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Filmwerks Expanding In Pender, Plans More Hires This Year

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted Jan 21, 2020

Rocky Point-based Filmwerks International Inc. is opening a new warehouse next month that will expand its Pender County base on top of plans to add employees this year.

The moves are all part of the company's strategy for growth in 2020, said Michael Satrazemis, CEO and president of Filmwerks, a company that builds sets and provides an array of other services and equipment for the broadcast, events and entertainment industry.

The 20,000-square-foot addition will be next to Filmwerks' existing building at 589 Carver Drive.

The company spent about $1.7 million on the building costs and on nearly 15 acres the company bought a couple of years ago to expand, Satrazemis said.

“We have the capability ... basically for about 300,000 more square feet,” Satrazemis said. “We have plans for growth and plans for expansion in Pender. We love it out there. We can grow significantly, and we bought far more land than what we needed for that very reason.”

The company will have about 170,000 square feet of warehousing and office space in Rocky Point. Besides the buildings at 589 Carver Drive, Filmwerks also has warehouse space in the nearby Cape Fear Industrial Complex.

The new space will be used for storing cable and electrical distribution equipment and portable air conditioning equipment. A third of the building will be used for the company's uninterruptible power supply (UPS) business.

The company is growing its small- and large-scale battery storage elements business to help reduce the use of diesel or fossil fuel generators and be able to utilize utility power, Satrazemis said.

“We’re in the diesel generator business, and we are trying real hard to mitigate a lot of this fuel burn," Satrazemis said. "By being able to store power in batteries and selectively use our generators and be able to use utility power, we’re really trying to cut back on the fuel."

Besides the new building, the company is growing its manufacturing capabilities at its Pender County site with the addition of new machinery and technology, including 3D-printing capabilities, said Aaron Frye, Filmwerks vice president of operations.

“Metalworking. Woodworking. We just built a pretty elaborate paint booth. We’re getting ready to build another one that will be even bigger. All these things take employees,” Satrazemis said.

The company has 150 employees companywide, with about 100 locally based, and plans to hire an additional 20 employees this year to help keep up with business demands.

“We will grow through acquisition as we have in the past couple of years,” Satrazemis said. “We are continuing to look for other strategic companies that can give us more growth. We want to grow geographically.”

With the acquisition last fall of Nevada-based, power equipment firm Legacy Power Services, Filmwerks now has a more international reach. The company is diving more into the concert tours industry and has gained equipment in Saudi Arabia, Europe and Australia to deploy as tours go out, Frye said.

“We do some live concert business; we provide power for people like the Rolling Stones or Garth Brooks," Satrazemis said. "Legacy does power all over the world. So now we are capable of taking a concert that starts here in the U.S., or one that starts in Europe and comes to the U.S., and have continuity."

Upcoming concerts they are supplying equipment for include Paul McCartney's tour, Satrazemis said.

“That’s a business that’s out there. Legacy needed us, and we needed them. Now we have a lot of horsepower behind it because we have the gear, the equipment and the people to really go out there and grow that business,” Satrazemis said.

The company also moved into a 52,000-square-foot warehouse in Las Vegas at the end of December. ​The warehouse will serve Filmwerks' power, structure and scenic divisions, Frye said.

A lot of the growth for 2020 will be driven by the scenic set design division, along with growth of its structures division and development in battery storage and other things on the power side, Frye said.

Filmwerks also opened a 27,000-square-foot warehouse in September in Gallatin, Tennessee, near Nashville to mainly serve its power division and fleet maintenance.

The company's recent locations in Nevada and Tennessee add to its presence in Brooklyn, New York, and the Rocky Point heaquarters in Pender County.

The recent growth builds on an already busy year for Filmwerks, with jobs lined up for the 2020 Super Bowl in Miami, the PGA Tour, March Madness, and a slate of jobs for the 2020 election year, including the Republican and Democratic national conventions.

“These are big jobs. They are significant revenue jobs,” Satrazemis said, adding that they are already working on the 2021 inauguration. “So 2020 is going to be a pretty big year.”

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