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Whips and cables

EPCO bringing seven production jobs to Estherville

October 17, 2018
Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer ( , Estherville News

EPCO is depending upon Estherville to provide a ready, experienced, hard-working crew to its power distribution cable manufacturing division, and it's happening in early 2019.

City and county economic director Lyle Hevern announced at Monday evening's city council meeting that Engineered Products Co. based in Minnetonka, Minn., would bring its PDU cable manufacturing to a new facility in the former Pepsi building in Estherville.

"The labor pool in Minneapolis has prevented us from filling our production shifts and so we are looking at Estherville to provide a ready, experienced, hard-working workforce," according to Allan Matthys, the company's chief financial officer in a statement.

In the near term, the company also expects to expand its EPCO fixture whip production to Estherville and transfer storage of some of its inventory items as space at the Minnetonka facility is tight.

The company has several ties to Estherville. Peter Lee, who acquired the company in 1976, once owned a company in Estherville called Electri-mold. Peter's son, Duncan Lee, is now company CEO. Troy Peterson, president of PDU, has family in the area.

The city will provide an incentive for the company to provide good paying jobs in the area, city administrator Penny Clayton said. The incentive is a forgivable loan measured per job created up to 10 jobs over the first two years the company is in Estherville. The average wage, excluding the site manager's wage, must equal the average wage in Emmet County, which is $16.21 per hour.

The position of site supervisor will be the initial hire at a salary of $55-75,000 depending upon qualifications. The company said it anticipates hiring for this position concurrent with closing on the building November 19 in order to train and have the person help with getting the building ready for use.

Initially, the company would hire six to seven production workers by early to mid-January, depending on when the building is ready. As volumes increase, the company would add another six to seven production workers and likely a shipping/receiving/warehouse person to manage logistics and product movement. Hence, the projected employment would be of 15-20 local residents within two years.

Clayton said as the Pepsi building is not in the urban renewal area, in order to pay for the incentive of up to $50,000 with tax increment financing, the council will eventually need to pass a resolution to include the building in an urban renewal area.

"It's a great reuse for this facility," Clayton said.

Matthys said the company plans to have all the upgrades, improvements, and capex lined up to start getting the building ready immediately and be up and running in January, 2019.

Hevern said, "They really like that they have a history with this community. It could be very successful. They expressed their appreciation for the assistance they have received so far, especially from Lesa Nauss, the Spurgins, and Blum-Leonard who worked on the sale of the building."



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