual dinner in January.
Gwinnett officials including county Chair Charlotte Nash and newly appointed chamber CEO Nick Masino visited Doosan’s global headquarters in Seoul in October, announcing that the company would expand its North American headquarters in Buford, nearly doubling its employee count and adding 50,000 square feet to an updated parts warehouse.
In the short term, the company plans to create 25 new jobs by the end of 2021. The Gwinnett operation houses sales, marketing and logistics departments.
The company, which makes forklifts and other material handling equipment, is set to be honored with the chamber’s Jim Maran International Award, named after the former chamber CEO with broad experience working in Asia.
Mr. Maran led the chamber in 2009, when Gwinnett finalized a sister-community agreement with Gangnam, an upscale district of Seoul later popularized around the world in the mega-hit song “Gangnam Style.”
Gwinnett leaders used their October trip to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the relationship and call on prospects as well as companies that have invested in the county. Read Global Atlanta’s report from 2009 on the relationship
Doosan Industrial Vehicle is a division of the Doosan Group, a 120-year-old conglomerate which makes everything from excavators to wind turbines and has 40,000-plus employees in 38 countries. Rapid global expansion saw international sales rise from 12 percent in 1988 to 66 percent today, fueled in part by acquisitions.
Doosan Infracore, the heavy equipment division, purchased the Bobcat brand from Ingersoll-Rand in 2007 for $4.9 billion, moving the headquarters to Charlotte, N.C., from Suwanee, Ga. At the time it was the largest overseas purchase in South Korean history.
The acquisition strategy has played out on a smaller scale for Doosan Industrial Vehicle, whose material handling division has picked up two Georgia companies — All-Lift of Georgia in Fayetteville and American Forklift in Austell— as part of a plan to deal directly with corporate customers across the metro Atlanta area.
Gwinnett’s October trip came on the heels of Gov. Brian Kemp’s first overseas mission in July to South Korea, which has unleashed a wave of investment since finalizing an updated trade agreement with the U.S. last September.
Georgia, already home to major players like Kia Motors and LG, won what figures to be its biggest foreign investment ever from Korea last year: a nearly $1.7 billion SK Innovation plant set to build electric vehicle batteries. Hanwha Q CELLS, a solar panel manufacturer, in October held a grand opening attended by the governor at its $150 million plant in Dalton.
Gwinnett is home to the majority of the Koreans in the state, with some estimates putting the Korean-American population in the county at upwards of 100,000.