Altec Industries expansion to add 200 jobs - Roanoke Times: Business

Altec Industries expansion to add 200 jobs

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Posted: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 11:32 pm

Altec Industries anticipates that the company’s latest expansion of its aerial device manufacturing and assembly plant in Botetourt County will add about 200 jobs and involve a capital investment of about $3.9 million over three years.

The expansion began in January. Altec opted to refrain from the sort of public fanfare that often accompanies expansions projected to add a large number of jobs. A state economic development incentive supporting Altec’s recruitment and training of new employees does not include among its conditions a call for a public announcement.

Jeff Emry, a regional vice president for Altec and general manager for the Botetourt facility, emphasized that the job and capital investment numbers reflect what Altec anticipates business conditions will be in the years ahead.

“One never knows what the economy will do around the corner,” Emry said.

Altec, a privately held company based in Birmingham, Alabama, tends to be conservative about such projections — and about disclosing site-specific details such as total employment, Emry said.

He described the latest expansion at Altec’s plant in the Botetourt Center at Greenfield as being in sync with the company’s focus on gradual growth.

“There’s nothing dramatic going on here,” Emry said.

The Botetourt plant manufactures aerial devices that outfit bucket trucks, cranes and digger derricks, and mounts them on trucks manufactured elsewhere. Customers include electric utilities, telecommunications companies, tree care and other contractors. Appalachian Power Co. has been a customer.

Emry said Altec’s positive experiences at the Botetourt site have supported a series of gradual expansions. He said the proximity to Virginia Tech and its technical resources has been another plus.

“We’ve been here for about 10 years now and we’ve been successful finding the talent and skill sets we need,” he said. “We’ve been happy with the associates we’ve found in every category.”

For the current expansion the company seeks assemblers, welders and other production workers, as well as engineers and other professionals, Emry said. The company accepts applications through its website.

In August 2000, Altec Industries announced plans to invest $12.5 million in a new manufacturing and assembly plant at Greenfield and to hire about 150 workers over three years. At the time, the company said it was attracted to the site because of its access to highway transportation, a work force reputed to have a solid work ethic, the training center at Greenfield and state and local incentives.

For the current expansion, the Virginia Jobs Investment Program has committed about $152,250 to support Altec’s anticipated creation of 203 net new full-time jobs, said Suzanne Clark, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.

“Of course, this offsets only a fraction of what the company is spending to recruit and train their new employees,” Clark said in an email.

She said funding from the VJIP incentive is performance-based, meaning the company receives the money after the new employees are hired and trained.

“We were thrilled Altec is going to continue to grow in Botetourt County,” Clark said.

Clark said it is not uncommon for companies to request that an expansion not be publicly announced.

Some economic development incentives awarded to companies or localities by the state include a condition that a public announcement accompany or precede the award. That is true, for example, if the source of money is the Governor’s Opportunity Fund, the Virginia Economic Development Incentive Grant, the Virginia Investment Partnership Grant, the Major Eligible Employer Grant or the Clean Energy Manufacturing Incentive Grant, Clark said.

David Moorman, Botetourt County’s deputy county administrator, said the county honored Altec’s decision not to make a public announcement.

In an email, Moorman said Altec’s latest expansion “reflects the value of the Botetourt plant to the company to manufacture and distribute high quality product efficiently.”

He added, “It is an affirmation of Botetourt’s and the Roanoke region’s advantages for advanced manufacturers.”

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