A Maine-based maker of skylights said last week it’s opening a new plant in Reno as a cornerstone of its expansion into markets west of the Rocky Mountains.
Wasco Skylight Products of Wells, Maine, said it opened the new plant in a 57,000-square-foot building at 6645 Echo Ave. in Stead.
Initial employment will be about 20.
“We predict significant sales in the first year based on our customers’ positive response,” said Jeff Frank, chief executive officer of Wasco.
The company makes standard and custom skylights for commercial and residential applications.
Since the start of the recession in 2007, it’s posted more than 60 percent growth. Its sales growth in 2012 was about 20 percent, Frank said.
Wasco will continue to make vinyl extrusions for its skylight frames in Maine, shipping them to Reno for final assembly and distribution to customers.
Sara Havard, Wasco’s chief operating officer, said the Reno location will allow it to deliver commercial skylights to customers within a week after they place an order. Residential orders can be delivered in 72 hours.
Custom-designed units, which account for a significant piece of Wasco’s business, will ship from Reno in less than two weeks after an order is placed, Havard said.
The Wasco executive said the region that can be served by the Reno location — it’s within a one-day drive of every major city in the West — allows the company to tap into a region that represents about 26 percent of all construction spending.
Two key executives — plant manager Michael Jones and customer service representative Jeff Binette — moved to Reno from Wasco’s headquarters at Maine. Other workers will be hired locally.
One of the company’s customers expects that the Reno facility will find strong demand from developers of sustainable construction who are looking for ways to use natural light to reduce power consumption.
James Satterwhite, global commercial manager for Cabot Corporation’s construction market, said Wasco products have developed a strong position in the markets where they are available, and the northern Nevada operation is likely to build on that success.
Launched in 1935 in Cambridge, Mass., Wasco has manufactured daylighting products since 1949.
Paul Kinne, vice president of marketing and competitive expansion with the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada, assisted Wasco with its Reno project.
The CBRE industrial team in Reno — Eric Bennett, Dan Buhrmann and Gordon Zack — represented Wasco in the lease negotiations. Tom Miller of Miller Industrial properties represented the landlord.
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