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      SiMT key in luring gun company to Horry County

      Florence Darlington Technical College's Southeastern Institute Manufacturing and Technology facility played a huge role in Ithaca Gun Company locating to Horry County, according to Brad Loften, President of the Myrtle Beach Regional Development Corporation.

      The Ohio based company is expected to bring 120 jobs to the county when it is fully operational.

      It's chosen a site in Cool Springs Business Park near Aynor for its facility to manufacture shotguns and rifles.

      Loften says Ithaca was most impressed with SiMT, which trains students for skills with high tech machines,welding and engineering.

      "Every client that we have taken through there, leaves that facility with their jaw dropped, and the caliber of training there. Machine shop and machine operating and welding, 3D printing, which is one of the things that Ithaca needs in order to manufacture their product. They're training it, they're doing it right here in Florence. That may have been the leading variable involved in them locating here," said Lofton.

      SiMT Director Jack Roach says the facility has helped to lure several industries to the Pee Dee since it was built in 2007.

      "We've had Otis Elevator, Johnson Controls, Monster. Com, Hines who have come to the area since the SiMT has been open. And we've worked with many of those companies in some of their original training needs and worker hiring," said Roach.

      SiMT is one of the premier industrial training facilities in the country.