• 30,000-square-foot addition to include more production floor space, employee service areas
BROOKINGS – A Brookings company will break ground today for a major expansion of its manufacturing plant.
Counterpart Inc., a metal parts fabricator and a 16-year resident of the city’s Telkamp Industrial Park, plans to add 30,000 square feet of new production and employee service area to its existing 50,000-square foot facility.
The expansion, the second since the manufacturer opened for business in 1996, was made possible in part with assistance from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED), said Don Deibert, Counterpart’s president and general manager.
The firm obtained a Revolving Economic Development and Initiative fund loan, an SBA loan, a Workforce Development grant, and Dakota Seeds funding through GOED.
The plant expansion is necessary for Counterpart’s continued growth, Deibert said.
“Over the past few years, we have really diversified our operation and have become an engineering as well as a manufacturing facility. With customer demand so high, we need more room for our products.”
“Counterpart Inc. is a great example of a thriving South Dakota business,” noted Gov. Dennis Daugaard. “I’m pleased that the company has partnered with GOED to continue growing in South Dakota.”
Counterpart produces parts and assemblies to meet the needs of the electronics, agribusiness, utility vehicle, polyethylene, and door and window industries.
Deibert stated that it’s difficult to say how many new jobs will be added as a result of the expansion, “but it will involve additional staff.” The company started with about 40 people and currently employs 76.
A previous expansion added 15,000 square feet to the plant.
Deibert declined to say how much the new construction will cost, but he noted that an important part of the expansion will involve new manufacturing equipment.
A key reason for the construction will be to add a number of new machines to the production floor. Much of the company’s work is highly automated, Deibert said, using devices such as computer-guided lasers and punches.
“The expansion will permit us to increase our production, and that will in turn mean more jobs downstream, in our customers’ operations.”
Mills Construction of Brookings is general contractor for the addition, which will simply expand the original building on its 32nd Avenue property.
Target move-in is early May 2013.
Today’s ceremonies will involve a number of the company’s long-term employees, Deibert noted, and some of the work is being done specifically for them.
The company president said that part of the expansion will include a state-of-the-art lunchroom and green spaces at the plant where employees can relax.
As a thank-you to its workforce, Counterpart is hosting an employee luncheon today, with special guests and speakers.
Additionally, some of the senior workers will take part in the groundbreaking itself. Also attending the ceremony will be members of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the Brookings Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) and Chamber representatives.
BEDC Executive Director Al Heuton said the company’s announcement is another important step for Brookings.
“Brookings Economic Development Corporation is extremely pleased that Counterpart, Inc. is expanding in Brookings. Counterpart is a key component of the community’s economic base, providing high-quality metal fabrication services to local industries, as well as exporting services and products beyond Brookings and South Dakota.
“The Counterpart team has done an excellent job building a quality company in all aspects of its manufacturing operation, from skilled employees to advanced manufacturing facilities.”