Entegris, a global high-tech manufacturer, has started a $24 million expansion at its Colorado Springs location to help better supply the COVID-19 testing and vaccine industries.
The expansion of the firm’s facility near Garden of the Gods Road will allow the manufacture of specialized plastic containers needed to process COVID-19 tests, said Bill Shaner, senior vice president of operations. The four-year expansion is planned to include includes a building remodel, $21 million in equipment and about 40 new employees who will earn an average of $58,000 annually, city documents said. The new employees will join company’s local workforce of about 280 people.
The Colorado Springs City Council was poised to grant granting the Massachusetts-based company about $200,000 in sales and usetax rebates over to help encourage the company’s growth. The city expects to see $660,620 in new revenue over four years from the company’s expansion, not taking into account the multiplying effect of retaining the company and additional outside jobs that could be created, said Bob Cope, economic development manager for the city.
While the rebates are modest, they help to ensure Colorado Springs is competitive and encouraging existing companies to grow rather than contract, he said.
“We want to have a great business climate,” he said.
The manufacturer has been in Colorado Springs since the early 1990s, first as Empak and now as Entegris following a merger with Flouroware. A good relationship with the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce and EDC has helped to keep the company’s projects and necessary permits prioritized and helped them move quickly, said Shaner, a Colorado Springs native.
The proposed tax rebates also help the company justify the local expansion, he said.
In addition to supporting rapid COVID-19 testing, Entegris makes products, such as the tubing and piping, needed for the production of vaccines and containers needed to transport them, particularly newer types of vaccine that need ultra-cold storage, he said.
The company expects demand for its products to be strong going forward as vaccine technology develops.
“We actually believe that is going to be an ongoing growth piece,” Shaner said.
Both Pfizer and Moderna produce COVID-19 vaccines that trigger an immune response without introducing the weakened or inactive virus into the body as other vaccines do. Both vaccines also require super cold storage and the company produces packaging for those unique conditions.
The company also produces materials for semiconductors, an essential piece of many electronics, including servers, computers, smart phones and cars. The global shortage of semiconductors is keeping the company busy and is another growth opportunity, Shaner said.