LaGRANGE — Nesper International, a German manufacturing company, broke ground Friday at its LaGrange facility on a 10,000 square foot expansion expected to add 12 jobs.
The local facility primarily manufactures stamped metal products used for parts like relays and switches, many for the automotive industry. It located its current 13,000 square foot facility on Wiley Road in the LaGrange Industrial Park in 1996.
“We have two celebrations this year. We have the groundbreaking we’re celebrating this morning, and we have 20 years of Nesper in LaGrange,” said Ralf Strack, operations manager of Nesper International, noting many of the employees gathered for the ceremony have been with the company since it opened the LaGrange facility. “… Today is an exciting day for Nesper International as we believe investing in a building is investing in our community and in the company’s future. it is extremely important as we look to the future of (the) business to move forward and add jobs to Troup County. I want to thank you, the Nesper team, and to Page (Estes, local chamber of commerce president) and her team, and to (builder) Principle Construction for making this happen here.”
The $1.5 million expansion will facilitate manufacturing of plastic and hybrid parts made of plastic and metal, said Hans Boesing, managing director of Nesper International. He was excited for the expansion, but said it didn’t come easily.
“The extension is a huge challenge for us, because in our market, in our industry, you cannot (just) build something for a project, you have to show that you have capacity, and you have to show the market what you can do in order to get business,” Boesing said, adding the company has to put up the money for the expansion first in order to bring in more revenue. ” … It’s a huge challenge, but we are confident that we will meet up to the challenge. We are not afraid about it, and as I said, we are excited.”
LaGrange-based Principle Construction will build the expansion and is working with Atlanta-based Starzer Fagan Brady for structural design, Smith Design Group for architecture design and Stothard Engineering for civil design, both of LaGrange.
“We like to work at home, if we can, work locally … with all the materials and subcontractors and suppliers that we can,” said Leon Moody, president of Principle Construction. “As we usually try to do, over 75 percent of the $1.5 million being spent here is local. We’ve worked hard to do that.”
Patrick Crews, Troup County commission chairman, said the expansion benefits the community through additions of jobs, potentially bringing new families to the area, economic stability and increased property tax revenue.
“It’s very important for Nesper International and their company and employees, but it’s also very important for our community,” he said. “So it’s always a great time when we can come and help celebrate a common success in our county.”
LaGrange Mayor Jim Thornton said the city spends a lot of time trying to recruit business and industry to Troup County, but having an established, prospering business expand operations is “one of the most successful and exciting economic development stories.”
“We are very excited for this occasion for the expansion of Nesper,” he said. “… On behalf of the city of LaGrange, City Council and all our citizens, we congratulate you on this expansion. We’re delighted, Hans, Ralf and all of your team, that you are doing as well as you are in our community and hope that will continue.”
Scott Malone, president of the Development Authority of LaGrange, echoed Thornton’s sentiment.
“Nesper is a perfect example of what we want to have and the pinnacle of what we’re doing” to expand local economic development, Malone said. “When you have a company that’s been here 20 years and committed to our community, and then 20 years later is expanding their operations, there is no better success story for that (goal).”
Matthew Strother is the editor of LaGrange Daily News. He may be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2153.