Camso Manufacturing plans expansion

Camso Manufacturing USA plans to relocate to a new, 240,000-square-foot facility in Peosta as part of a $6.37 million expansion project that will add 40 jobs, according to company officials. The expansion is contingent on tax incentives and financial support from Iowa Economic Development Authority. IEDA board members are expected to vote on an economic development agreement with Camso. Formerly known as Camoplast Solideal, Camso is based in Canada and opened its Peosta location in the late 1990s.

Camso initially produced snowmobile tracks in Peosta. However, for the past decade, Peosta operations have focused on manufacturing track systems for vehicles in the material-handling, agricultural and construction industries.

Camso currently occupies about 155,000 square feet in facilities at 8625 Enterprise Drive and 8705 Enterprise Drive. The new facility will be located across the street at 8650 Enterprise Drive.

Patrick Fortin, plant director at Camso’s Peosta facility, said the expansion will allow the company to support increasing demand for its track systems.

“With this project, we are going to combine our two buildings into one, which will increase our efficiency,” he said. “It will also allow us to take on more projects to come. It will be great for us and our team in Peosta.”

According to IEDA documents, Camso plans to invest $3 million in new equipment and $1.5 million in building construction. The remaining investment of $1.87 million is attributed to capital lease costs.

Fortin said preparations for the new building will begin in June and Camso will begin moving into the location in July. The move will be carried out in three phases and won’t be complete until December.

“We are doing this in a way that will not affect our production or product availability,” he said.

In early 2012, Camoplast announced plans for a $2.5 million expansion of its facility and pledged to add more than 20 jobs.

“This is the second time in five years they are doing a major expansion project,” said Dan McDonald, vice president of existing business for Greater Dubuque Development Corp. “Doing this not just once, but twice in five years, that is a big deal.”

The company has 74 workers, according to Fortin. He said the 40 new hires would occur over the next three years and include engineers, technicians, painters, assemblers, supervisors, maintenance workers and more.

Pending IEDA approval, Camso will receive a $30,400 forgivable loan and a $191,172 investment tax credit. In order to maintain this funding, the business must hire eight employees at $21.18 per hour. These jobs must be added by April 30, 2020, and maintained through April 30, 2022.

East Central Iowa Intergovernmental Agency also is providing a $60,000 local match, McDonald said. The City of Peosta will vote Tuesday to sponsor the project but will not contribute funding, according to McDonald.

Last month, the Northeast Iowa Community College Board of Trustees approved a preliminary agreement that would provide Camso with $237,000 in job-training funds through the 260E Iowa New Jobs Training Program. McDonald said this likely will gain final approval in May. Camso must add 40 jobs to maintain this support.