by Sean Hemmersmeier, Las Vegas Review-Journal, February 11, 2023
Parts and battery separator manufacturer ENTEK Manufacturing opened the doors of its brand new 98,000-square-foot manufacturing and engineering facility on Friday.
The company invested $15 million in the facility, and makes twin-screw co-rotating extruders, wear parts, turnkey plants and battery separators, according to ENTEK CEO Larry Keith.
ENTEK, based in Lebanon, Oregon, has been focused on growing its operation, but has struggled in recent years to find enough employees to fuel its growth, said Linda Campbell, ENTEK’s vice president of sales.
“We were struggling in Oregon, as many people are around the U.S. with labor,” Campbell said. “We engaged in a labor research study … and we said ‘Where in the U.S. can we expand that might have the best pool to hire from?’ and that was Henderson.”
Positions it was looking to add in Henderson were general machinists, mechanical and control engineers as well as fabricators, according to Campbell. She said the hiring effort has been “very successful,” adding 50 employees over the last year with plans to hire another 50 by the end of 2023.
The company received $1 million in tax abatements in March 2022 from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. At the time of the announcement, it was required to create 53 jobs in the two years, but ENTEK has already beat that figure.
Keith said the tax incentives helped it expand to Henderson.
“It was a big factor knowing the state and local community was going to support our business,” he said.
The facility will handle fabrication components and focus on the high-volume, easier to produce parts while its other locations will focus more on the technical pieces, said ENTEK Vice President of Machining Tim Glover.
The Henderson facility is one of 11 locations worldwide, with facilities in the United Kingdom, India, Indonesia, China, Japan and Singapore. Its total staff size is 1,000.
In addition to the tax abatements, ENTEK also received a $200 million grant from the Department of Energy to manufacture battery separators for large lithium ion batteries used in electric vehicles.
Keith said receiving federal support can be a boon to the company’s reputation.
“If you have the backing of the U.S. government behind us saying, ‘We believe in you. We’re going to give you a grant.’ It gives you a lot of credibility with customers,” he said
ENTEK will invest $1.5 billion into its lithium battery separator and eventually build another facility for the production of these components in either Indiana or Alabama, according to Keith.