ST. GEORGE — Although economic pundits across the country are warning of difficult times ahead, business growth in Southern Utah is still on an upward trajectory.
St. George Area Economic Development and Canadian-based RS Technologies Inc., have worked for months for the company to establish a manufacturing and distribution facility in St. George.
The company plans to hire more than 350 full-time employees during the spring of 2021 in preparation for the opening of the facility. However, the company believes hiring and opening the facility can happen by January, according to St. George Area Economic Development.
RS designs and manufactures composite utility poles that are reported to be safer, more reliable and last longer than wood, steel or concrete poles. RS poles are used in the transmission of up to 345-kilovolt distribution and communication applications.
The company plans to invest approximately $35 million into a United States manufacturing expansion project, which involves moving into an existing 240,000 square foot facility at the Ft. Pierce Industrial Park.
RS plans to increase production capacity for its poles to meet growing global demand while also targeting markets in the Southwest, primarily California.
“We are really excited about this project that represented a huge community effort,” said Rusty Hughes, interim director of St. George Area Economic Development. “Southern Utah is particularly well positioned for the distribution efforts in the Western region.”
The city of St. George has approved a local incentive of up to $50,000 per year post-performance property tax refund for 2021 and 2022.
“We welcome RS’s expansion to Ft. Pierce as it joins numerous leaders in manufacturing and distribution that call St. George home,” St. George Mayor Jon Pike said. “The hundreds of well-paying jobs will create benefits to our local economy in many ways.”
Because Washington County still maintains its spot as one of the fastest-growing areas in the nation, it is attracting business relocation and new residents moving in monthly even with the current pandemic.
“We are excited RS chose to locate in St. George (and move into) the former Viracon facility in the Ft. Pierce Industrial Park,” said Troy Scheel, of Collier’s International in a statement. “We are grateful for the opportunity to have worked on this project and to have played a role in bringing manufacturing jobs to the area.”
A private company manufacturing of utility poles in Canada since 2003, RS has more than 400 customers in more than 25 countries.
“With company values like, caring, integrity, quality, teamwork, respect and growth, RS is a welcome addition to a community that shares the same principles and innovative spirit,” Hughes said. “Their arrival also exemplifies the effectiveness of local and state economic development coordination.”
Approximately 2% of utility polls are replaced annually. RS polls are crafted from a filament winding process that uses durable polyurethane.
The Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development Board voted to approve a post-performance incentive in which RS could earn up to $777,670 in post-performance tax credits during the seven-year life of the agreement.
Utah tax credits by the numbers for RS Technologies:
- Tax revenue: $3,888,352
- Wages: $61,634,675
- Jobs: 358
- Capital investment: $35 million
According to St. George Area Economic Development, the average wage at the RS local facility will pay between $40,000 and $45,000.
“This is really big news for Washington County,” Hughes said.
The Utah Legislature has authorized economic development incentives in the form of post-performance tax credits. Eligible companies work with the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development to outline specific performance criteria.
Once the Office of Economic Development confirms those criteria have been met, companies can receive a refund of up to 30% of the state taxes they paid for up to 20 years. The contract with the state is post-performance; it only provides a state tax credit if the company meets its obligations.
Under the direction of Gov. Gary Herbert, the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development provides resources and support for business creation, growth and recruitment, and helps drive increased tourism, film production and outdoor recreation in the state.
Utilizing state resources and private sector contracts, the office administers programs in economic areas that demonstrate the highest potential for development.
RS Technologies could not be reached for comment.
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