United Industries brass released more details about their planned expansion into Canada – specifically into the former site of Woodbridge Foam in Tilbury – during a media conference call Sept. 13.
United is a world leader in precision-engineered stainless steel tubing.
The firm hopes to employ upwards of 100 people at their Tilbury location, which is United’s first foray into Canada.
United has taken over the Woodbridge facility on Queen Street North.
Greg Sturicz, president of United Industries, said the company has no plans on going anywhere any time soon, as it has signed a 30-year lease.
“What we do is not something we can get in and out easily. Once this equipment is in there, it’s going to stay there for a long time,” he said.
Sturicz said salaries and hourly rates for employees have not yet been finalized.
“We’re doing a lot of research on what our full needs will be. We will do a thorough analysis on what the wage ranges are for those positions and we’ll be prepared to offer comparable wages,” he said.
Expansion into Canada has been a goal for United for years, Sturicz said. It facilitates access to other steel supply lines, as well as exporting to other markets.
Sturicz and Jim Hoyt, who headed up the site selection process with United, said the search for a viable facility began in Windsor and expanded from there. Once they reached Tilbury, they knew they had found the perfect spot.
“We were fortunate that we found the facility we did. It’s quite large and we have some room to keep growing on site,” Sturicz said. “We liked everything about it. It’s accessible, not out in the boonies. It’s nicely located with ready access for shipping, including via rail.”
Hoyt said Jamie Rainbird, manager of C-K economic development, was instrumental in providing United site selection personnel with everything they needed.
“We spent a lot of time looking at properties. It was pretty fortunate we did find this place in Tilbury. We didn’t know a lot about the area. We reached out to Jamie and we really got a thorough understanding what the community is about, what the work force is about and it really appealed to us,” he said.
Rainbird said he’s excited about what this will mean to Tilbury and area.
“They (United) made it clear from the very first meeting that they want to be an employer of choice. That’s something I don’t forget,” he said.
Sturicz reiterated the intent to connect with local support industries and trades as much as possible.
“We use local. We’re looking for local tool and dye shops and we’ll continue to do that,” he said.
Hoyt said close-proximity support is vital.
“For our operation to work, we need tool and dye shops, welding shops, sheet metal shops, all kinds of support industries for us to use and really partner with,” he said. “We really can’t afford a lot of downtime. We’re looking for suppliers we can reach out to and get immediate responses from.”