City approves $10M in bond financing to help manufacturer expand

ST. GEORGE – A St. George-based manufacturer that started its operation in a garage over 40 years ago is getting help expanding to a 75,000-square-foot facility thanks to the City Council’s unanimous decision to facilitate financing of the multimillion dollar growth project.

Ram Company founders Ray and Melzie Ganowsky. The company started in 1975 out of their garage and is geared to begin an $11 million expansion, St. George, Utah, March 17, 2017 | Photo by Mike Cole, St. George News

Ram Company produces solenoids and solenoid valves that are used in commercial and military aircraft, space satellites, SpaceX spacecraft and, at least in one case, a two-man research submarine in Hawaii.

Named for the company’s founders, Ray and Melzie Ganowsky, Ram Company currently employs 250 people and is housed in a 55,000-square-foot facility that is packed tight with equipment and personnel.

The company is renting a building nearby to accommodate the extra office space it needs for staff, Ray Ganowsky said during a company tour Friday.

To remedy the space issue, Ram will be investing in an $11 million expansion to a 75,000-square-foot facility. The expansion will also provide additional parking for employees.

“You can always find a place for a person,” Melzie Ganowsky said, “but you can’t find a place for their car.”

To aid with the expansion, the St. George City Council last week approved up to $10 million in industrial development bonds for Ram’s advantage. This will enable the company to piggyback off the city’s bond rating, issuing bonds that Ram will be at risk for, not the city.

Inside Ram Company, a St. George-based manufacturer of solenoids and solenoid valves that are used in commercial and military aircraft, space satellites, SpaceX spacecraft and other applications, Last week the St. George City Council approved the use of industrial development bonds to help finance Ram’s $11 million expansion, St. George, Utah, March 17, 2017 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

“Because of the economic development and impact (the expansion will have), it’s a benefit to both them and the entire community,” Mayor Jon Pike said. “We’re more than happy to lend our name to something like that. … For us it’s a great opportunity to invest in the company just ever so slightly.”

Bringing in higher paying, tech-based and manufacturing jobs to St. George is a goal of city and state officials. Aiding Ram Company will help achieve that goal.

“There aren’t a lot of companies here in that sector of the economy that compete in really high-technical spaces,” said Brian McMann, Ram’s vice president of business development.

In the manufacturing portion of the current facility, high-tech machinery and personnel create the parts that will eventually be used in an array of applications in the aerospace industry. These products make up around 80 percent of Ram’s production.

“Orders for aerospace are overwhelming,” McMann said.

Ram produces around 20,000 parts a month for aerospace and other industries. A particular part the company manufactures is used by the United States Postal Service in its mail sorting system; Ram produces 75,000 of those parts annually, Ray Ganowsky said, with an estimated 9 million shipped out over the years.

Ray Ganowsky shows off the magnetic latch Ram Company produces for the U.S. Postal Service’s mail sorting systems. Last week the St. George City Council approved the use of industrial development bonds to help finance Ram’s $11 million expansion, St. George, Utah, March 17, 2017 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Finding qualified personnel to help design parts and man the machines that create them isn’t always easy, Melzie Ganowsky said.

“There have been issues finding qualified personnel,” she said, adding that company representatives often attend college and university job fairs looking for prospective recruits.

Closer to home, Ram has developed a relationship with Dixie State University and Dixie Applied Technology College in order to help create a much more local and skilled workforce. Ram has even donated some of its equipment to DXATC to help train future machinists, Melzie Ganowsky said.

Before the St. George City Council approved the industrial development bonds for Ram, the state provided the company with tax incentives through the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

Under a 2015 agreement through GOED, Ram stands to receive over $370,000 in tax credits over an eight-year period provided it reaches certain benchmarks. Those benchmarks include generating over 100 new jobs while also providing total wages at 110 percent of Washington County’s average wage.

Inside Ram Company, a St. George-based manufacturer of solenoids and solenoid valves that are used in commercial and military aircraft, space satellites, SpaceX spacecraft and other applications, Last week the St. George City Council approved the use of industrial development bonds to help finance Ram’s $11 million expansion, St. George, Utah, March 17, 2017 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Projected new state wages over the life of the agreement are estimated to be $26 million. Projected new state tax revenues, as a result of corporate, payroll and sales taxes, are estimated to be $1.9 million over the eight-year period.

“Ram is an important part of our city’s economic fabric,” Pike said. “We’re thrilled to see them earn so much success and are pleased with their decision to continue growing at home.”

Ram Company started out of the Ganowksys’ garage in 1975, eventually relocating to a 1,000-square-foot facility the next year, followed by a larger one in 1979. The expansion continued in 1990 with a 20,000-square-foot facility and on to the more recent 50,000-square-foot facility in 2006.

During this time the company kept growing in clientele, production and personnel, some of whom have been with the company going on 20-30 years, Melzie Ganowsky said. While passing by one of the rooms shown during a facility tour, she pointed out one of the company’s 30-year veterans and remarked how much he will be missed when he retires.

L-R: Ram Company founders Melzie and Ray Ganowsky walking through their company’s facility hand-in-hand while giving a tour. The company started in 1975 out of their garage and is geared to begin an $11 million expansion, St. George, Utah, March 17, 2017 | Photo by Mike Cole, St. George News

As the tour progressed, Ray Ganowsky explained the function of various machines, the parts they produce and how they are used in aircraft, satellites and other applications. He seemingly knows the ins and outs of each piece his company produces – all 2,000 of them.

Smiles and sometimes bits of laughter were had between the company founders and the employees as they passed by during the tour, taking moments to speak to each other.

All the while, the Ganowskys walked hand-in-hand through the facility.

“This is their legacy,” McMann said. “It is Ray and Melzie’s company. It always will be. Their names are on the building …. That is a legacy St. George can be proud of. To see our company start out in a garage and then to be in St. George and committed not to leaving for many, many years because of the incentives that have been offered and the jobs it will provide – that is their legacy.”

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Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

 

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4 Comments

  • Welsmj64 March 22, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    There is no good reason for government to use legalized theft by taking from one person that which is theirs and giving it to someone that it doesn’t belong to. Theft is theft no matter how it is packaged or justified and this is not the role of government to fund a private business no matter what the reason is…

    • Badshitzoo March 23, 2017 at 1:06 am

      Sorry “Welsmj64” but that is simply wrong, as well as stupid. I can think of hundreds of good, and very critical reasons for government to do exactly those things you are so against. I’m not saying this is one of them, but yeah, there are many. You should ask yourself how you, and so many others let what were once (presumably) positions of reason; warp, into what are obviously unrealistic, and unreasonable extremist positions serving no one but yourselves. I know, don’t tell me! “It all began with that black man who broke into the White House.” didn’t it.

      • Real Life March 23, 2017 at 7:27 am

        Hmmmm. Some idiot up at the wee hours of the night calling somebody stupid and rambling on incoherently. Sounds like somebody we know. Hmmmm, just who could it be?

  • Not_So_Much March 23, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    This may well be a good deal for everyone, I just don’t know where the line is drawn. If done this time what about the next time and how is each case decided? Is there any possible down side for taxpayers? Does this reduce the total amount of bond dollars available for other projects? Is this an unlimited funding plan which should be used at every opportunity? Just wondering.

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