A company servicing the oil and gas industry has just added itself to the list of manufacturers making their home in Penticton.
When they were looking to expand their Edmonton facilities, Jet Power and Controls Ltd. chose Penticton as the ideal spot to create a new manufacturing plant.
“We decided to go outside the box and recognized that some of the areas in the interior of B.C. had some viable real estate options we could look at,” said Vic Carreiro, corporate services manager for Jet Power. He expects the Penticton plant, located at Government Street and Dawson Avenue, will be in operation by mid-September.
“We are aggressively trying to get things organized,” said Carreiro.
Jet Power manufactures a range of power control panels and electrical houses for the oil and gas industry for clients that include PCL Energy and Ensign Energy of Houston, Texas. The new facility, Carreiro explained, is necessary because of the rapid growth of the company, which has expanded from a 1,000 square-metre facility to 3,700 square metres in the last two years.
“It’s a tremendous amount of work, especially with the type of facility we are going to be opening, but I think it is going to be worth it,” he said. “Certainly, it is going to help with the overload we have here. It is a struggle to keep up with things. We are already in the stages of which projects we are going to be moving to Penticton.”
Manufacturing may not get as much press as tourism in Penticton, but it remains one of the main economic drivers of the community, and Jet Power will be creating 15 to 20 new jobs for skilled tradespeople.
“We are moving a few of our key personnel who have decided to move. But, we have also looked at how many qualified tradespeople are flying back and forth from the Okanagan to Fort McMurray,” said Carreiro.
Skilled trades are in demand everywhere, so Jet Power decided to test the waters before they settled on a new location, putting out advertisements for workers.
“The response was above average at first, but then it started to escalate when it became known who we were and what was going on,” said Carreiro. As expected, much of the interest was coming from commuters.
Besides availability of workers and a competitive industrial land base, Carreiro said Jet Power has had a great response from the Penticton community so far.
“Everyone in the area has been very accommodating. We have our own promotions and sign people here in Edmonton, but once I met Tony (Jacyna of Jafa Industries) over at the sign place across from us, he gave me the utmost confidence, so he is going to be doing our signage locally,” said Carreiro.
Likewise, he said, city staff and inspectors have been helpful in working with them to convert the building to their needs.
“The Jet Power people really want to work with local companies, they have made a point of calling me and asking for ideas around things like transportation and logistics and security and all of the other things they need,” said Colleen Pennington, the city’s economic development officer.
“There is the potential for us to get more business from them to bring more of their manufacturing here if it works out.”