$11 million project is expected to create 70 jobs
4/13/2017 9:30:41 AM
Shane Delaney, 651-259-7236
ST. PAUL – Wabash National Corp. has purchased and plans to renovate a 53-acre manufacturing site – formerly Larson Boats – in Little Falls and use it to manufacture select parts for the semi-trailer and truck body market using a propriety molded structural composite (MSC) technology.
Wabash National Corp. is a diversified industrial manufacturer and North America’s leading producer of semi-trailers and liquid transportation systems. It is headquartered in Lafayette, Ind. This is its first production facility in Minnesota.
The project entails significant renovations to its 600,000 square feet of buildings and adding machinery and equipment for manufacturing. Overall, it’s expected to cost $11 million, with $500,000 for renovations to the existing facility.
The company expects to create 70 new full-time jobs paying an average wage of $18.18 per hour within the first two years of the project. It plans to have about 30 employees at the facility by the end of June and 70 by the end of next year.
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is supporting the project with a grant of up to $188,500 from the Job Creation Fund, a $400,000 loan from the Minnesota Investment Fund (MIF), and $99,333 from the Job Training Incentive Program (JTIP). The city of Little Falls and the Morrison County Rural Finance Authority also plan to provide local incentives.
“Little Falls workers have decades of skilled manufacturing experience. Wabash National’s decision to expand is a testament to their experience and work ethic,” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. “I’m pleased the state of Minnesota was able to help this job-creating expansion become a reality. I urge the Legislature to restore funding for the Job Creation Fund and Minnesota Investment Fund this session, so that future job-creating projects, like Wabash National, aren’t stifled.”
The company says it selected the Little Falls site as the launch facility for its MSC products because of the unique combination of an experienced and highly skilled workforce in composite manufacturing processes, along with a fully equipped and highly engineered facility capable of producing large-size parts quickly.
“We’re very excited to see a large, out-of-state advanced manufacturer and industry leader like Wabash National set up operations in Greater Minnesota,” said DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy. “This is particularly good news for Little Falls and Morrison County, which have both seen higher-than-average unemployment rates.”
Benefits of the company’s proprietary composite manufacturing process include lighter weight and improved performance. For example, the company says its Cold Chain Series truck body is made of molded structural composite with thermal technology, which improves thermal performance by up to 25 percent – while also being up to 15 percent lighter and significantly improving puncture and damage resistance.
Established in 1985, Wabash National manufactures a diverse range of products, including dry freight and refrigerated trailers, platform trailers, bulk tank trailers, dry and refrigerated truck bodies, truck-mounted tanks, aircraft refueling equipment, structural composite panels and products, trailer aerodynamic solutions, and specialty food grade and pharmaceutical equipment. It sells its products across North America and in other foreign markets around the world.
The Job Creation Fund, which was first proposed by Gov. Mark Dayton in 2013, is a pay-for-performance program that provides funding to businesses after they meet certain criteria, including minimum requirements for job creation and private investments. Under the program, businesses must create at least 10 full-time jobs and invest at least $500,000 to be eligible for financial assistance.
Since the Job Creation Fund was launched in January 2014, DEED has awarded $34.4 million for 78 business expansion projects in Minnesota. Companies have committed to creating 4,741 full-time jobs and investing $1.08 billion to expand.
Go to the DEED website for more details about the Job Creation Fund .
DEED is the state’s principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development. For more details about the agency and its services, visit the DEED website or follow us on Twitter.
Upon request, this information can be made available in alternate formats for people with disabilities by contacting the DEED Communications Office at 651-259-7161.