The largest private employer in Whitman County is planning a multi-million dollar expansion during the next year that will add 850 jobs.
Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories’ plans include two new buildings totaling 200,000 square feet, one for research and development and the other for production. The company now employs 2,200 people. The new hires will be added during the next few years on the large Pullman campus.
“We like to say the best way to predict the future is to invent it,” said company president Edmund Schweitzer III. “We’re reinvesting a lot of our money right back into R&D.”
Researchers are running out of room in their current building and it’s also time to add more space to build new and existing products, Schweitzer said.
The company invents and builds products used by electrical power providers across the United States and in 148 other countries. Many of their products are also used in industries ranging from waste water to mining.The company has production facilities in Pullman, Lewiston, Indiana and Mexico.
“We have a lot of international growth,” Schweitzer said.
The construction project is expected to be complete in June 2017. Schweitzer said the company will reuse the designs of existing buildings on its campus as a way to save time and money on the estimated $23 million project. Employees can expect some small differences in the new buildings, however.
“There are a few things we can do better and we’ll crank those improvements in,” he said.
The new positions created by the expansion will include engineers, software developers, technicians, administrators, accountants and more. The jobs will add about $50 million in annual payroll costs once the hiring is complete.
“It’s a major, major investment and creates a lot of opportunity for folks who are with us and folks who are starting their careers,” Schweitzer said.
Schweitzer said he also likes the fact that the expansion will create more tax revenue for the city of Pullman, the school district and others. “It’s satisfying,” he said.