There are business expansion parties, and then there is Leitner-Poma of America’s business expansion party.

The cable transport systems manufacturer completed its new $15 million facility near Grand Junction Regional Airport last month and held an open house Monday to show it off, complete with a horn ensemble flown in from Italy on loan from Leitner-Poma’s 26-piece band.

The new facility sits on 18 acres with two buildings encompassing roughly 90,000 square feet. Leitner-Poma will have more room to build ski lifts, gondolas, aerial tramways and a number of other cable transport systems. Prinoth, a subsidiary of Leitner’s parent company, Leitner Technologies, has a separate building on the property to manufacture snow grooming equipment.

“We chose Grand Junction in 1981,” said Jean Gauthier, president of Poma France. “We’ve been in Grand Junction in the ups and downs. I remember Black Monday.”

Leitner’s old facility at 2510 Foresight Circle was 38,000 square feet. The company decided to expand, said Rick Spear, president of Leitner-Poma of America, to accommodate the growth of the company’s U.S. headquarters.

The company employs 75 people and wants to hire another 100 employees eventually.

“Colorado has seen companies downsize, and even on the Front Range, shut their doors,” said Gov. Bill Ritter, who toured the facility. “You don’t know what it feels like for a governor to thank a company for expanding business.”

Spear said the new facility incorporates a number of energy-efficient designs including solar panels, which, along with Leitner’s new products, wind turbines and short-distance trains, fit with Colorado’s new energy economy.

Leitner executives thanked local government for supporting the expansion financially. The city awarded a $300,000 grant in 2007 to the Grand Junction Economic Partnership to assist in the expansion, and Industrial Development Inc., a commercial land holding company,
donated the 18-acre plat of land.

Mayor Gregg Palmer renamed the facility’s road to Seeber Drive in honor of Leitner’s owner, Michael Seeber.

Tom Clink, who has been a sales manager for Leitner-Poma since 1991, said the new facility allows for a more efficient flow of manufacturing materials than the old facility, which was a converted vacuum cleaner plant when Leitner moved there.

Production can now be completed entirely indoors, Clink said, rather than moving materials in and out in bad weather.

“I enjoy my job no matter what,” Clink said. “But this is a fantastic facility.”


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