IRELAND: US transport refrigeration company Thermo King has celebrated 40 years of its European operations centre in Shannon.
With the global business celebrating its 80th birthday this year, the Irish milestone was marked by a presentation by Shannon Commercial Properties, owners of the Shannon Free Zone.
Just two years after it set up its first European manufacturing facility in Galway, the company identified the need for a European distribution centre and selected the Shannon Free Zone international business park, which is adjacent to Shannon Airport. Established in 1959, the Shannon Free Zone was the world’s first Free Trade Zone.
Today, Thermo King operates out of a 57,000ft² premises in the Free Zone – double the size of its initial footprint – with just short of 40 employees.
To mark the occasion, Ray O’Driscoll, managing director of Shannon Group’s property wing, Shannon Commercial Properties made a presentation to the company of a sculpture by Achill Island artist Ronan Halpin.
Thermo King’s aftermarket EMEA distribution manager Michael Stratford, who oversees the operations at Shannon, said that the company’s investment in Co Clare has been mutually beneficial. “Back in 1978 there was a lot of incentives to come here but that’s not the story of why we are here all these years later. We are not here either because of our automation or the level of investment we have made in technology, both of which have been significant. We are here because of the people. Our people have a huge loyalty and commitment and they think like owners. They have a huge loyalty also to customers and that’s essential as they treat each and every one of them as if they are their own. Customers need that level of care.”