January 25, 2012 in Business

Servatron to move this spring

Manufacturer to occupy part of former Itronix site
By The Spokesman-Review
 

After a sluggish 2010 and 2011, Spokane Valley contract manufacturing firm Servatron Inc. hopes to boost annual sales to the $30 million mark, in part by moving to a newer building this spring.

The company will move into about 50,000 square feet of the former Itronix building at 12825 E. Mirabeau Parkway. It’s been at its current site, near the Spokane Business & Industrial Park, since 2000 when it was spun out of Itron as a specialty contract manufacturer.

Company President Tod Byers said that privately held Servatron hasn’t had a loss during its 12 years in business. But its current building — roughly the same size as the Mirabeau facility — has fewer advantages than the new site, Byers said.

“The new location just shows better,” Byers said. Winning new contracts depends in part on good impressions when prospective customers make visits to Spokane. Itronix, which made rugged computers, occupied the building from 2005 to 2009.

Servatron expects to move in by the end of March.

Servatron’s headcount is about 190, down some from 230 in the peak years in 2007 and 2008.

Even so, Servatron ended the year with a record level of backlogged orders, Byers noted.

“We’ve hired probably 40 people in the past four months,” he said.

General Dynamics bought Itronix in late 2005 and closed the Mirabeau Parkway facility in 2009, moving some of that work to Florida. It still holds a lease on the building.

Byers said the search for the right building took two years. The deal for the Mirabeau building resulted from efforts by NAI Black broker Chris Bell.

Two other tenants use the remaining 50,000 square feet of space in the Mirabeau building: Jigsaw, which moved to Spokane Valley from Post Falls last year, and Avista Corp., Bell said.

Some of Servatron’s recent spurt in orders comes from contracts with Seattle and Portland companies mostly making industrial electronic components.

Servatron lands those jobs due to its reputation for handling technically complex products, Byers said.

It also has a legacy of fulfilling orders for wireless or radio components. That’s helped Servatron open the door to a growing list of military contracts.

Servatron still makes handheld receivers for Itron, its first customer. Servatron also has a contract with General Dynamics, providing repair services.

Service work now accounts for 20 percent of total revenue. “That’s another area we’re hoping to grow,” Byers added.


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