Global Polymer Industries of Arlington will move its plastics manufacturing plant to Madison, it was announced today by company officials. Photo provided by Global Polymer
• Plastics company will take 125 Arlington jobs to Madison
BROOKINGS – Global Polymer Industries, Inc. announced today the company will be moving its manufacturing plant from Arlington to Madison.
Madison is about 25 miles due south of Arlington.
The company currently employs 125 people and is expected to add an additional 50 jobs within the first two years of operating in Madison.
The manufacturer of high-tech plastic parts had reached an impasse with the Arlington City Council, having been denied a rezoning that would have permitted the company to expand.
Arlington, too, refused to negotiate with the company on a reduction of its electrical rate, which Global Polymer executives said were double what they would pay in other area communities.
Those charges added more than a quarter-million dollars a year to the plant’s operating expenses, according to Global CEO Todd Huntimer.
As a result of what they considered the Arlington council’s reluctance to work with them, Global executives announced recently that they were considering relocating the business to Madison or Brookings.
Global confirmed its intentions today in a press release issued by the Lake Area Improvement Corporation (LAIC) of Madison: the company has selected Madison as the site for its new plant.
“Global Polymer is a strong, well-established company that comes with a solid reputation and immediate plans for adding jobs,” said Lake Area Executive Director Julie Gross.
“The LAIC board and I are ecstatic we could help put all the pieces in place in order for Global Polymer to make the transition to Madison.”
Although the move will take at least a year to complete, plans to build a 60,000-square-foot facility in the Lakeview Industrial Park in the south part of Madison are already under way.
“We are very excited about moving to Madison,” Huntimer said. “Our business has been growing steadily since its founding, and Madison will provide all the amenities we need as we continue to grow.”
Brookings Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Al Heuton said he and his board “appreciated (Global) taking a look at Brookings.
“We’re disappointed that they weren’t able to work things out with Arlington,” Heuton noted, “but on the positive side, they’re still staying in the area.”
That will mean less disruption for the employees in Arlington and the 25 who live in Brookings and commute to the plant.
While Global’s choice of Madison does represent a loss for Brookings, Heuton noted that other industries are currently expanding, and with the Bel Brands plant under construction, “we’ve got a great deal happening here.
“We will continue to look for other opportunities,” he said.
Dan Palli, Global vice president, said the choice of Madison as the company’s new headquarters is “a done deal.”
He acknowledged there were some concessions by Madison to attract the manufacturing operation, but most important, “they really stepped up to it.”
Lake Area’s Gross said that while Madison has offered the company some workforce incentives, the community did not donate land or facilities for the new plant.
Gross said she and others had met with company leaders over the past two months “and showed them how we work together, city and county.”
“Teamwork between the LAIC board, city and county officials as well as Heartland Consumers Power District is what made this become a reality,” said Gross. “I can’t thank them enough for their assistance throughout this process. We worked together to show Todd and Dan how relocating to Madison would be a positive move for them. They are excellent business owners, and we couldn’t be more pleased with their decision.”
The LAIC chief acknowledged the relocation will have “an enormous economic impact on Madison.
“We’ve lost several industries over the years,” she said, “and so we already have a workforce here. We have a lot of out-of-town commuters, too. This will be a great opportunity for them to live and work here.”
Heartland Consumers Power District provides wholesale power to the city of Madison. According to Russell Olson, Heartland’s manager of community and economic development, “Heartland’s No. 1 goal is to provide reliable power and excellent customer service. Our economic development programs are vital to many of the communities we serve and we are thrilled to be able to help the community of Madison.”
‘Good news for Madison’
Mayor Gene Hexum hailed the announcement as “extremely good news for Madison.
“We welcome Global Polymer and look forward to cooperating in any way we can to make their relocation to the Lakeview Industrial Park as smooth as possible. We are thrilled with the news they have chosen Madison’s Lakeview Industrial Park as their new home.”
Arlington Mayor Amiel Redfish, against whom a citizen recall had been threatened, was not available for comment.
Randy Jencks, Arlington Community Development Corporation president, is out of the office for the week and was also unavailable for comment. As of Friday, Jencks and other business leaders had held out hope they could entice Global Polymer to stay in Arlington.
For Arlington, which has a population of about 915, the loss of its premier industry could be devastating. At least a third of Global’s workforce lives in Arlington, with the rest commuting from nearby towns.
Global’s Palli said recently that a number of issues – notably the electric rates – had forced Global to consider a move, but the acrimony that resulted from the attempted rezoning brought the matter to a head.
Global had purchased a one-acre property adjoining its industrial park location, and the Arlington council denied the company’s rezoning request after hearing complaints by surrounding residential property owners.
Without the prospect of completing a 21,000-square-foot addition, which Huntimer and Palli said was necessary for expansion, they made the decision to pull up stakes.
The Madison plant initially will be about the same size as the one in Arlington.
Huntimer and Palli brought Global Polymer Industries to Arlington in 1993. The company makes parts for some of the world’s largest equipment companies. Global specializes in ultra high molecular weight polyethylene, the kind of plastic used in human hip and knee replacements.