CoorsTek to expand in GJ

Plant Manager Andrew Golike stands in the plant at 2449 Riverside Parkway in Grand Junction. CoorsTek has had a facility in Grand Junction since 1977 and employs roughly 150 people locally.

Golden-based global manufacturer CoorsTek has plans to grow its Grand Junction operation in the next few years.

The technical ceramics manufacturer, which makes parts for the automotive, aerospace, medical and defense industries, will improve its existing facility in Grand Junction and relocate some Front Range manufacturing to the Western Slope. With the expansion, CoorsTek estimates it will invest between $10 million and $11 million in the Grand Valley.

CoorsTek has had a facility in Grand Junction since 1977 and employs roughly 150 people locally. Once the manufacturing is moved, the company plans to add between 30 and 40 jobs to the Grand Valley, according to CoorsTek Grand Junction plant manager Andrew Golike.

The company was founded more than 100 years ago by Adolph Coors. It employs around 6,000 people and is the largest privately held ceramics company in the world with 34 facilities in 10 countries. Its products appear in everyday items such as cellphones and automobiles. It also makes armor for military personnel, among other things.

Roughly half of the jobs relocating will be employees from Golden moving to Grand Junction. Golike said CoorsTek has sufficient space in its current location to accommodate the move. The company had hoped to keep this manufacturing piece in Colorado.

"This Grand Junction facility was selected because we have the space. It's a large facility, the labor force is here, and the ability and skill set in Grand Junction was a really good fit for these products," he said. "We offer global solutions, but with local expertise."

Golike said Grand Junction was always an attractive market for a CoorsTek facility due to its supply of low-cost natural gas and strong workforce. Employees have stayed with the company for an average of 18 years.

The first phase of the expansion, Golike said is to improve the production facilities as a way to stay competitive with things such as robotics and artificial intelligence.

The manufacturing relocation will include moving two large kilns that are each nearly 200-feet long and get up to 1,600 degrees Celsius, Golike said.

The need to move the product lines out of Golden was due to the age of that building.

"That facility is very old," Golike said. "It's been added onto about 18 times."

It could take up to a few years until the relocation is complete.

"You don't make a move like this quickly," Golike said.

Last month, CoorsTek received a tax incentive from Mesa County for the growth. With the incentive, the county would forgo roughly $80,000 in tax money over a 10-year period.

Mesa County Commissioners felt it was a good tradeoff with the $10 million to $11 million investment from CoorsTek to expand and help the county retain the company.

"We're appreciative for opportunity," commissioner Rose Pugliese said.