ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Grant could help Altec grow: Duluth may seek $550K to fuel expansion

Altec Inc., a manufacturer of specialized aerial lift trucks, may be poised for another round of significant growth in Duluth. Monday night, the Duluth City Council will likely vote to authorize an application for $550,000 in state economic devel...

Altec open house
Safety trainer Phil Doud looks at aerial lift trucks at the Altec HiLine Duluth Operations in 2014. File / News Tribune
We are part of The Trust Project.

Altec Inc., a manufacturer of specialized aerial lift trucks, may be poised for another round of significant growth in Duluth.

Monday night, the Duluth City Council will likely vote to authorize an application for $550,000 in state economic development funds to help the company expand.

Altec already employs 229 people in Duluth and projects it could hire an additional 100 workers in the next couple of years, given the right help. The company anticipates an accompanying investment of about $12.5 million in the local production facility, located at the Clure Marine Terminal.

Assuming city councilors sign off on the application, Heather Rand, Duluth's director of business development, said she believes the city can make a strong case in support of Altec.

"When you have a large employer who pays a solid, respectable wage and has opportunities for advancement and is in a growth mode, it's very appropriate for a city to attempt to partner with the state and support the growth of that company with this type of tool," she said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Rand said that if the city is successful in obtaining a Minnesota Investment Fund Grant from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, those dollars would be used to offer a loan tied to the company. That loan could be forgiven if Altec meets its job creation and plant expansion projections.

Similar types of loans from the same funding source have been used to successfully support the growth of other enterprises in Duluth, including Cirrus Aircraft and AAR Corp., the operator of an aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul facility.

Rand noted that Altec could direct its energies elsewhere if Duluth doesn't step up.

"They're a company with multiple locations in multiple states, and of course we would like to support their continued growth in Duluth," she said.

Employees at Duluth's Altec facility are reported to earn no less than $16.80 per hour as a starting wage, plus benefits.

Vanta Coda, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, which is Altec's landlord, said: "We've always encouraged them to do their best to grow, and we've advised them we'll do everything we can from our end to help them accomplish that. We've expanded their footprint for inbound chassis significantly over the past year, and we're currently seeking to do more. That's really one of the inputs for them to be able to work on more equipment. So we're doing our best to facilitate that."

Related Topics: MANUFACTURING
Peter Passi covers city government for the Duluth News Tribune. He joined the paper in April 2000, initially as a business reporter but has worked a number of beats through the years.
What to read next
Forum Communications Company recently asked subscribers to complete a reader survey. Those who participated were automatically entered for a chance to win a $250 prize. Seven lucky winners were drawn at random from all of the eligible entries. Read more to find out who won.