Laird makes move to Warren

WARREN – The city is becoming the new home of a division of Laird Wireless Automation, which is bringing more than 200 jobs and $12.5 million worth of payroll into the city.

Cattron-Theimeg Inc., which operates as a unit of Laird Wireless, is taking over space formerly occupied by Delphi Packard Electric, 655 North River Road. The company is moving 150 jobs from its current location in Sharpsville, Pa., and has a plan to create 55 new jobs over the next three year at its new site.

The company has outgrown its Sharpsville, Pa., site.

“We are excited about the future opportunities in Warren,” Rick Morse, senior vice president and general manager for Laird, said. “As we focus on providing innovation, reliable fulfillment and speed to our customers, this move helps us meet these goals through greater operational efficiency with the additional space.”

Kellogg Company, which moved into the North River Road site in 2013, will maintain its distribution center in the rear of the building. Laird will occupy 83,000 square feet of the 256,000-square-foot building.

The move will begin this spring and is expected to be completed in the early summer.

Sarah Boyarko, regional vice president of economic development at the Youngstown / Warren Regional Chamber, said the company is bringing about $9.5 million in existing payroll and plans to create another $3 million a year in payroll over a three-year period.

“We are providing the company local and regional supply chain resources and are providing local moving companies,” Boyarko said. “Warren is about 20 minutes away from Sharpsville, so it should not be too difficult for its current employees to travel.”

Mayor Doug Franklin said the company was provided a 55 percent, nine-year job creation tax credit as an incentive. It is willing to provide six additional acres for expansion.

City officials also offered to waive tap-in fees for city utilities, provide a 10-year, 63 percent rebate of the net income tax withholding of the new employees paid to the city, and an additional 63 percent tax credit on the net profit liability.

A property tax abatement of up to 75 percent on new evaluation for new abatement at the site has been offered.

It was during the discussions with Laird officials that the administration encouraged council to pass emergency legislation that allows tax credits to be provided to companies bringing in existing jobs into the city.

“Before, we could only provide tax credits on newly created jobs,” Franklin said. “It was another enticement.”

“The fact that this company has decided to locate here shows that Laird officials recognized city’s effort to invest in itself and it is sending a signal that Warren is hospitable to companies looking to do business.”

Michael Keys, the city’s community development director, said they worked with Warren Redevelopment and Planning to make sure the additional six acres would be available if the company later wants to expand. The acres being made available is owned by WRAP.

“That may have been a factor in it deciding to move here, because company officials expect growth and they wanted to make sure they had the capability to do so,” Keys said.

Franklin described Laird Wireless as the largest company to move into the city since he was elected as mayor.

“The jobs being brought and is expected to be created offsets what was lost with the closing of the General Electric plant,” Franklin said.

Cattron-Theimeg was founded by Jim Cattron in Sharpsville, and now is part of London-based Laird. That multi-million dollar company also operates a second location on the West Coast and has operations in South Africa, Brazil, Canada and Europe.