10X officials eye early ‘19 start
By Joseph Slacian | The Paper of Wabash County
Production could begin in January or February at 10X Engineered Materials, a company official said Thursday afternoon.
Jake Vaillancourt made the comments following a ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony at the site of the new industry, the former Spiece Warehouse at 1162 Manchester Ave.
The parent company, WasteHub LLC, closed on the warehouse on June 29. There are some existing tenants in the building, and they must be moved out by July 31, said Vaillancourt, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of WasteHub and a member of the 10X board of directors.
‘We’re able to do some things before that, so we’re taking advantage of some things we can contractually due,” he said. “So, really, progress will start in August. Realistically we’re trying to get construction started in a week or two.”
Work includes preparing the building for new equipment which will be installed.
“We have to bring heavy power in, so there’s a lot of infrastructure upgrades that need to be completed,” Vailencourt said.
“We’re actually working inside first because we need to get electrical, lighting, certain upgrades done before we fill the shell with our equipment. Then we’ll have the contractors switch to outside largely, because while they’re outside we can actually be staging equipment. It takes a long time to hook it all up. There’s a lot of equipment to this type of process.”
“We’re essentially starting now, so this is a perfect groundbreaking. We have our first truckload today, and we’re hoping to be operational in January or February. It’s kind of a moving target. It depends on lead times for certain types of equipment. We’re already getting orders in, getting contractors signed up with their contracts. The money is already flowing.”
Both Mayor Scott Long and Keith Gillenwater, President and CEO of Grow Wabash County, praised the firm for choosing to locate in Wabash.
“It’s been a long time in the making,” Long said. “We’ve been working with them for nearly a year now. I’d like to thank them for choosing Wabash as the home for the company.
“It’s a win for the community. It’s a win for the company. It’s a win for everyone.”
Gillenwater said finding a building for the company was a challenge, noting that the first site they had chosen was sold just before a deal could be struck. Local Realtor Bob Lundquist helped arrange the purchase of the Spiece Warehouse, Gillenwater continued.
“This is a clean tech project. It is a green tech project,” he said. “They will be diverting material currently going across the street to the landfill. They’re going to take that material, add value to it and keep it from going to the landfill.”
Roughly 36,000 cubic yards of debris will be kept out of the landfill because of 10X’s work, Gillenwater said.
The company is expected to create 26 “high paying jobs,” he said, noting the average wage will be about $32 per hour. The firm is investing about $4 million into the local project, and it is expected to generate more than $50,000 in local income tax.
“Those are the kind of wins we want in the community,” Gillenwater said.
Vaillancourt talked about the company, saying its “guiding principle above all else is caring.”
“That may sound kind of hokey to some, but we say that and we mean it,” he said. “We don’t have employees, we have partners. We belive in profit sharing. We believe in paying beyond the living wage.
“We believe in reasonable hours. We’re not planning to operate the plant 24-7, except for emergencies. It’s going to be a typical five-hour day; an eight hour day for employees. We’ll only be operating for five hours per day. We believe in quality of life and safety.”
The company will develop innovative material process technologies and products using industrial byproducts and other stranded or under-utilized resources.