We are experiencing great opportunities for small business as the economy continues to grow. A number of our companies are finding opportunities to thrive in the current economic environment. Lewis County is home to diverse sectors from powdered milk production to semi-truck parts manufacturing. There continues to be unique products and services being made in Lewis County. Our success as a community is linked to Centralia College and their offering of workforce training programs.

 

Workforce Development:

Centralia College Mechatronics Program

Centralia College Mechatronics program has significantly upgraded the learning potential by moving to an improved location on campus as well as receiving a grant from the Economic Development Administration. The College offers a number of training and classes within the Mechatronics program.

The college intends to become an authorized satellite campus for FANUC robotics, allowing education in select courses previously available only at FANUC facilities.

A variety of manual and CNC machining tools are integrated into the curriculum. Specific applications include benchtop manual/CNC mills and lathes, FANUC CNC simulators, 3D additive manufacturing and a wide variety of hand tools. Using newly acquired portable training kits, most of the course curriculum can be instructed off-campus for greater mobility; And for technicians interested in expanding knowledge in electronics, mechanical systems, PLC systems or robotics, Centralia is able to customize multi-day courses which condense topics into 16 or 32-hour courses.

David Peterson from the Mechatronics program would love to hear from you. Please send an email to David.Peterson@centralia.edu and he can coordinate a visit, any time. The college is always looking for ways to improve our service to the community, and working with you is the best way for that to happen.

 

Business Retention & Expansion:

Premier Memorial

Premier Memorial the owners of Centralia Monument on South Tower has plans to reinvest here. Several years ago, they decided to move the stone fabrication business out of this area and up to Tacoma, closing much of what the Centralia facility. Due to higher rents and other operating costs they are looking at repurposing existing buildings at their Centralia location and bringing stone fabrication back here and bringing some 12-15 jobs to the area. The facility will require improvements, fencing, and some electricity requirements. Their future here looks promising as they work through permitting and other requirements to restart their business.

Darigold

The Chehalis Darigold facility provides 50 local jobs. This facility is a milk drying facility that produces specialty products exported all around the world. They are currently in need of one maintenance professionals and we are reviewing certification and training options that could be of aid to them.

Cascade Hardwood

During the course of the month Cascade Hardwood reached out to us for labor force information as they planned out their next year’s wages. They wanted to better understand. EDC prepared information to aid them in their deliberations. Sharon from Cascade Hardwood let us know that of their 135 employees 78 have been there for 10 years and 27 have been there more than 20 years. They have an extremely loyal workforce; they attribute this to their compensation package that they provide. If you company could utilize this type of analysis please contact Benjamin Baria at the EDC.

Prothero Professional Solutions

Prothero Professional Solutions is a subsidiary of Truck Sales Parts Inc. a local manufacturing company. They started up when they began seeing a need for electrical wire harnesses in large trucks. The company that they supply to the most is “Wickum Weld” based out of Vancouver WA. In addition, they make several other items that contribute to their sales. Recently, they have purchased a 3D printer to complement their ability to create custom solutions for the heavy-duty truck market. Aaron Prothero says that “Our solutions raise the bar to what heavy duty truck parts should be.” As the transportation-logistics sector grows it is projected that there will be growing demand for Prothero’s products.