Liberty Pumps breaks ground on Bergen expansion

Liberty Pumps broke ground on a $13.5 million expansion in Bergen. (photo provided)

Liberty Pumps has broken ground on a $13.5 million expansion in Bergen, Genesee County. The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) joined state and local partners at the site Wednesday to mark the occasion.

The new Materials Center is a 107,000-square-foot expansion and is expected to support 30 additional jobs at the family- and employee-owned manufacturer.

“We’re excited to begin another project that will benefit our approximately 300 employees, and add to our presence in Genesee County,” said Liberty Pumps CEO and Chairman Charlie Cook, “This project will relieve congestion in our current structure and free up much-needed manufacturing space for large pump systems. That’s become a significant part of our business, and we’re pleased to better support our customers with this addition.”

The addition to Liberty Pumps’ facilities at 7000 Apple Tree Ave. continues the company’s growth in Genesee County. Since opening in 1965, Liberty Pumps has become a leading manufacturer of sump, effluent and sewage pumps and systems for residential, commercial, municipal and industrial applications.

This is the third expansion by Liberty Pumps since 2000 at Apple Tree Acres, a 185-acre business park developed by the GCEDC. Upon completion, Liberty Pumps will have roughly 350,000 square feet of facilities at the site.

“With each expansion and investment, Liberty Pumps has shown a path to grow our economy, reward our talented workforce, and support our community,” said GCEDC President and CEO Steve Hyde. “We’re excited that another milestone is fast approaching. This groundbreaking celebration is just the start of more great activity in Bergen and at Apple Tree Acres. We thank Liberty Pumps for leading the way.”

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IEC Electronics breaks ground on $22 million headquarters

IEC Electronics Corp. broke ground Thursday on a 150,000-square-foot headquarters and manufacturing facility in the Wayne County town of Newark.

Since the $22 million project was announced last year, IEC has added 175 staffers. The company employs nearly 900. The company currently operates out of a century-old building roughly two miles away from its new location at the Silver Hill Technology Park. The new facility is expected to open in early 2020.

IEC Electronics President and CEO Jeffrey Schlarbaum speaks at Thursday's groundbreaking. (Photo by Velvet Spicer)
IEC Electronics President and CEO Jeffrey Schlarbaum speaks at Thursday’s groundbreaking. (Photo by Velvet Spicer)

“We’re excited to build a state-of-the-art facility here in an industrial park, which we believe will be a destination opportunity, not only to attract the best and brightest to come work for us in the future, but also to attract world-class companies like the ones we support today,” said IEC President and CEO Jeffrey Schlarbaum at the groundbreaking.

IEC is a provider of electronic manufacturing services to advanced technology companies that produce life-saving and mission-critical products for the medical, industrial, aerospace and defense sectors.

Schlarbaum noted that the 53-year-old company had peaked in 1997 with several thousand employees and revenues of nearly $300 million. But a combination of factors, including manufacturing moving overseas, caused severe shrinkage. In 2004, IEC employed just under 100 people and had revenues of less than $20 million.

Schlarbaum joined the firm that year, intending to revitalize the local manufacturer. Since that time, revenues have grown nearly sixfold; fiscal 2018 sales were $117 million.

“In the last six quarters we’ve hired over 230 new employees; 175 of them right here in Newark,” he said Thursday. “And the customers that we’re supporting today are aerospace defense customers who are building advanced electronics that are vital to our national security interests. We’re building life-saving and mission-critical medical devices. And we’re building innovative industrial products that are used in applications such as wafer fabrications for building integrated circuits.”

Empire State Development is providing up to $2 million through a Finger Lakes Forward Upstate Revitalization Initiative Grant and up to $3 million through the Excelsior Jobs Program in exchange for IEC’s job creation commitments. IEC expects to create some 360 jobs as a result of the relocation.

Rochester Gas and Electric and the New York State Electric and Gas Corp. have offered up to $670,000 in assistance for the project. Wayne County also is providing incentives for the venture, and Greater Rochester Enterprise Inc. was instrumental in helping the company remain in the Finger Lakes region. The total cost for the relocation project is roughly $22 million.

Rep. John Katko, R-Camillus, Onondaga County, attended Thursday’s groundbreaking and cited tax reform as a key component of improved competition and the ability for companies like IEC to grow.

“This is exactly what we need to do to compete on a world stage. When we cut taxes a few years ago, it allowed businesses to start planning and investing more,” Katko said. “I’m very pleased to see what’s going on here; we’ve got hundreds of new jobs right here in Upstate New York, right here in Wayne County. When people come to this place, they’re going to see modern, they’re going to see high-tech and they’re going to see investment. And those are things that give companies confidence and want to do business with you.”

Empire State Development Vice President and Finger Lakes Regional Director Vinnie Esposito said the fact that IEC is doing 100 percent of its manufacturing in the U.S. and competing in global markets elevated the project “to be something that is a marquee project in the Upstate Revitalization Initiative.”

“One thing we talk a lot about is the vision that was created years ago by our boards to make Newark a community that’s shovel-ready, and when we talk about being shovel-ready, we mean shovel-ready for families to come here and build homes, to raise families here, but also for businesses that want to grow and develop here,” Newark Mayor Jonathan Taylor said. “We’d like to thank IEC for choosing to stay here in Newark and grow and prosper. The impact of your desire to stay in Newark will have a profound effect on our community, Wayne County and the surrounding region for another 50-plus years.”

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Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer