Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

"SEL announces plan to add 300 new jobs; Most of the new positions will be located in Pullman"

If it were not for Schweitzer Engineering both the City of Pullman and Whitman County would likely be facing negative population, jobs, and income losses. Because of the underdeveloped retail trade, service, and housing sector in Pullman, Moscow may be benefiting as much from the growth of Schweitzer Engineering as Pullman.
- Steve Peterson, "Moscow at a Tipping Point: An Economic Analysis of the Retail Trade Sector, the Local Economy, and the Effects of Locating a Super Wal-Mart in the Moscow, Idaho Regional Economy"

Thanks to the courageous efforts of the Whitman County Commissioners and the Hawkins Companies, the development logjam created by the unholy alliance of local NIMBYists and left-wing nutjobs has been broken up. Whitman County will now start to benefit from the expansion of SEL. Now, all we need is for the Appeals Court to dismiss PARD's pointless appeal of Wal-Mart, and Pullman can start to benefit as well and we will have total victory!! What a great day for Whitman County!

From today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:

Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories plans to expand operations and add hundreds of new jobs in Pullman.

The Pullman-based company announced Monday that more than 300 new employees will be needed to help the growing company.

Susan Fagan, SEL director of public affairs, said "most" of the open positions will be needed in Pullman. She said about 100 positions already are listed online, while nearly 200 more will be added during the next two quarters.

In 2007, SEL added 248 new positions and now employs about 1,000 people at its Pullman headquarters.

With roots in manufacturing parts used in generating electric power, SEL introduced the world's first digital relay in 1984. Since then, the company has created products used in oil refineries, wind farms and high-voltage substations. Its products include clocks that are accurate to the microsecond, encryption equipment used to protect secure equipment and systems for the U.S. Navy that allow ships to run on electrical power rather than steam power.

The company's products are sold in 120 countries.

Fagan said the new batch of open positions are a reflection of growth caused by "new products, new locations and new companies."

"Hiring these new people will help us grow and continue to meet the demand of our customers," she said. "We're creating new markets by inventing, designing and manufacturing new products."

Fagan said the company seeks employees to work in the flight department, production, engineering, manufacturing, administration and more. Open job listings can be viewed at www.selinc.com.

In 2006, SEL's manufacturing facilities doubled to more than 200,000 square feet, which allowed for new equipment, expanded lines and room for additional employees. More than half of the company's Pullman employees work in manufacturing operations.

Fagan said the increase of employees will equate to more products for vendors and more business for shipping companies. She said the impact will resonate in the local economy.

"It's an exciting time for our company ... and it's exciting for our economy in our area," Fagan said. "There will be more families, and they'll need homes. They'll have kids that go to schools. They'll need services."

Pullman Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Fritz Hughes agreed. He said the SEL employee expansion will be a benefit to the entire region.

"It's a good quality of life that SEL provides for the community and that's a big benefit," he said. "It's a tremendous asset to our community.

"This brings in people and gives good stable employment for people so they don't have to leave" the area.

SEL was founded in Pullman in 1982 and employs more than 1,500 people in 64 locations around the world.


Michael said...

Gee. I dunno. Isn't there some risk that a few of these new hires will be representatives of "undesireable social elements?"

Somebody call PARD.

Mattwi said...

Not to steal Susan's sunshine and lollipops optimism... but how many SEL employees working the assembly line actually own a home in Pullman?

I doubt a lot of them actually own a home...

Even some people working in Engineering at SEL cannot afford a house in Pullman...

Sad but true...

Tom Forbes said...

All too true unfortunately, Matt.

We can only hope that now that the utility problem in the corridor is well on its way to being solved, we'll see some affordable housing start to be built there, as housing prices in Pullman and Moscow are beyond belief.

April E. Coggins said...

Mattwi: There are a heck of a lot more people who work at Schweitzer who own homes in Pullman compared to the people who have no job at all. It's not doom and gloom to offer people jobs and opportunity. For some individuals it will mean the opportunity to start saving for their first home.

Michael said...

I can't remember the woman's name (she's in human resource at SEL or something), but she told me months ago that SEL had 100 electrical engineering jobs open. I'd wager that most electrical engineers (even the undesirable ones) can afford homes.