Gov. Nikki Haley lauded Fort Mill and York County for “rolling out the red carpet” to business Monday during a ribbon-cutting for Lash Group’s new headquarters.
Haley and local leaders attended an opening ceremony for the five-story, 250,000-square-foot Kingsley Park building, where company officials said they plan to double the 1,200-person work force by 2020.
The patient support services company, which employes about 3,500 nationwide, was founded in 1993 around a kitchen table in Charlotte by Peyton Howell and several others.
Howell, now employed with Lash Group’s parent company AmerisourceBergen, which acquired Lash in 1998, said that initial group of employees “needed a conference table and so we used my kitchen table.”
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The group wanted to start a business aimed at working with pharmaceutical companies to provide greater patient access to a growing line of therapeutic drugs, she said.
Those drugs included breakthrough medications to treat multiple sclerosis and medicines to inhibit the progress of AIDS, among others, she said.
But Howell said the medications were so new that many patients had trouble paying for them or obtaining the necessary coverage through insurance companies.
Tracy Foster, who joined the company in 1996 and is now president of Lash Group, said the company moved 1,200 jobs to the Fort Mill site when it relocated its headquarters from Charlotte to York County.
The company, which started construction of the new headquarters almost a year ago, moved into the new building during March, Foster said.
Foster said the company expects to add another 1,200 jobs at the Fort Mill headquarters by 2020, for a total of 2,400 jobs. She said the added jobs could be a mix of new positions or jobs moved from Charlotte.
Foster said the company is looking for people who are “motivated by making a difference in the lives of patients. You bring them, we will train them.”
Foster said the new building was constructed to be more environmentally friendly, with LEED green certification and a paperless approach to business.
Others who attended Monday’s celebration included U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney of Indian Land, state Sen. Greg Gregory of Lancaster, state Rep. Raye Felder of Fort Mill, and Fort Mill Mayor Guynn Savage.
Jennifer Becknell: 803-329-4077