Economic council’s first client gone, but legacy continues
The Mesa County Economic Development Council, now the Grand Junction Economic Partnership, lost its first client in November 2004 when Hamilton Sundstrand announced it would close its Grand Junction facility and move overseas.
Matt Collins had worked for Sundstrand for 14 years at that point and spent five of those years in Grand Junction.
With the help of a few partners, he helped strike a deal with Sundstrand to save about 15 percent of local Sundstrand jobs by performing certain duties the company still wanted done in the United States.
Lewis Engineering came from California to scoop up those employees, and Collins is Lewis’ chief operating officer.
More than two decades after the economic organization helped Sundstrand come to Grand Junction, GJEP offered Lewis a grant earlier this year to expand its operations.
In return, Lewis is creating jobs and capital in the Grand Valley. The precision machine shop for complex products, mostly for aircraft, employs 42 people.
“It’s not a significant number,” Collins said of the grant. “But it helps because it takes the edge off buying equipment and our move.”