National Pen to expand its global HQ in Dundalk, spawning 200 jobs

20 Sep 2013

National Pen, a manufacturer and marketer of promotional products, is planning to take on another 200 employees at its base in Dundalk, Co Louth, between now and 2017 as the result of an expansion.

The expansion will see the Florida-founded company, which has had a presence in Ireland since 1987, bring its workforce in Dundalk to almost 500 permanent employees.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny, TD, and Jobs Minister Richard Bruton, TD, are in Dundalk this morning to formally announce National Pen’s expansion plans. The Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, through IDA Ireland, is supporting the new roles.

National Pen is planning to create 200 permanent jobs at its base in Xerox Technology Park, bringing its permanent workforce to 459 by the end of 2017.

These new jobs are to be split between sales, customer services, manufacturing, technical and administrative functions.

As for the company itself, National Pen was set up in 1966 in Florida. Its US HQ is now based in San Diego, California.

National Pen started its global expansion in 1987 with the opening of its Irish facility in Dundalk.

Initially founded to service the US market, National Pen has more than $230m in revenues and now also has operations in Mexico, Tennessee, France and China.

The company has serviced many well-known brands over the years, such as Disney and Euro Disney, the NFL, the NBA and Guinness.

As a direct marketing company, National Pen uses mail order as its primary go-to-market channel. 

It also draws upon its telesales and web channels. The company now has more than 1m active customers who sell more than 300m personalised products on an annual basis.

National Pen’s 25th anniversary in Ireland

Peter Kelly, senior vice-president of National Pen, spoke about how the company celebrated 25 years of business in Dundalk last year. At the time, National Pen transited to a new custom-designed facility in Dundalk to accommodate the growth of its international business and the demand for its products.

“Ireland is a great location from which to service our global markets. We have enjoyed a very positive experience in Ireland over the years due to the pro-business environment, the availability of skilled staff and the support of IDA Ireland,” said Kelly.

From Ireland, National Pen services 19 countries. These include Germany, France, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Spain, Japan and South Korea

Kenny described the jobs news as being “fantastic” for Dundalk and the surrounding area in Co Louth.

“National Pen is a key export-oriented company and announcements like this are a significant signal of Ireland’s strengths as a location for investment – our people, our pro-business policies and our proximity to European markets,” he said.

Bruton, meanwhile, described the move by National Pen as being a great boost for Ireland and for the north-east region of the country.

Barry O’Leary, CEO, IDA Ireland, said National Pen has been a long-term IDA Ireland client, with the company having demonstrated a stable track record over many years in Dundalk.  

“This project represents a major statement of confidence by National Pen in the capabilities of Dundalk and Ireland to direct and support its future international growth,” he said.

Carmel Doyle
By Carmel Doyle

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic. She reported on clean tech, innovation and start-ups, covering everything from renewable energy to electric vehicles, the smart grid, nanotech, space exploration, university spin-outs and technology transfer.

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