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News & Press: Colorado Technology Industry

High-tech company announces plans for 100 jobs at new Springs plant

Friday, May 20, 2011   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Wendy Nkomo
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High-tech company announces plans for 100 jobs at new Springs plant
RICH LADEN, Colorado Springs The Gazette
05/19/2011 4:46 PM

Entegris, a global high-tech company that employs about 200 people in Colorado Springs, announced Thursday it will expand its manufacturing operation here and add as many as 100 jobs over the next five years.The Massachusetts-based, publicly held company makes and develops products for purifying, protecting and transporting critical materials used in the semiconductor and other high-tech industries. Worldwide, it employs about 2,900.Later this year, Entegris plans to launch a manufacturing operation in a 40,000-square-foot building at 1555 Garden of the Gods Road, which is part of the former Intel campus on the city’s northwest side. At the facility, the company will develop and manufacture products to support the semiconductor industry’s move to larger, cheaper and more efficient silicon wafers.Entegris already operates a plant that makes packages used to transport computer chips at 4405 Arrowswest Drive, less than a mile from the new facility. The Arrowswest plant was built by Empak in 1991 and opened a year later; Empak merged with Fluorware in 1999 to become Entegris.Adding 100 jobs at a time of nearly 10 percent local unemployment and 30,000 people out of work might not sound like much, business and civic leaders conceded Thursday. Still, they said, Entegris’ announcement amounts to a major catch for the community.The new Springs operation will be the first North American expansion of Entegris’ microenvironments division in more than 10 years, Bill Shaner, the division’s vice president and general manager said Thursday. He was joined at an Antlers Hilton news conference by representatives of the Colorado Springs Regional Economic Development Corp. and several business people and elected officials.After deciding a year ago it needed to expand, and then launching a site selection process in October, Entegris considered operations in Asia and several U.S. cities before selecting Colorado Springs, Shaner said.Among Entegris’ reasons, he cited the community’s highly educated workforce, strong support from local and state government officials, the company’s ability to leverage its existing Springs operation and the city’s location, which will allow Entegris to better serve customers in the western United States and Asia.The Pikes Peak region’s quality of life also was a major factor; it helps the company sell itself to employees, customers and suppliers, Shaner said."It’s a great place to live and people come and vacation here,” said Shaner, who’s lived here most of his life. "What we’ve found is sometimes the customers, they’re human beings, they would come to Entegris because of our technology, but they would stay longer or maybe bring their families back because of the experience they had in Colorado Springs.”Shaner also gave kudos to the EDC, which he said answered numerous questions, helped the company clear regulatory hurdles for its new operation and alerted Entegris to financial incentives for which it might qualify.Entegris will be eligible for sales tax rebates, tax credits, job training funds and other local and state financial incentives totaling an estimated $1.4 million that will be provided over several years, said EDC President Mike Kazmierski. To receive the incentives, however, the company must follow through on its hiring plans, as well as planned investments of more than $14 million in its local operations, he said.Entegris’ local workforce ranges from entry-level engineers to production employees to senior managers and includes jobs in high-tech labs and clean-room manufacturing, Shaner said. Annual salaries range from about $25,000 for entry-level workers to as much as $150,000 for top managers. Of the 100 new employees, about 25 percent will be paid $80,000 and up, he said."It’s (Entegris) in a growth mode, it’s one of many in our community that are high-tech based,” Kazmierski said. "To see that sector start to add employees at the $80,000-and-above level is really good news.”Entegris’ expansion goes beyond 100 jobs, Kazmierski added. It puts a spotlight on the Springs as a place for high-tech businesses and other industries; when one company comes or expands, others will follow, he said."People tend to go where they know it’s safe,” Kazmierski said. "They don’t want to be the first one in the pool.”—Contact the writer at 636-0228 

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