Janesville metal fabricator United Alloy plans a major expansion in Texas that the company said will boost its production capacity nationwide and lead to the hiring of more than two dozen new employees here.
The impact could be about a year away, but United Alloy officials plan to start work in early 2020 building a $35 million, 200,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Seguin, a southern Texas city where the company already leases a distribution facility.
United Alloy Chief Financial Officer Vanessa Dubick said the new Texas facility is being built to help the company increase the production, powder coating and painting of its metal boxes, diesel fuel tanks, trailers, chassis and other heavy vehicle components. The facility also will cut down on shipment costs of the company’s large, heavy products to the southwestern U.S., where business has grown.
United Alloy over the last two years has significantly increased its manufacturing footprint in Janesville, with three expansions to its Kennedy Road headquarters and plant in the past seven years. The projects include a 100,000-square-foot expansion in 2018 that brought new painting, assembly and shipping lines required to secure a contract with a major customer.
A 2018 city tax incentive deal awarded for the most recent expansion requires that the company create 66 jobs and reach an employment number of about 250.
Over the past year, Dubick said, United Alloy has added at least twice as many workers as the city required. All told, the company’s headcount now totals about 400, she said.
But Dubick said United Alloy has been seeking a solution to the cost of shipping to a part of the country far from Wisconsin.
“Right now, we can’t serve a lot of our customers that have locations in the Southwest. Shipping is cost prohibitive. So we’ve found this little niche in Texas,” she said.
The Texas project is more than a little niche. It will lead to a company expansion of about 100 employees overall, including a spillover of about 30 new jobs in sales, engineering and manufacturing in Janesville.
Dubick said the company will boost its sales and engineering and development force here, along with workers who will use new, highly automated laser equipment to fabricate metal parts bound for the Texas plant.
The new plant in Seguin should be in operation by the end of 2020, and the company’s hiring boost, both in Texas and Janesville, will come later in 2020.
United Alloy officials said Janesville and Blackhawk Technical College officials have worked with the company on workforce training projects that will help with a local response to the multistate expansion.
United Alloy in the last two years has tried to put a public spotlight on its in-house welding training programs. The company hasn’t been shy about touting pay rates that it says surpass what workers earn at similar local manufacturing businesses.
Dubick said plans for the new plant in Seguin came about fairly recently, although she said both Janesville and Seguin had been in the running as possible locations for the expansion that ultimately was built in Janesville last year.
The 20-year-old United Alloy considers itself to be the largest robotic-welding and powder-coating manufacturer in the Midwest, and Dubick said the new plant in Texas is a response to United Alloy’s own growth and demand for more nationwide production capacity.
She said United Alloy has no plans to shift current operations or its corporate headquarters away from Janesville. She said the same volume and types of heavy component manufacturing it has had in Janesville will continue, and additional hiring here will support the Texas plant.
Except for growth in manufacturing, Dubick said, the company plans “no changes” and “no subtraction of jobs” locally. She said the company still will consider Janesville to be United Alloy’s manufacturing, design and sales “hub.”
“I’m building a new house in Janesville,” Dubick said. “So that should tell you something. I’m not going anywhere. I believe in it.”