BREVARD – A personal passion to help North Carolinians engage with nature and to support North Carolina’s multi-billion dollar outdoor recreation industry has taken several fruitful turns in recent months for SylvanSport President Tom Dempsey.

At work inside SylvanSport

After several years of collaborative deep-diving between Dempsey, his entrepreneurial colleagues of the Outdoor Gear Builders of Western North Carolina, and leaders in Colorado, Utah, and Washington state, the group successfully persuaded the North Carolina Department of Commerce to open the Office of Outdoor Recreation as of Jan. 1, and North Carolina Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland recently named David Knight the state’s Outdoor Industry Recruitment Director

State officials joined the Western North Carolina community in Brevard for a groundbreaking ceremony on Jan. 19 for the new Sylvan Valley Industrial Center (SVIC). The SVIC is anchored by Dempsey’s company SylvanSport, a fast-growing manufacturer of innovative, next-generation RVs. Dempsey’s commitment to the mission of the SVIC dates back two years when he and his team began working closely with the Transylvania Economic Alliance to make this nearly $5 million project a reality.

The 60,750 square foot SVIC will sit on 7 acres with additional space available in the center as well. For companies in need of manufacturing space and the opportunity to be fed by a critical mass of thought-leaders like Dempsey and his team, this is welcome news.

Jeremy Owen, Chairman, Transylvania Economic Alliance says: “With unparalleled access to world-class hiking, camping, cycling, fishing and climbing Brevard, NC is located at the epicenter for outdoor recreation in the United States. We are thrilled for this collaborative project and to officially begin construction on a facility that will soon be home to SylvanSport, one of the premier designers and manufacturers of outdoor gear in the world. SylvanSport not only creates gear that promotes an outdoor lifestyle, but from the beginning, the company has made it a priority to make those products in a community which mirrors their love for the outdoors. We are so excited for this unique partnership and congratulate the company for their growth, investment and commitment to our community.”

A growing business

From a 3,000 sq. ft. office and design space in Cedar Mountain, Dempsey and the SylvanSport team set out to create the most innovative camping trailer in the world. That was 2004, and now, 14 years later, SylvanSport has outgrown its 18,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Brevard.

What will they do with more space?

SylvanSport designer and marketing chief Seyl Park says that the facility will house the increased production of the GO camper line and a major expansion of new products set to release in 2018.

The center will also serve as their international headquarters where SylvanSport expects to double its workforce over the next two years.

“Brevard and Transylvania County have a long history of quality manufacturing operations,” Dempsey said. “We look forward to completing this new facility and SylvanSport’s future as part of the next generation of advanced industry in the community.”