Named for Charles Huber, the developer who constructed many of the brick houses that would later define the city, Huber Heights spans Montgomery and Miami counties in the Miami Valley region, just minutes away from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the I-70/I-75 interchange. Its motto? “Come Grow With Us.”
Regional and state leaders took that motto on the road to California a few years ago, and came back with a headquarters.
NDC Technologies, part of UK-based Spectris, is a global provider of precision measurement and control solutions for manufacturing processes, serving such markets as food, bulk and tobacco processing; film extrusion and converting; and metals, cable and tube products.
“NDC has been serving the industry’s leading manufacturers across the globe for over 50 years,” says Dave Roland, President of NDC Technologies. But the company needed to simplify its operations.
“We already had a manufacturing facility in Dayton, so the move made much sense,” he says. “Also, to streamline operations and customer service, we needed to reorganize our administrative structure. The relocation of our headquarters from California to Dayton provides the best possible customer service while growing our capabilities in the markets we serve. We needed a location that offered a more competitive business environment, a lower cost of living, access to talent and proximity to our suppliers and customers. We are focused on the long-term future of NDC, and this decision has helped us to further improve the company’s overall operations and enhance our competitive position for future growth.”
Personnel are realizing the benefits even faster. Though it’s a switch from California weather, Roland says, “We’ve heard positive comments such as lower cost of living, finding many things to do in the Dayton area and enjoying the amenities available in this region. The big change is the climate and adapting to Ohio living with all the four seasons. We hope that this experience continues to be positive and that they will remain with us for a long time.
While it’s one thing to adapt to the climate, the teamwork displayed by state and regional leaders left no doubt about the business climate.
“We received great support for this relocation project from local, state and private economic development entities such as the City of Huber Heights, Dayton Development Coalition and Jobs Ohio,” Roland says. “The collaboration among these organizations helped us to expedite the relocation process and facilitate a smooth process for expansion to business growth. During the initial phases of this large project, these organizations sent representatives to our Irwindale, California, office to answer employees’ questions about the benefits of moving to Ohio. The Dayton Development Coalition also assembled a welcome tour for more than two dozen employees visiting from California.”
Huber Heights City Manager Robert Schommer, one of several city managers in the region who once sported the police chief’s badge, sees the NDC project as a different badge of honor. After all, he says, “it’s a headquarters that is relocating from what’s thought to be a pretty good location in California.” The trip out west with the city’s regional partners proved crucial. And the trip inland by NDC staff has proved eye-opening.
“A home that is $750,000 to $1.2 million is a two- to three-bedroom ranch there,” Schommer says. “Some of our largest six-bedroom, 4,500-square-foot homes here you can get for $400,000 to $500,000.”
Core technologies in positioning, modeling, connectivity and data analytics are what Trimble provides to such industries such as agriculture, construction, geospatial and transportation and logistics. Globally, Trimble has more than 250 locations in over 40 countries, with around 11,000 employees. The company first entered the Dayton region in 2000 with the acquisition of Spectra Precision. In 2005, Trimble acquired Apache Technologies, also located in Dayton.
Those acquisitions, along with organic growth, have provided opportunities for the Dayton site to expand. In 2013, Trimble added a 130,000-sq.-ft. distribution warehouse. And in 2018, the company built a 69,000-sq.-ft. Development & Demonstration Dome for testing and training.
“The Huber Heights site is home to 550 employees that perform many functions including design, software and test engineering, along with support staff,” says Trimble Site Services Manager Tim Zimmerman. “In addition to our Fulfillment Center operations, the location has an emphasis on many of our heavy and civil construction related applications. These products lines require the need for testing year round, and the Dome was an ideal solution for testing and serving as a training center, which is in close proximity to the actual office location.”
Zimmerman is pleased with the quality of the workforce that continues to surface in the area too.
“Dayton/Huber Heights is a Trimble location that is rich in history and a significant part of our future, which is a result of the quality of our employees located in Ohio,” he says. “While the competition for talent has created challenges, we have found that the Greater Dayton area is attractive with a desirable tech talent pool. Many of the regional universities have programs focused on Supply Chain Management and Engineering, which support many of the areas of work that we perform in Ohio.”
And yes, as with NDC, the California-based Trimble has had success moving talent. “Some of the properties in Colorado and Ohio are owned by Trimble and are a part of our long-term strategy for the organization,” says Zimmerman. “All three of the states have ample outdoor activities year-round, universities with graduate-level programs, programs for the arts, professional sports teams, and many other attractive local activities and offerings.”
Rob Schommer and his team plan to keep business and lifestyle amenities not just affordable, but world class, as the city of 40,000 evolves from bedroom community to employment center, yet still retains that elusive quality of life. The city is seeing 125 new homes a year (the fastest rate in the region), and has welcomed around 800 units of market-rate multifamily development over the past three years. A $14 million water system improvement is softening the water quality while also creating a high-pressure zone along the I-70 corridor where more high-rack logistics operations have located. That sector, after all, has continued to be the city’s ace in the hole, ever since city leaders took the risk in purchasing 325 acres of land that became the Center Point 70 commercial and industrial park.
Amenities continue to fill in, including the Rose Music Center, and a new gateway area that better connects to the Wright-Patterson entrance area.
“When a business moves here,” Schommer says, “they have a sense of community. We embrace being a bedroom community 100%. The people of today’s workforce are looking for locations to live and work. We consider our philosophy building an ecosystem.”
This Investment Profile was prepared under the auspices of the City of Huber Heights. Contact Economic Development Coordinator Jason Foster at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 937-237-5818. For more information, visit www.hhoh.org.
Adam Bruns has served as managing editor of Site Selection magazine since February 2002. In the course of reporting hundreds of stories for Site Selection, Adam has visited companies and communities around the globe. A St. Louis native who grew up in the Kansas City suburbs, Adam is a 1986 alumnus of Knox College, and resided in Chicago; Midcoast Maine; Savannah, Georgia; and Lexington, Kentucky, before settling in the Greater Atlanta community of Peachtree Corners, where he lives with his wife and daughter.