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Chambersburg plant to add jobs

August 18, 2004|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. - A countertop manufacturer with a plant in Chambersburg has received a $1.38 million package of state grants and loans that will result in the addition of approximately 110 local jobs over the next three years.

LamTech Inc. of Ephrata, Pa., operates a plant at the Cumberland Valley Business Park, formerly part of Letterkenny Army Depot, President Bryan Martin said.

The company employs about 150 people at the Chambersburg plant, where laminate, cultured marble and solid-surface countertops for kitchens and baths are made, he said.

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In addition to 100 new jobs in Chambersburg, LamTech will add about 40 more to its work force of approximately 140 in Ephrata.

The loan and grant package includes a state-backed $500,000 low-interest loan from the Machinery and Equipment Loan Fund for new equipment and a $100,000 Opportunity Grant that Martin said will go toward a new computer system being developed for the company.

A Customized Job Training grant of $489,871 will be used to pay a portion of trainers' salaries as people are trained for the new positions, Martin said. The package also includes $300,000 in Job Creation Tax Credits.

"As we create jobs, our state tax bill as a corporation is credited for each job," Martin said. Each new job will mean a tax credit of $2,000, he said.

Gov. Ed Rendell announced the funding for LamTech and two other economic development projects Tuesday in Lancaster, Pa.

LamTech is a regional manufacturer that markets its products from New York to North Carolina to retailers such as Lowe's, Home Depot and kitchen and bath suppliers, according to Martin. Sales for this year will exceed $20 million, he said.

"There's a huge opportunity for us in the region," Martin said, adding that most of the sales are outside Pennsylvania.

LamTech is a 20-year-old company that has been operating in the Chambersburg area for 10 years, Martin said.

Operating out of a converted warehouse at the business park, Martin said the company will be able to expand within that building, filling its day shift and adding second and third shifts.

Starting wages


"Part of the grant stipulates that our starting wage has to be 11/2 times minimum wage," Martin said. "We pay significantly more than that."

He would not give specific information about wages.

Many of the jobs are skilled positions and LamTech "pays very competitive wages," he said.

Martin said the company has been impressed by the work force in Franklin County and expects to have a long future here.

John Van Horn, executive director of the Letterkenny Industrial Development Authority, said about 35 businesses with approximately 700 employees operate in the business park. Most are manufacturers, he said.

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