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Two Topeka companies to expand and add jobs with added funds from JEDO

(WIBW)
Published: May. 13, 2020 at 5:58 PM CDT
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The Joint Economic Development Organization board approved two projects to help expand the Topeka Foundry & Iron Works and HME, Inc.

The HME, Inc. project was previously referred to as “Project Spark,” and is expected to produce 167 new full-time jobs for Topekans, with an average yearly wage of $40,000, plus benefits. The initial investment is expected to be about $6 million. However, within the next 10 years the impact is expected to bring Topeka about $400 million.

The Topeka Foundry & Iron Works is one of Topeka’s oldest businesses and is a full-service machine shop that offers construction services, machining services and additionally commercial doors and hardware.

The project was previously referred to as “Project Bond,” and is expected to produce up to 75 new full-time jobs for Topekans with an average yearly wage of $45,000, plus benefits.

HME, Inc. Project

“Over the next five years, we have plans to grow three additional facilities on our Button Road facility,” says Kevin Rake, CFO of HME, Inc. Rake says phase one of their three-phase expansion project is expected to begin at the end of 2020.

Phase one will involve heavy structural expansion to the company’s paint shop and welding facilities.

“This will add an additional 36,000 square feet and will include multiple additions to equipment, such as integrated painting lines and 40 additional welding stations,” says Rake.

Phase two will be a 16,000 square foot expansion in manufacturing space in one of the HME facilities that produces materials for handrails, stairs and ladders.

“Since the beginning, we have been looking at ways to expand and hire more people in the Topeka and Shawnee County area,” says Rake. “It’s incentive programs like these offered through JEDO and GO Topeka that allow us to continue to grow our capacity both in employees and overall revenue we can generate as a company.”

Lastly, Rake says that phase three will be the creation of an approximately 60,000 square foot manufacturing facility that will be able to produce heavy iron structural beams for schools, hospitals and government contracted projects.

Molly Howey, president of GO Topeka, an organization of the Greater Topeka Partnership, says, “This is a win for Topeka’s steel and metal manufacturing industry. Not only will this expansion allow HME to acquire bigger projects and create more specialized jobs, it will also allow Topeka to step out as a front-runner in this manufacturing field.”

Topeka Foundry & Iron Works Project

“Since being founded in 1876, the Topeka Foundry & Iron Works has been a strong part of the Topeka and Shawnee County community,” says Angela Ayala, controller at Topeka Foundry. “Our goal is to provide our employees with competitive wages, benefits and opportunities for growth. The only way we can achieve that goal is to grow and be innovative and to invest back into our employees, equipment and our buildings.”

The original investment includes building expansion, including an expansion of the Commercial Door division and equipment updates and purchases of $5 million. Over the next 10 years the expansion is expected to bring Topeka about $208 million.

“This is a fitting expansion of one of Topeka’s oldest businesses,” says Molly Howey, president of GO Topeka, an organization of the Greater Topeka Partnership. “GO Topeka is pleased to help Topeka Foundry & Iron Works continue to promote economic growth in the community as well as new technology and innovation.”