Recycled materials manufacturer Envirolastech Inc. will add 26 workers when it opens a $3 million production facility east of Rochester, state officials announced Monday.
The fledgling company, which manufactures new building materials out of used glass and plastic, plans to build an 18,000 square-foot facility in St. Charles' Chattanooga Innovation Park, along Interstate 90. Wages for the new workers will average $15.47 an hour.
The plant's location is expected to be a big win for all involved, state officials said.
It will be easily accessible by highway and sit near Winona State University, which has a polymer engineering program that could supply Envirolastech with student interns and job candidates.
The new factory also will be close to a tool-and-die firm and several other "supportive" businesses that could become vendors or customers, officials said.
The company plans to invest $1 million in the building and $2 million in machinery and equipment that can manufacture waterproof decking, siding and other construction products that are used just like lumber, wood siding and concrete blocks.
"Envirolastech is bringing needed employment investment to a community that was devastated when North Star Foods closed after a fire in 2009," said Shawntera Hardy, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). "The company, with its innovative products, has much promise and is well-positioned for growth in the green-building sector."
If Envirolastech fulfills its construction and hiring schedule, it will receive a $183,766 grant from the Minnesota Job Creation Fund that DEED oversees, Hardy said.
Envirolastech co-founder Paul Schmitt of Rochester has been developing and testing the technology for nearly 20 years. CEO Jeffery Mintz and logistics director Geno Wente, also both Rochester residents, will launch the new production facility with Schmitt.
If all goes according to plan, the operation could begin in 2017.
Envirolastech won the clean technology category in the Minnesota Cup competition in 2012. Judges liked the fact that all of its products are 100 percent made from post-consumer recycled waste.