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.
We were delighted to be part of Paragon Film's announcement that they will locate a new manufacturing facility in Union Gap. The company, based in Oklahoma, produces plastic stretch film that is used to stabilize and secure shipping pallets. Mike Baab, Paragon's President and CEO, states "We are very pleased to announce our plans to locate a new production facility in Union Gap, Washington. We look forward to becoming a part of the Union Gap community."
Paragon Films purchased an existing warehouse building between Rankin Equipment and Magic Metals. The company will take about four months to install equipment and make building modifications needed to support their new operation. Paragon plans to hire 15-20 people initially and grow their workforce to approximately 50 over the next couple years. Alex Jech has been selected as plant manager for the Union Gap facility and he is in the process of moving his family to Yakima.
While it is great news that Paragon is investing in our region their project reminds us how competitive it is to land new business facilities. The company discovered Yakima by searching for existing buildings on the internet. Paragon looked at buildings in Washington, Oregon and Nevada. Our organization got involved when local realtors Mike Abrams and Russ Roberts contacted us regarding a manufacturing company looking at a building in Terrace Heights. When we met with the company we learned they were searching all over the West Coast but that they were particularly interested in the Yakima option. Paragon's Chief Operating Officer Rolly Cochlin explained that the company needed to develop a facility quickly and needed help to get permitting and development issues resolved.
We immediately started helping Paragon on required permits and this was challenging. The company had not developed a new facility in over a decade and our permitting requirements were overwhelming at first. By helping them connect with regulatory agencies and getting them some consulting help we were able to align permit timelines with their overall development process.
A new challenge erupted when Paragon discovered issues in the candidate building. The company decided not to purchase this facility and left town suggesting they would start the search all over. We quickly provided them another building option and worked to get them back to Yakima. When company officials returned a week or two later to look at a building in Union Gap we learned that they had revisited several buildings in Oregon and Nevada.
Thankfully the building in Union Gap met their requirements. Cochlin told us they had an offer in on a building in Nevada should the Union Gap option not work. Even though the Union Gap building worked there were several issues that needed favorable resolution before Paragon felt comfortable inking the deal. The company needed to develop a rail spur to the facility. We worked to connect Paragon with Garry Griggs who owned a key section of property needed for the rail spur. The company was ultimately able to secure the land they needed to construct a rail siding. Paragon also needed to beef up power to the building. The facility was designed as a warehouse and did not have enough electric capacity to support Paragon's equipment. We got Pacific Power to jump in and help and they were able to assure the company that more power could be brought to the building on a timely cost effective basis. The final hurdle surrounded permitting. Paragon worked closely with Union Gap to secure necessary permits and the City did a great job of getting them through these processes quickly.
As you can see we had to knock out a number of hurdles that stood between Paragon and a favorable decision to locate their new facility in Yakima County. Thanks to a strong team effort we were able to get Paragon to cement its decision to develop their third plant in Union Gap. Our hats are off to Mike and Russ with Heritage Moultray Realtors, to Dave Spurlock with Union Gap, to Tim Kelly at Central Washington Railroad, and to Clark Satre and his team at Pacific Power. By working together we succeeded in bring new investment and jobs to our community.
To learn more about Paragon films click here. If you are interested in employment opportunities at Paragon Films send your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more about the industries we are trying to attract and grow click here.