Yuma may get glass, plastics plants

Yuma may well be getting not one, but three new industrial businesses in the coming months.All but the final details are wrapped up to bring a door and window manufacturing factory to Yuma.

Last week, the Yuma City Council unanimously approved a development agreement for Associated Materials Inc.

Under the agreement, AMI and its subsidiary, Alside, will build a 200,000-square-foot building on 30th Street between Avenues 7E and 8E, which it hopes to have operational by August.

That's in the Yuma Commerce Center, where two other companies are also considering locating industrial operations.

One is Northwestern Industries Inc., a Seattle-based glass fabricator, for which Alside currently is a customer.

President Tim McQuade confirmed Friday that he intends to locate a second glass plant in Yuma to be located across the street from the new Alside factory.

"We're there," he said.

The plant would supply glass for Alside's window and door manufacturing, but that would be just a fraction of the Northwestern Industries' business, McQuade said. He estimated that the company's customer base is 80 percent commercial. Of the residential 20 percent, Alside, while "a good customer," is but a small part.

McQuade said his in-laws winter in the Foothills so he had been to Yuma before. Ironically, his company and AMI were both researching cities for growth opportunities and settled on Yuma.

He said Yuma was attractive because of the growth in the Southwest as well as the city's proximity to the Southern California market.

Meanwhile, a third company is looking to build a plastics plant at Yuma Commerce Center, dependent on the ability to provide rail service, said Gayle Rusing, president of Greater Yuma Economic Development Corp.

"We're very excited about the prospect of this company coming," she said. "They're committed to coming if their rail needs can be met."

She said that company would employ about 120 people at build-out, providing highly skilled, good paying jobs.

Northwestern Industries plans to construct a 100,000-square-foot building, McQuade said, and hopes to break ground this month to be operational "at the latest by the fourth quarter." He admitted that will be "pushing it."

Initially, the company would employ from 12 to 24 people, but McQuade said he expects that number will grow quickly. He said the Seattle plant was started in 1975 and now has about 265 employees in a 300,000- square-foot plant.

McQuade said the company is now seeking management people to be sent to Seattle for training. The hiring process for the other employees likely will be in June.

"We want to be a good member of the community," he said. "We want to hire as many people right out of Yuma as we can."

Yuma Private Industry Council will be assisting the company with the hiring process. It also is assisting Alside, which currently is looking for human resources, production and maintenance managers.

"We'll probably start screening production people in mid-June," said Peggy Garcia, business services officer for YPIC. She added that both companies likely will be looking for people with good math skills so they can do the calibrating and measuring the jobs will require.

Applications can be e-mailed to Garcia at pgarcia@ypic.com.

Rusing noted that the Arizona Department of Commerce has provided funding assistance to bring the companies to Yuma through job training grants and Yuma County Enterprise Zone tax credits.

An Extra Strengths Project grant will also be pursued for the road and/or bridge that will be required for the other end of Yuma Commerce Center.

"This comes from Commerce, as well, although it is technically money from Arizona Department of Transportation," Rusing said.

600450 Yuma may get glass, plastics plants glassonweb.com

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