This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Clearfield • State hopes of becoming an integral hub of the aerospace industry were bolstered Thursday by two related developments.
ATK Aerospace Systems gave the goal a big boost, announcing it will invest $100 million to develop a manufacturing facility in Clearfield that will create 802 high-paying jobs over the next 20 years, generating almost $1 billion in wages along the way.
The new facility will be adjacent to an existing ATK operation that uses computer-driven robotic machines to weave composite fibers into wing skins for stealthy U.S. fighter jets. Composite frames for military aircraft will be created in the new building, the primary focus of which will be on manufacturing composite airframes and engine structures for commercial aircraft.
"Our aerospace cluster is very healthy and getting healthier. This is the beginning of what you will see happening around Hill Air Force Base," said Gov. Gary Herbert, who attended the announcement at Clearfield City Hall moments after participating in a groundbreaking ceremony in Layton for Janicki Industries' new $19.5 million manufacturing plant.
Janicki will employ 50 people at the new East Gate Industrial Park building, manufacturing composite parts intended largely for ATK.
The Davis County events coincided with a meeting in Clearfield of the Governor's Office of Economic Development (GOED) board. It supplied the final linchpin for ATK's expansion, voting unanimously to offer the Minneapolis-based company a $19 million tax incentive to build the new facility.
The incentive will come as a post-performance tax credit, representing about 30 percent of the additional state tax revenues ($62.9 million) the facility is expected to generate over the next two decades.
GOED also may provide up to $262,000 to fund training for 131 specialized positions that will be created in the facility's first two years.
"Utah provides a great place to do business. Companies can grow and prosper here," said ATK President and CEO Mark DeYoung, an Ogden native.
He noted that ATK already has about 4,000 employees in Utah, counting its aerospace operations in West Valley City and Clearfield, its armaments and munitions headquarters in Clearfield and its shrinking space program in Box Elder County.
Fifty years of working in the state convinced ATK to make the $100 million investment in a "Composites Center of Excellence," DeYoung said, citing the supporting presence of aerospace programs at Utah's universities and colleges, a well-educated and trained work force and state policies that allow the company to compete globally.
GOED Executive Director Spencer Eccles attributed that helpful government influence to a partnership between the state and local governments.
"It's part of our secret sauce," he quipped, adding seriously that ATK's announcement represents "a red-letter day" for the state.
Clearfield Mayor Don Wood reflected that ATK's expansion decision is "symbolic of Clearfield's rich manufacturing heritage," which extends from aerospace products to basketball hoops. "We're so proud of our contributions to being the northern Utah job center."
The 615,000 square-foot facility is expected to begin operations in the summer of 2011, said ATK spokeswoman Heather Kralik. Renovations to an existing building will equip it with fiber-placement machines, automated form stiffeners, ultrasonic inspection equipment and other high-tech machinery.
She said hiring will begin in the spring. The 802 new positions will pay 125 percent of the Davis County average wage of $35,500. Over the next 20 years, that should amount to $939 million in additional state wages.
"That's a remarkable infusion into our economy," Herbert said. "It's all about jobs. We want high-paying jobs … Utah is on the march. Catch the wake. Go with us."
New ATK Plant
• Will build composite frames for military and commercial aircraft, engine structures for commercial planes
• Expected to employ 802, including many engineers
• Projected to generate $939 million in wages, $63 million in state taxes
• ATK will make an initial investment of $100 million
• If ATK performs as promised, state will rebate $19 million in tax credits
2010: Banner year for bringing jobs to Utah
In 2010, Utah has shaken off the recession, with several companies announcing plans to open operations here:
Adobe Systems Inc. • It will build a $100 million campus in Orem, hiring more than 1,000 employees.
Twitter • The social networking company intends to move its data center to Salt Lake City.
Electronic Arts Inc. • The video game producer opened a 20,000-square-foot Salt Lake City plant with 100 employees.
eBay • It plans to house its primary data center in a $287 million building in Draper.
Oracle • It intends to resume construction on a large data center in Salt Lake City, creating 100 jobs.
Janicki Industries Inc. • It will hire 50 employees for its composite tool-manufacturing plant in Layton.