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Gov. Murphy touts new jobs at Amazon Fulfillment Center in Edison

Sep 24, 2018

EDISON – Touting new jobs and innovative technology and sustainability methods, Gov. Phil Murphy toured the newest Amazon Edison Fulfillment Center Monday.

Along with several other elected officials and community leaders, Murphy got a birds-eye view from the indoor catwalk of the 900,000-square-foot facility before taking to the roof to check out the solar panel farm on top.

The new center is the eighth Amazon facility in the state, since it first launched “Operation New Jersey” in 2012. More than 16,000 full-time staff are employed by Amazon, Murphy said, making it one of the state’s largest employers.

The governor said there is “no doubt” that the New Jersey-Amazon relationship a “win-win.”

“We are talking about creating jobs,” Murphy said. “We are officially celebrating here today about 900,000 square feet of economic progress. It’s home to more than 2,000 full-time jobs with solid benefits and a project site which created hundreds of more jobs for those in the construction trades. When a company like Amazon understands their ability to positively impact a community they know a decision like where to locate this facility, you could improve both your bottom line and improve ours as well.”

“(This is) a relationship that I hope becomes even stronger over time,” Murphy added.

According to General Manager Alex Urankar, the facility, which was completed in October 2017, utilizes Amazon robotics technology and processes to better allow associates to “meet and exceed our customer’s expectations.”

“We are seeing a deepening of New Jersey’s innovation economy thanks to Amazon,” Murphy said of the technology used at the facility. “The advanced transportation and logistics sector is one we have pegged for growth and with this center you can say we are off and running. This facility has one foot squarely in the clean energy economy. There is advanced robotics at work alongside all of the other systems and getting 20 percent of the energy off the roof is pretty darn impressive. “

Murphy stressed the Amazon opening proves that New Jersey has “everything right here that a global company like Amazon needs.”

“We have a great workforce — eager, smart and skilled,” said Murphy, who along with others on the tour signed one of the solar panels to commemorate the occasion. “We have a location that is second to none — easily connected to markets of tens of millions of customers and we have a commitment to innovation. This is a growing part of our state’s  economy and it is how to  build a stronger economy — one that embraces forward looking businesses and creates good family supporting jobs.”

Along with Murphy, Mayor Thomas Lankey, Council President Ajay Patil, Council Vice President Leonard Sendelsky, councilmen Alvaro Gomez and Samip Joshi, state Assembly members Robert J. Karabinchak (D-18th District) and Nancy Pinkin (D-18th District) and state Sen. Pat Diegnan Jr. (D-18th District) were on hand to tour the new facility.

“What they (Amazon) has done for our community is enormous and its only been a year,” said Lankey, who compared the facility to a Disney excursion. “So I can only imagine what it is going to be.”

Sustainability for renewable energy

The solar rooftop is Amazon’s 19th installation in the United States. The 4.12 MW DC system has 12,654 solar panels on the roof generating 22 percent of the building’s annual energy needs. According to Greg Michaelson, Amazon Solar Project manager, they placed as many panels as were allowed on the rooftop to power the facility.

“The project here took about six months to build and we had about 60 local electricians from Local 456 come out and help build the project,” said Michaelson, who added many solar project partners helped make the endeavor possible.

Amazon Worldwide Director of Sustainability Kara Hurst said Amazon’s goal is to place similar solar rooftop energy generating systems on 50 of their buildings by 2020.

“We are well on our way to that with 19 operational systems in North America and more in Europe and India,” Hurst said. “This is part of a big investment that Amazon is making. Our solar commitment is key to our overall commitment on renewable energy.”

Amazon has a long-term goal of powering their global infrastructure using 100 percent renewable energy.

“We know it’s good for our company, it’s good for our customers, it’s good for the planet and it’s great for the communities in which we operate,” Hurst added.

Pinkin found Amazon’s insistence on using renewable energy, robotics and its push for sustainability impressive.

“This is a great corporate company to have in the community,” Pinkin said. “As Chair of the Environment Committee, I find it interesting to to note their efforts on sustainability. Using 20 percent of energy — think of a facility this size. A corporation that can depend on itself where energy is concerned is crucial. They are really trying to get their carbon footprint down.”

More jobs

The Amazon Edison Fulfillment Center, located at 2170 Route 27, not only created more than 2,500 full-time jobs, but allowed for thousands of jobs in construction and services to the area.

“Since 2011, Amazon has invested more than $4 billion in the state through its customer fulfillment infrastructure and its compensation to its teams,” Urankar said. “Amazon estimates its investments in the state have created an additional 9,000 indirect jobs on top of the company’s direct hires.”

Saying that “spiderweb impact of Amazon is almost unlike that of any other company,” Murphy added that Amazon has created numerous opportunities for smaller businesses and organizations. According to Urankar, Amazon’s fulfillment network supports millions of businesses of all sizes worldwide through the “Fulfillment By Amazon offering.”

“Many of these local organizations are based right here in New Jersey,”  Urankar said.

Amazon full-time associates receive benefits, including health, vision and dental care, maternity and family leave and a network of support, beginning on their first day on the job, said Urankar, a former U.S. Marine who joined Amazon three years ago after seven years in the military. There also are 401K and 50-percent match programs, Amazon stock and bonuses, education programs such as Career Choice which pay 95 percent of tuition for employees to go back to school in fields that are in high demand regardless of whether the skills are relevant to jobs at Amazon.

“The thing I love most about the Marines is the service leadership and we are all about taking care of people,” said Urankar, . “When I decided to transition into business, I looked for a company with the same values and practiced them — that’s what led me to Amazon.”

Striving to not only be a good employer, but also a good neighbor, the new facility helps support local communities where associates live and work. More than 31,000 state nonprofit organizations are aided by shopping on AmazonSmile and specifically, the corporation has donated “hundreds of thousands of dollars in New Jersey through monetary and in-kind donations to the South Jersey Food Bank, local public schools and area non-profits, including the North Brunswick-based Triple C Housing, which serves needs of individuals with disabilities based in North Brunswick.

“This means much needed support for vital nonprofit organizations and programs,” Murphy said. “This is an example of good corporate citizenship.”

Staff Writer Cheryl Makin