A manufacturer in the renewable energy industry is setting up shop near New Mexico’s southern border, and plans to create more than 300 jobs in the region.
State and county officials gathered in Chamberino Friday to welcome WTEC Energy Corp., a New Jersey-based company that manufactures wire cable designed to power solar projects and wind turbines, to the rural Doña Ana County community.
With support from the state and county, WTEC purchased an unoccupied 68,000-square-foot warehouse that once housed a pet food processing plant as its base of operations in New Mexico. State and local leaders expect the project to create 315 manufacturing jobs and have an economic impact of more than $400 million over the next decade.
“It’s a project that has so much positive impact for rural New Mexico, and that’s what excites me the most,” said Davin Lopez, president and CEO of the Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance, during a news conference Friday morning.
A handful of manufacturers have added operations in Doña Ana County recently, including Admiral Cable and Cymmetrik. Economic Development Cabinet Secretary Alicia Keyes said during the press conference that the area has been a target for manufacturers looking to expand or add operations on the United States side of the border.
“We’re seeing a huge amount of manufacturing companies looking to the United States, and specifically to this region,” Keyes said.
However, many of those projects have taken place in or near Santa Teresa rather than more rural parts of the county like Chamberino, about 12 miles north. Doña Ana County Commissioner Manuel Sanchez said the investment will help keep locals in the community, and encourage those who have left to move back.
“Success here will mean success for 300-plus families,” Sanchez during the conference.
The project will be supported by $2 million from the state’s Local Economic Development Act job-creation fund, along with $100,000 from the El Paso Electric New Mexico Economic Development fund, which is administered by MVEDA and the Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico.
Kevin Bate, executive vice president of WTEC, said the funding was a key reason the company looked to locate the facility in New Mexico rather than Texas.
“It’s a huge vote of confidence in our project,” Bate said.
Additionally, Bate said New Mexico’s western location played a part in the company’s decision to locate there. He said the company’s cable line development is concentrated in Florida, but most of its customers in the wind and solar energy industries are located in the West. Bate said the company plans to begin installation early next year.
“As we look to the future, that’s very much what we want to become is an integral part of the community,” he said.