Ground broken on $15 million expansion project expected to bring up to 150 new jobs
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BLACKFOOT — Public officials and members of the community gathered in Blackfoot Wednesday morning for the groundbreaking of a 70,000 square foot expansion project with Premier Technology Inc.
The $15 million project will add new state of the art automated metal-processing equipment. Chief Business Officer Douglas Sayer tells EastIdahoNews.com the project is necessary to fulfill the commitments the company made to their customers.
“The demand for our services is increasing,” Sayer says. “If we didn’t expand and just stayed the same size we are now, we’d be letting our customers down.”
Premier Technology, Inc. manufactures products for multiple markets, including the mining industry, commercial nuclear, food processing and the Department of Energy. The company currently employs more than 300 people. Sayer says the expansion project will add between 100 and 150 new jobs. The hiring process is already underway for engineering and other professional trades.
“We’re struggling to find qualified workers, so we’ve started our own training program. We’re hiring individuals and then putting them through training and developing their skills so they can work for us,” says Sayer.
The average wage for people in Bingham County is a little more than $38,000 a year, according to Bingham County Commissioner Mark Bair. The jobs created by Premier Technology will provide an average annual salary of $56,000.
Blackfoot Mayor Marc Carroll also attended the groundbreaking. He says the city is partnering with Premier Technology and other agencies to provide housing for the new workforce.
“We are going to find a way to attract builders, lenders and buyers to this area,” Carroll says. “Our inventory of apartments, homes and other lodging just isn’t available right now. You can’t employ people and not have a place for them to live.”
During the groundbreaking, Sayer paid tribute to the accomplishments and skills of the workforce, which he said is responsible for the company’s success.
Premier Technology began as a family-owned business in Pocatello more than twenty years ago — a fact that Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter referenced during his remarks. Doug and Shelly Sayer’s vision, Otter says, reaches far beyond their ability to keep up with, but will continue to spur the company forward.
Otter also used the occasion to sign and read a portion of an executive order “establishing a policy for nuclear energy production and manufacturing in Idaho.”
“Every element of our education effort is going to try to keep up with the workforce demands by Premier Technology and all other high-tech companies moving in that direction,” Otter said.
Mayor Carroll says the capabilities of Premier Technology and its workers is, in many ways, the future of Blackfoot.
The expansion project is the first part of a multiphase expansion effort. The completion date is unknown, but construction will begin as soon as possible.