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Fulton County company earns tax credits

June 29, 1998|By RICHARD F. BELISLE, Waynesboro

McCONNELLSBURG. Pa. - Just 21/2 years ago, Fulton Precision Industries Inc. consisted of partners Walter Barmont and Gregory G. Fuller, and their wives.

"We did everything ourselves," said Barmont, 30.

Three months later, the partners hired their first two employees.

Last week, state Sen. Robert C. Jubelirer, R-Fulton, said Fulton Industries was awarded $35,000 in state tax credits. The company will receive up to a $1,000 tax break for every new permanent employee it hires at salaries at least 150 percent of minimum wage over the next three years.

Barmont said skilled workers earn more than $10 an hour plus a benefit package that includes health insurance for employees and their families. He said the company has to offer that level of salary and benefits to attract and keep a skilled work force.

In December 1996, at the end of its first year, Fulton Industries had 10 employees. A year later it had 20, Barmont said. The company's most recent hires brought its work force to 25, Barmont said. In three years he said he expects to double that because of expanding business.

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About half the company's work force comes from Fulton and Franklin counties, he said. The company leases 13,000 feet of space in the South Central Business Park.

About 90 percent of Fulton Industries' business comes from Caterpillar, the earth-moving equipment manufacturer, Barmont said. Fulton Industries makes drive shafts for Caterpillar, he said.

About 10 percent of its business involves making parts for JLG, the aerial work platform maker that is Fulton County's biggest employer. Barmont said his company also has a contract to make parts for a Delaware company that supplies parts to JLG.

Barmont and Fuller, 35, worked for Uniroc USA, a Swedish-owned company based in McConnellsburg that machined parts for Caterpillar. When the company decided to get out of subcontracting, Barmont said he and Fuller saw an opportunity to open their own plant.

"I was manager of the engineering department. I worked with the Caterpillar contract, so I already had contacts," he said.

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