By Beth Daniels
From the January/February 2015 issue
Flexsteel Industries Inc. has announced that it has purchased a 500,000 square-foot distribution facility at Logistics Park Kansas City (LPKC) in Edgerton. The furniture manufacturer plans to create 141 jobs at the facility.
LPKC is a 1,500-acre master-planned distribution and warehouse development that is anchored by BNSF Railway’s newest intermodal facility. Developed by NorthPoint, LPKC has a central location that allows businesses to efficiently ship goods to any location in the country.
“Kansas offers numerous advantages in the distribution sector, including a location in the heart of the country, outstanding infrastructure and state of the art facilities such as LPKC,” said Kansas Commerce Secretary Pat George. “It’s great that those advantages can help Flexsteel grow and create jobs in our state.”
Flexsteel purchased the Class A industrial facility, which was developed on a speculative basis by NorthPoint Development, to enhance its customer experience and increase shareholder value. The growing residential and commercial furniture manufacturer will utilize the new facility to distribute its furniture products to customers across the U.S.
“Flexsteel is the fourth major distribution facility to locate at LPKC,” said Patrick Robinson, vice president, NorthPoint Development. “By co-locating near one of the nation’s premier intermodal sites, Flexsteel will enjoy significant transportation savings and be able to more efficiently deliver its furniture products.”
“The city of Edgerton is pleased that Flexsteel has chosen a site at Logistics Park Kansas City,” said Edgerton Mayor Donald Roberts. “We are excited to welcome Flexsteel to our community and hope that the benefits of our central location and supply chain offerings at LPKC help the company see continued success.”
Kubota Tractor Corporation, the U.S. marketer and distributor of Kubota-engineered and manufactured machinery and equipment, will open a nearly 450,000-square-foot parts distribution center at LPKC.
“As Kubota’s business continues to grow and we enter new markets, we are committed to being equipped to meet our dealers’ and customers’ needs,” said Masato Yoshikawa, president and CEO of Kubota Tractor Corporation.
“This new Parts Distribution Center is going to further streamline our operations and improve our parts delivery support, making sure that our dealers and customers have the support they need when they need it,” he added.
“Kubota’s decision to open a distribution center in Edgerton is more good news for our growing economy,” said Kansas Commerce Secretary Pat George. “Kansas’ excellent business environment, workforce and infrastructure continue to support the efforts of companies to invest and create jobs.”
Kubota plans to have the facility operational during the third quarter of 2015. When initial operations begin, the new parts distribution center will primarily service the Midwestern United States and will employ approximately 75 employees after the first year.
“Our region’s strategic central location and our nationally ranked “Best in Class” KC team has proven to be a winning combination for record-breaking job attraction in 2014,” said Bob Marcusse, president and CEO, Kansas City Area Development Council. “We are thrilled to add Kubota and more jobs to our region’s best year ever.”
“This new distribution center will enable us to manage our stream of parts more effectively and improve parts delivery time, including an expanded geographical area to which we can deliver parts within 24 hours,” said Earl Johnson, parts director for Kubota.
“Edgerton’s central location and the benefits of locating to Logistics Park Kansas City continue to prove ideal for companies like Kubota who want to more efficiently connect the supply chain,” said Edgerton Mayor Donald Roberts. “The city of Edgerton is thrilled to welcome Kubota to our community.”
FABCON PRECAST COMING TO KS
FABCON Precast, a Minnesota based manufacturer of precast, pre-stressed concrete wall panels, has announced it is expanding into Kansas. The new operation will be housed in Pleasanton in a plant previously occupied by IPC Inc., a subsidiary of Cretex Companies. The plant will allow FABCON to better serve its customers in the region.
This will be the company’s first expansion in 14 years and its fourth plant in the U.S. Other plants are located in Savage, MN, Columbus, OH and Allentown, PA. FABCON’s projects are typically located within proximity of the plants and include a range of commercial projects such as office buildings, schools, large distribution centers, retail stores, manufacturing and warehouse facilities and data centers.
“We’re excited to bring jobs and opportunity for economic growth to an area we already serve,” said Mike LeJeune, FABCON Precast president and CEO. “We are experiencing record growth so proximity to growing markets like the Kansas City area enables us to expand, bring opportunity and reinvest in our company and the community.”
FABCON supplies the wall panels for national retailers, including Walmart, Target, Gander Mountain, Cabela’s, Menards and Home Depot in addition to regional businesses such as Nebraska Furniture Mart and many others. FABCON has manufactured millions of square feet of panels for developers OPUS, Duke Realty and Prologis, including several FedEx distribution centers.
“It’s exciting that FABCON has decided to open a plant and create good jobs in Pleasanton,” Kansas Commerce Secretary Pat George said. “The company’s investment in Kansas will contribute to the continued growth of our state’s strong manufacturing sector.”
FABCON will hire approximately 35-40 people including engineers and drafters, plant managers and production supervisors, quality and safety assurance staff, skilled manufacturing laborers and construction field personnel as well as administrative support. To help new employees on their career path, current FABCON employees will mentor and train new hires.
“This plant will make up about 10 percent of our business and can serve as a backup to others to keep up with customer demand,” said Jim Houtman, FABCON vice president of sales and marketing. “We are installing two production beds to produce 1.5 million square feet of product annually, and there’s room to double that as we grow.”
Houtman said customers appreciate the quality and continuity of the products they produce, as well as the design and installation services, enabling customers to make a single call for service or questions. Current customer demand is the primary reason for the expansion.
“We are delighted to convey our Pleasanton facility to such a reputable firm that is widely recognized as a leader in the industry,” said Lynn Schuler, Cretex Companies president and CEO. “Our former employees will now have the opportunity to work within the industry and within their community, providing a great fit for all parties.”
The company plans to have the plant fully operational by July.
WICHITA PLANS EXPORT STRATEGY
A strategy to lead the 10 county Wichita region into a new era of job creation through aggressive export development is identified in a recent market assessment by the local Global Cities Initiative export planning team. This strategy is part of Wichita’s participation in the Global Cities Initiative, a joint project of the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase.
The assessment was prepared and funded by a core group representing the City of Wichita, Sedgwick County, Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition, Regional Economic Development Partnership, Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas, Wichita State University, Kansas Department of Commerce, and Kansas Global Trade Services as participants in the regional Global Cities Initiative export planning project. Wichita is one of 21 metro areas in the country participating in the Global Cities Initiative’s Exchange, a network of metropolitan areas developing global economic engagement plans.
The Wichita region is highly dependent on exports, which account for almost 28 percent of its total economy. The Global Cities assessment indicates the region has the opportunity to diversify its regional economy by adding new exports in services and non-aerospace manufacturing companies.
BLACK & VEATCH MOVING INTO OVERLAND PARK TRADE CENTER
Black & Veatch will relocate its Telecommunications and Special Projects professionals in Overland Park to the Overland Park Trade Center (OPTC) following building renovations. The move will consolidate some of the company’s operations into a single complex. The move also accommodates continued growth projected for the company.
“This location offers the best solution for continued expansion in the KC Metro area,” said Steve Edwards, Chairman and CEO of Black & Veatch. “The continued demand for the services we provide our clients is further enabling us to continue being a significant contributor of economic and community support in the region.”
More than 700 Black & Veatch professionals will relocate from two Overland park offices this fall to the OPTC that is being renovated by Occidental Management Inc. of Wichita, KS. In addition, the building has the potential to provide space for the company’s expected job growth of more than 500 in Kansas over the next five years.
“Black & Veatch continues to achieve tremendous success in Overland Park and contribute to our state’s strong economic growth,” said Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback.
The Telecommunications and Special Projects professionals in Overland Park are currently housed in Corporate Woods and 6601 College Boulevard. The leases at the two facilities expire later this year.
“The strategic positioning of Black & Veatch allows it to achieve success in new and emerging fields of engineering. The strength of telecommunications is a good example of a dynamic corporate leader like Black & Veatch providing leadership and job growth. On behalf of the city of Overland Park, we congratulate Black & Veatch and wish it further success and outstanding growth,” said Mayor Carl Gerlach.
Black & Veatch conducted extensive studies into the best solution for consolidating the professionals at a single site. Black & Veatch has a workforce of about 3,300 in the Metro and a total workforce of more than 10,000 worldwide. The city of Overland Park and the Kansas Department of Commerce approved economic development measures that helped accommodate the move.