The President’s Pen is a weekly blog written by Jonathan Smith, New Vision’s President and CEO about local economic development projects and initiatives. It also covers economic trends, workforce issues, business climate policies, and manufacturing news.
Over the last couple months we have been quietly working with two local companies that are starting or expanding operations in Yakima County. It is exciting to see these firms move forward on projects that will add significantly to local payrolls.
The Moxee area is poised to become home to a new commercial brewery in Moxee. Bale Breaker Brewing Company is being started by the Smith family, who operate Loftus Ranches and have been growing hops for over 80 years. The new brewery will be located near the corner of Birchfield Road and State Highway 24. In order to locate at this site, the City of Moxee plans to extend a water line approximately 10,000 feet to the company's planned facility. The Yakima County Supporting Investments in Economic Diversification (SIED) program is helping the City and private developers fund the water line extension project. Bale Breaker plans to distribute their ales throughout Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho. The company will start with 5-10 employees and expect to employ 20-25 as the business gets established.
Amtech Corporation is also growing again. The company is leasing a building next to their current facility in the Wapato Industrial Park. As this older 60,000 square foot industrial building gets renovated, Amtech will use 20,000 square feet immediately and has an appetite to fill the rest of the facility. Amtech is a diversified manufacturer of composite parts and assemblies. The company makes products for the military including hardtops for Humvees, as well as cargo trailers and covers. Amtech also manufactures components for trains, buses, lift booms and recreational vehicles (to name just a few product lines). As the company moves into a renovated building it plans to add 20 employees this year and another 20 in 2013. This will bring the headcount up to 220 employees at their Wapato headquarters.
We are very pleased with both of these projects. While some local manufacturers have been adding jobs over the last year, these are the two most significant job generating projects we have seen over the last three years. Our office is working with a couple other companies poised to expand as well, so hopefully these are all signs of an economic rebound here in our Valley.