Jun 22, 2017 5:22 PM PDT
Veronica Padilla, Reporter
Starting small: Pro West Mechanical upgrading to a brand new warehouse
"We're a general fabrication company, specializing in sheet metal manufacturing," said Jason Moore, the owner.
That's just the beginning of what Pro West does.
"Production line painting, now," Moore said. "We added in a couple years ago."
Employees also make semi truck parts, build warehouse catwalks...the list goes on. But Pro West has a problem - there's not enough space.
"We have been welding outside in the parking lot before to get projects completed," said Moore.
Manufacturing space is only about 10,000 square feet, so Moore began searching for a bigger facility. But he couldn't find one, and had to start thinking about relocating. "I didn't want to leave," Moore admitted. "I started this company by myself in my garage with just me and my wife, and it was important to keep it here."
Then Moore heard about the Yakima County Development Association. YCDA ended up finding a 75,000 square foot warehouse right next door to Pro West customer McClaren Plastics.
"YCDA was instrumental," Moore said. "I didn't know how to go about doing what they've done for us. Amazing, amazing asset."
Pro West is moving into their new facility in Wapato, and Moore expects to add as many as 50 new employees in the next year.
"When guys come to work, they have a lot of heart and dedication for the growth of the company, and we wouldn't be where we are without them, definitely."
15 years' worth of hard work and Pro West Mechanical has come a long way from the garage it started in.
"Growth is not going to be limited by the amount of work that you put into it," Moore said. "I didn't think it would ever be this big, but thankful that it is and it's very exciting."
Just for perspective, the building Pro West works out of now; you can fit seven of them in their new warehouse.
Moore expects the new building to be up and running sometime in August.
Expansion at Yakima area company to add 40 new jobs
By Mai Hoang
Jun 20, 2017
WAPATO, Wash. — Pro West Mechanical Inc. revealed plans Tuesday for the renovation and expansion of its Wapato facility that could result in 40 new jobs — many of them within the next year.
The metal fabrication and industrial spray painting company recently secured a $150,000 state grant to help pay for the renovation of its 75,000-square-foot warehouse at the Yakama Nation Industrial Park. The grant will help pay for new lighting, heating and air conditioning and the installation of new industrial paint booths, among other improvements.
The company’s 30 employees are working at both the Wapato facility at 31 Industrial Park Road and at its original 15,000-square-foot facility in Yakima. But the company plans to move all of its operations to Wapato once the renovation is completed, which is anticipated in August.
With a renovated and expanded plant, the company would add more jobs — 15 to 20 within the next year — and expand its departments, said Brandon Bushbaum, Pro West Mechanical’s head of business acquisitions.
Pro West worked with Yakima County Development Association and the state Department of Commerce to secure the grant, which is funded by the Governor’s Strategic Reserve Fund.
Jun 22, 2017 5:22 PM PDT
Veronica Padilla, Reporter
Pro West Mechanical Expands, Plans to Add 40 New Employees
June 20, 2017
Jason Moore, owner of Pro West Mechanical, Inc., in Yakima, knew that the 15-year-old business was at a crossroads. After securing some key contracts and new clients they were well positioned for tremendous growth. The company was diversifying by adding new services while growing their industrial spray painting and finishing business—and this was in addition to expanding their original metal fabrication, manufacturing, and assembly services. But this growth would bring with it a new set of challenges.
Any business on the verge of expansion has experienced it at one time or another. That critical point where the company needs to expand in order to serve more clients, but the act of expansion itself is costly, rife with risk, and can lead to down time and lost contracts—all situations that run counter to production, customer satisfaction, and the original goal.
Brandon Bushbaum, head of Business Acquisitions with Pro West Mechanical, put it this way, “the only thing limiting our growth was our floor space. We couldn’t grow our client base because we just didn’t have the room to work on their projects.” That’s when the team made a difficult, yet crucial decision: it was time to find a new location that could accommodate their future growth.
Pro West Mechanical fabricates and installs highly specialized agricultural machinery, metal fabrication and provides industrial spray painting services. From a custom made spiral production chiller at the Ivar’s Clam Chowder production facility in Mukilteo to an integrated catwalk system in a fruit packing warehouse installed in Wenatchee, any project with their name on it has become synonymous with capability and quality. And they’ve been doing all this out of a 15,000 square foot facility. “When we first began thinking about moving to a new facility,” said Moore, “we knew we wanted to be near one of our largest clients, McClaren Plastics. It just made strategic and economic sense.”
But as the team began searching, they couldn’t locate an existing facility large enough to accommodate their projected operations, and there definitely wasn’t time to build. “We were between a rock and a hard place,” explained Moore. “As much as we didn’t want to—Yakima is our home— we realized we may have to look at relocating to Idaho or eastern Oregon.” That was until they spoke to their key contacts at McClaren Plastics who were familiar with their situation and knew the benefits of keeping them nearby. “They told us to talk to Yakima County Development Association.” Yakima County Development Association (YCDA) is the economic development organization for Yakima County—and one of their primary objectives is to retain jobs and to assist local companies with expansion. “McClaren Plastics referred us to YCDA, so we picked up the phone. And that phone call was a game changer” said Bushbaum.
Jonathan Smith, Executive Director for YCDA said “when we got the call we immediately knew how important it was to keep this company in our valley. They currently employ 30 people, and with their expansion they could easily surpass 70. And these are well paying, skilled jobs.”
After the call, Smith hopped in his car and drove down to McClaren Plastics and noticed there was a large, apparently vacant building right next door. “It was a former can manufacturing facility, and at first blush appeared to be ideal. We reached out to the Yakama Land Enterprise who owns the building and scheduled a tour with the folks from Pro West.” Not long after, in June of 2016, Pro West signed a lease for the 75,000 square foot warehouse located in the Yakama Nation Industrial Park in Wapato, WA. “I don’t think we could have found a more fitting location,” said Bushbaum. “The size accommodates our growth, it opens all sorts of new possibilities for us, and our biggest client, McClaren Plastics, is literally our neighbor. It’s unbelievable how this fell into place”.
The new building, although ideally located, required some updating. New lighting, heating and air conditioning upgrades, and installation of an exhaust system to support new industrial paint booths had to be completed. “It presented a fiscal and planning challenge for us,” explained Bushbaum. “By this time we had already secured a new client and had begun moving some of our processes over to the new facility—but it was going to cost us over $500,000 out of pocket for all the needed improvements to get up and running and meet the needs of our new client and production lines. The situation was tense to say the least, and during an expansion effort like this cash flow gets tied up rather quickly.”
The team at YCDA were aware of economic development programs and incentives that could potentially help offset some of the burden and ease the expansion transition for Pro West. Smith began coordinating with the Washington State Department of Commerce, reaching out to Terry Lawhead, Community Outreach Program Facilitator, and Jaclyn Woodson, Program Manager, to evaluate Pro West’s options.
“Our objective when assisting a growing company is to do whatever we can to make certain they have a successful expansion,” said Smith. Given the time sensitive nature of Pro West’s expansion, YCDA and the Department of Commerce felt strongly that Pro West would be a good candidate to apply for funding through the Governor’s Strategic Reserve Fund. With the assistance of the Department of Commerce and YCDA, an application was submitted to the Governor’s office and a $150,000 grant was awarded to help finance the public infrastructure needed to upgrade the building. “We appreciate how the folks at YCDA, the Department of Commerce, and the Governor’s Office pulled all the stops to make this happen. This grant helped us bridge a critical financial gap and accelerate our expansion and the move to our new facility,” Bushbaum said. “Without it the move wouldn’t have been possible at this level.”
Moore expects to have the building improvements finished and the production paint line operational by the end of August, 2017. “This will enable us to service our new clients as well as increase our productivity. We will be painting 15-20 units per day and project upwards of 40 units per day once we are functioning at peak efficiency.”With this growth comes new jobs, and Pro West anticipates hiring 40 additional employees bringing full time employment to a total 70 jobs. They’ve already hired a new engineer and estimator, and will add many more fabrication, painting, and installation positions as they grow into the new space.
An economic impact assessment of the project revealed that the 70 full time employees at Pro West will support an additional 46 jobs elsewhere in the economy. With an average annual wage of more than $56,000 those jobs will generate an additional $5 million in spending on things like groceries and eating out, home furnishings, clothing, and other household items. “One of the recent hires at Pro West is an individual who grew up in the Yakima Valley but moved away because there were better job opportunities elsewhere,” said Smith. “Now there are better job opportunities here so he is back. This is a perfect example of why we do what we do.”
YAKIMA, WA - Owning a business is a daunting experience because success is never a guarantee. When they are, that creates even more challenges. Pro West Mechanical has been doing business in the Yakima Valley for 15 years.
By Mai Hoang
Jul 16, 2017
Fabricating success: Pro West Mechanical moving to even larger facility in Wapato
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Like many other small business owners, Jason Moore started his metal fabrication business, Pro West Mechanical, in a garage.
“I always wanted to work for myself,” said Moore, who started the Yakima business in 2003, when he was in his 20s.
Nearly 15 years later, many more work for Moore, now 38. Pro West Mechanical, which generated $4.5 million in revenue last year, now counts more than 35 employees. The company handles metal fabrication and industrial spray work orders for a wide variety of clients, including municipal fire departments, fruit packing houses and recreational vehicle manufacturers.
But such expansion has not been without its challenges: The company outgrew its 15,000-square-foot facility just four years after relocating its operations there.
The company will soon have far more space when it completes renovations of a 75,000-square-foot building inside Wapato’s Yakama Nation Industrial Park.
The expansion is expected to bring 40 new jobs in the next few years. And the jobs pay well: The company’s average salary is about $56,000, which is above the median income of $44,749 for Yakima County. Moore said he aims to pay employees well above minimum wage.
“I think it warrants more than minimum wage, the work I’m asking them to do,” he said.
He knows the value of a well-paying job. Prior to starting the business, he spent five years at Yakima Quality Welding, which hired him right after he graduated from Eisenhower High School in 1997.
“They taught me all I know,” he said.
The growth in Pro West Mechanical’s customer base came primarily through word of mouth and seizing chance opportunities. While most of the company’s customers are in the Yakima Valley, the company has completed jobs throughout the Pacific Northwest, including manufacturing a custom-made spiral production chiller for Ivar’s, the Seattle-based seafood restaurant chain.
The company generated additional growth when it expanded into industrial spray painting two years ago. Recently, the company secured a sizable order: painting the front caps of fifth wheel campers for a recreational vehicle company.
Moore said the company needed far more space to do that job — along with other new orders — to the best of its ability. For now, it has made do with its current facility at 4 W. Washington Ave. But every square foot is occupied and workers are constantly moving parts and equipment around to accommodate new orders. This has decreased Pro West Mechanical’s efficiency in processing customer orders, Moore said.
The company started looking for a larger space more than a year ago. After several months, prospects of staying in the Yakima Valley appeared dim, so much so that it talked to one major customer about moving to property by its manufacturing plant in Boise, Idaho.
But things changed when Moore and Brandon Bushbaum, the company’s head of business acquisitions, talked to one of their customers, Wapato’s McClarin Plastics, about their situation. The company’s officials recommended reaching out to the Yakima County Development Association.
Shortly after connecting with the association, executive director Jonathan Smith noticed that a building next to McClarin Plastics was empty.
Several months later, in June 2016, Pro West Mechanical signed a lease for the building.
The company, with Yakima County Development Association’s help, also secured a $150,000 state grant to help pay for renovations, which include new lighting, heating and air conditioning and the installation of larger paint booths at the Wapato building. The cost falls between $400,000 and $500,000, Moore said.
The renovations won’t be done until next month, but the new building has provided some relief for the company. The building already houses the company’s shipping and receiving department and several workers are there completing orders, such as condition tanks for a local hop processor.
The company plans to move all of its operations to Wapato by next spring. But there will still be plenty of room for growth — only half the building will be filled by that time, Moore said.
“I will grow as much as the world lets me,” he said.
For Smith, Pro West Mechanical is a reminder that the Yakima County Development Association needs to remain vigilant in helping existing companies grow.
Relatively young — but growing — companies such as Pro West Mechanical are going to provide new jobs for the region, he said.
“Our hope is that we can offer assistance and make that journey as easy as possible for them,” he said.