Todd Fowler told a joint meeting of the county council and commissioners that exo-s is on the verge of expanding even before getting open. “With the merger and acquisition opportunity we will be looking at adding about 90,000 sq. ft. and 250 more employees,” he said.
The company currently occupies some 191,000 sq. ft. and is expecting to have 350 employees. The new acquisition will add $15 million in sales to the current $30 million for exo-s.
Fowler said that three presses are currently being operated at the Howe site with another coming in this week from Wisconsin. There are now 20 people working at the Howe location. The first shipment of parts went out last week.
Additional presses will be moving from Three Rivers, Mich., as soon as the frost law restrictions are removed from state roads.
“We are working with Work-One and three or four different employment agencies to gather up more help,” Fowler stated. He said the operation will run three shifts six days a week.
It was announced at the meeting that Howe Military School has agreed to sell up to 10 acres of land for the projected 90,000 sq. ft. expansion. The company has agreed to set aside one acre of the land for a water tower.
The proposed water tower of some 250,000 gallons capacity will be adequate to satisfy the insurance requirements for fire suppression equipment at exo-s as well as the potential for supplying water to additional industrial customers or perhaps even the village of Howe. Lakeland School Corporation has indicated they have a need for potable water at Lima-Brighton Elementary School.
When the project is completed, the county utility district will need to accept the water line and tower for maintenance and operations.
Casey Erwin, an engineer with DLZ Engineering, was instructed to bring cost estimates for the new tower to a joint meeting of council and commissioners set for Monday, April 14. It is expected that a decision will be made at that meeting regarding the water tower and a manner in which to finance the construction. The cost may be taken from the Major Moves Fund or as an alternative it may be paid through TIF (Tax Incremental Finance) financing.