Local Axalta plant celebrates 35 years in region

Axalta Coating Systems Inc. celebrated 150 years in business on Monday at its manufacturing facility at 7961 Winchester Road in Warren County.

The plant held a celebration as well, commemorating 35 years of being in business in the area. Michael Lewis, human resources manager for the local plant, said the event was well attended.

“It went well; we had roughly 500 people come,” Lewis said. “Axalta employees, contractors, friends, family members, retirees – we had a good mix of activities for kids, with inflatables and bounce houses and things like that. We had a lot of food and allowed people who came to take a tour of Axalta.”

Axalta, formerly known as DuPont prior to a 2013 rebranding, manufactures refinishing paint for car repair shops at its plant in Warren County.

“We make automotive coatings for light vehicle, heavy duty truck companies and some additional industrial equipment,” Lewis said. “Primarily it’s light vehicles – cars and trucks. We make paint on the refinish segment. We supply material for collision repair centers throughout the county. … If you get into an accident or you need to get some detailing done, they would use our product to re-coat a car.”

Lewis noted that despite widespread instances of manufacturing operations going under, Axalta, which employs about 400 people between staff and contractors, is different.

“We think it (Axalta’s longevity) is exceptional,” Lewis said. “Manufacturing plants come and go and I think some of the media says manufacturing jobs are in decline. We’re an exception to that. We’re a well-paying skilled workforce here. … We have a number of employees, approximately 25 that have been here from startup and we have a pretty senior workforce – the average seniority is 17 years.”

Lewis said that Axalta has always been a member of the community in Front Royal and Warren County.

“We participate in the local chamber of commerce, we’re also an active member in the local rotary chapter. We recruit from this area, we look for skilled operators and engineers around here…,” he said.

Contact staff writer Nathan Budryk at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or nbudryk@nvdaily.com