Spokane Journal of Business

Calvert to build new plant

Control-panel manufacturer that bought Telect division anticipates strong growth

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Calvert Technologies Inc., a West Plains control panel manufacturer that expanded into electronic jail systems late last year after buying a division of Telect Inc., of Liberty Lake, says it plans to develop a new manufacturing plant in Airway Heights and expand its work force.

Calvert Technologies founder and CEO, George Calvert, says that he and his wife, Judy, have bought a 4.4-acre site for the plant at the southwest corner of 21st Avenue and Lyons Road. He says they hope to break ground on the construction project within two months and to complete the plant by June or July.

The plant, which likely will be a tilt-up concrete structure, is expected to have at least 20,000 square feet of floor space, Calvert says. He says hes working with ALSC Architects PS, of Spokane, on the design of the plant. Final estimates on the overall cost of the project havent been completed yet, but its expected to cost less than $1 million, he says.

The companys current manufacturing operation is located in a 14,000-square-foot building that the Calverts own near the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Christensen Road, just north of Fairchild Air Force Base.

Calvert Technologies employs 38 people, all full time, following the hiring of 14 former Telect employees, and Calvert says he hopes to add 20 more employees this year after the company moves to its new location. His oldest son, Shannon, is president of the company. The company did $2 million worth of business last year, and Calvert says he expects that figure to double this year.

Founded in 1973 at its current location, Calvert Technologies is not just a manufacturer, but also an electrical and specialty contractor that designs, builds, and installs control panels for the water and waste industries. The panels, which range in size from two feet square to 20 feet long and eight feet high, are connected mostly to computers and are used to control anything that can be automated, such as the pumps used in municipal water systems and wastewater treatment plants, Calvert says.

One project the company currently is involved in thats typical of what it does is a $600,000 partial demolition and control-systems upgrade of the wastewater treatment plant in Leavenworth, Wash., he says.

The company expanded into a related field, but entirely different industry, last November when it bought from Telect the assets, inventory, and proprietary products and technologies of Telect Control Products, a division that primarily provided security electronics to the corrections industry. As part of that transaction, it also took over a number of corrections projects that Telect had been working on, Calvert says.

Another key part of the transaction was the hiring of the former Telect employees, he says, adding, These guys have a passion for this business. Thats whats really exciting. We were really fortunate to get these people.

Along with purely corrections-related jobs, the spinoff of the former Telect division has given Calvert Technologies the expertise to diversify more into general data communications, including the installation of video, card-access, fire, and fiber-optic systems, Calvert says. He says the company plans to seek out more of that type of work aggressively.

Dick Edwards, of Hawkins Edwards Inc., and Dan Cromwell, of Commercial Broker.Com, handled the Calverts purchase of the land in Airway Heights.

Kim Crompton
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