Senator Thom Tillis (right) speaks with Bharat Forge North America CEO Ravi Nagarkar during a tour of the Bharat Forge Sanford facility on Monday. The day started with a visit by Tillis to Central Carolina Community College, and also included a tour of the Astellas facility at Central Carolina Enterprise Park.

U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) visited Central Carolina Community College as well as the Bharat Forge and Astellas plants on Monday, giving Lee County an opportunity to show off some of its newer industries as well as the workforce development tools in place to feed them.

The day began with a presentation from CCCC officials at the Dennis Wicker Civic Center at which college President Dr. Lisa Chapman and Vice President of Workforce Development Margaret Roberton discussed the school’s apprenticeship programs, its early college and Central Carolina Promise initiative, partnerships with both K-12 institutions and universities, and the Moore Manufacturing Center.

Afterwards, Tillis toured the Bharat Forge facility, which opened in 2021 and produces automotive parts, and Astellas, a gene therapy company which occupied the county’s first shell building at Central Carolina Enterprise Park in 2021 (originally under the name Audentes).

Also in attendance were Sanford Mayor Rebecca Wyhof Salmon, Lee County Board of Commissioners Chairman Kirk Smith, state Sen. Jim Burgin, and Sanford Area Growth Alliance CEO Jimmy Randolph.