Upstate Colorado Economic Development celebrates prolific 2016 with event in Greeley
March 1, 2017
Close to 800 jobs will come to Weld County this year and next after some new and existing companies announced locations and expansions in the county in 2016.
Last year was a big one, in other words, said officials with Upstate Colorado Economic Development.
In all, said Richard Werner, chairman and CEO of Upstate, Weld County became home to 13 new and expanding businesses, which created 778 jobs with a total investment of $479 million.
"Those are incredible numbers, and they're a testament to the work Upstate does," Werner said before a crowd about 100 investors assembled the agency's annual meeting Wednesday at the Greeley Country Club, 4500 10th St.
That's not counting the recent announcement by the JM Smucker Co., which plans to build a manufacturing plant near Longmont in the next year, bringing in an initial 250 jobs.
One of the biggest such announcements of 2016 came last August when Agilent Technologies announced it would move its pharmaceutical manufacturing facility to Frederick from Boulder. That's a $170 million investment and 200 jobs with an average annual wage of $77,000. The 130,000-square-foot plant should open at the corner of Interstate 25 and Colo. 52, should be in production in 2018.
Tony Pilkington, senior direct of engineering and facilities for the Nucleic Acid Solutions of Agilent Technologies, said the plant has finally gone vertical, having recently finished with its underground construction work. He said the company couldn't have expanded in Boulder, so it looked around and found Weld County.
"The environment is great," Pilkington said. "Working in Weld is fantastic. I'm stunned how cooperative the town (of Frederick) is. As soon as signed on dotted line, we knew we made right decision."
Werner and new Upstate chairman Hans Jespersen, general manger of Vestas Blades in Windsor, say they look forward to another prolific year.
"We spend a lot of time marketing the area nationally but developing locally," Werner said. "The reality of economic development is we're never finished and that's why retention and expansion efforts are so important."