Vermont Business Magazine At a time when Entergy is reducing employment at the nearby Vermont Yankee plant as it winds down operations, the Brattleboro area is seeing significant investment at an important local manufacturer. Governor Peter Shumlin, US Senator Patrick Leahy, US Congressman Peter Welch, and local officials joined Norm Schneeberger, President and CEO of GS Precision, to break ground on a $17 million expansion that will bring 100 new jobs to Brattleboro in the next few years. The event capped nearly eight months of work by GS Precision, Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation, the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA), and the Town of Brattleboro to ensure that the company expanded its business in Brattleboro and not elsewhere.
Welch, Leahy, Shumlin at the GS Precision event. Courtesy photo.
“This project has been a team effort to combine federal, state, and local resources to retain and create great jobs in Brattleboro,” said Governor Shumlin. “This is the kind of public-private partnership that will help ensure Windham County’s economic future.”
“The high-paying, quality manufacturing jobs that will be here in Brattleboro through this expansion should make all Vermonters proud,” Senator Leahy said. “No rock was left unturned in finding the resources to finance this deal. I am pleased that Vermont could count on federal programs to partner with G.S. Precision to make this possible. This creative package shows once again that successful economic development is truly a team sport.”
“This is great news for Brattleboro and Windham County,” said Congressman Welch. “I applaud the collaborative efforts of state and community leaders who marshalled the federal, state and local resources needed to keep a great company with deep Vermont roots right where it belongs in the Green Mountain State.”
GS Precision manufactures high-precision machined components and assemblies for commercial and military aircraft engines, power generation turbines, defense systems, thermal imaging devices and other commercial industries. The company has been doing business in Southern Vermont for almost sixty years. G.S. Precision’s corporate headquarters are in Brattleboro, but they also have manufacturing facilities in New Hampshire, Mexico and California. Growth opportunities, primarily in the Aircraft Engine and Power Generation Turbine markets had G.S. Precision considering the possibility of an expansion out of state.
“The expansion of our facilities in Brattleboro along with the investments in equipment made possible by this project will allow us to increase our capacity to meet the growing demands of the markets that we serve,” said G.S. Precision President and CEO Norm Schneeberger. “The combined efforts of Senator Leahy, Governor Shumlin, Pat Moulton and her team at the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, Adam Grinold and the BDCC, the Town of Brattleboro and many other individuals have been instrumental in our decision to focus our expansion plans in Brattleboro. On behalf of all GSP employees, I offer our gratitude and appreciation.”
The event took place at 347 John Seitz Drive at the Exit One Industrial Park which is a part of the G.S. Precision expansion. The project will accommodate the company’s expansion of operations, purchase of new equipment and plans for adding 100 employees in the next few years.
“Retaining GSP’s 300 plus high quality jobs and creating at least 100 more is enormously important to our community,” said Brattleboro Town Manager Peter Elwell, “especially at this time when VY jobs are leaving the area.” Elwell noted that the Town’s Selectboard unanimously supported Brattleboro’s financial contributions to the project and said “The Town of Brattleboro is grateful to GS Precision for making this commitment and to the State of Vermont and BDCC for their leadership in making it possible.”
The total combined investment in the expansion project is approximately $17 million. A number of private and public financing tools were utilized including TD Bank and VEDA financing, CDBG, New Market Tax Credits, and Windham County Economic Development Funding, and Vermont Employment Growth Incentives.
“BDCC has been an integral part of several job creating expansions in recent years including the renovation of the Brooks House and the construction and expansion of the Commonwealth Dairy facility,” noted Craig Miskovich, President of BDCC. “We expect to see that expertise continue to pay dividends for our economy.”
BDCC Executive Director Adam Grinold said that BDCC provided leadership in efforts to identify and assemble a number of appropriate federal, state and local supports to accommodate the decision by G.S. Precision to expand in Vermont, noting “as with any large private sector development project, the details that need to be worked out and agreements that need to be negotiated require patience, time and expertise. We are thrilled at this end result.”
Vermont Yankee ceased operations at the nuclear plant in Vernon in December 2014. Employment, which was at over 600 when fully operational, and is around 200 now, will eventually wind down to about 24 after 2020 when the spent fuel has all been moved onsite to dry cask storage.