Company leases lab space at NCRC
By Emily Ford
KANNAPOLIS ó Activity is picking up at the N.C. Research Campus.
A Charlotte-based polymer company has leased a 3,000-square-foot lab at the Research Campus in Kannapolis, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture today will award the campus $1.1 million to launch a program for graduate students.
Development stalled at the Research Campus during the recession.
Mallard Creek Polymers already has moved into the N.C. State University building in Kannapolis, where the company will employ 10 people. The timing of Wednesday’s announcement about the business coincides with campus founder David Murdock’s visit this week.
“This bodes well for the rest of Cabarrus County and the Research Campus,” said John Cox, president of the Cabarrus Economic Development Commission, which helped recruit Mallard Creek Polymers.
The EDC became aware about six months ago that the company was considering an expansion in the Charlotte region, Cox said.
“We worked with the folks on the campus and made a persuasive case,” he said.
Mallard Creek chose Kannapolis because the design of the Research Campus will enable the company to quickly develop customized products, Vice President Dan Neri said.
“In this unique setting, we will be able to access top talent and equipment in the development, testing and completion of our new products and ideas,” Neri said in a press release.
Mallard Creek is a good example of the potential of the Research Campus to attract companies that need both research and manufacturing capabilities, Cox said. This company can use research space in downtown Kannapolis and then open manufacturing space elsewhere in Cabarrus County, he said.
Mallard Creek produces and sells a wide range of specialty styrene-butadiene and acrylic emulsion products for a variety of industries, including adhesives, textiles, personal care, specialty paper and construction.
The 40-year-old company employs 80 people.
Polymers are compounds made up of many molecules strung together to form a chain. Leather and rubber are examples of natural polymers, while nylon and polyesters are synthetic polymers.
Mallard Creek’s products are used in paint, upholstery, flooring and more. The company has products that resist heat and ultraviolet rays and one that prevents cement yard ornaments from yellowing.
The company is one of more than a dozen private firms at the Research Campus, which also includes branches of eight North Carolina universities and a community college.
“Our business plan involves mixing public institutions and private industry to create an atmosphere of innovation,” Clyde Higgs, vice president of business development for campus developer Castle & Cooke, said in a statement. “Adding a firm like Mallard Creek Polymers helps us achieve this goal.”