Leitner-Poma bucks economic trend

Gov. Bill Ritter might have summed it up best when he thanked Leitner-Poma of America for its new campus in Grand Junction.

“You don’t know what it feels like for a governor to thank a company for expanding business,” Ritter said at an open house hosted by Leitner-Poma on Monday.

With all due respect, western Colorado might know quite a bit about how welcome new business can be during difficult times, but the governor’s sentiments are nonetheless on point.

Leitner-Poma opened its plant in Grand Junction in 1981 and has been a steady business since, especially after the oil-shale collapse of 1982.

Many skiers are familiar with the company’s products, which include ski lifts, aerial trams, gondolas and other cable-transport systems.

In seeming defiance of economic trends, Leitner-Poma has taken the step of expanding to a new campus and the company has plans to more than double its payroll by 100 employees from the 75 people who work there now.

To be sure, the growth of Leitner-Poma is the result of many players, including the Grand Junction Economic Partnership, Industrial Development Inc. and the city of Grand Junction.

Grand Junction pumped $300,000 into the incentive package that encouraged
Leitner-Poma to expand in the Grand Valley, and Industrial Development Inc. donated 18 acres for the company’s new home.

Mesa State College and Western Colorado Community College stand to benefit additionally with the acquisition of Leitner-Poma’s old building on Foresight Circle.

Leitner-Poma sold the land to the Mesa State Foundation for $4.75 million and then donated $500,000 to Mesa State on Monday.

Mesa State’s mechanical-engineering and construction-management programs, as well as WCCC’s machining program, now will be run out of the former Leitner-Poma building, offering the opportunity for expansion of those already-busy programs.

Here in western Colorado, we call this arrangement an incentive package.

Some people elsewhere might look to the Leitner-Poma example as a good way to stimulate an economy.


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