GONZALES, La. — Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards and VEGA Americas Inc. President Ron Hegyesi announced the company will build a 100,000-square-foot, advanced manufacturing center in Ascension Parish. VEGA will make a $22.4 million capital investment at the Ascension Commerce Center in Geismar. The company recently acquired 13.5 acres within the business and industry park, where the manufacturing facility will be built along La. Highway 30, about two miles west of Interstate 10.
With the project, the company will create 120 new direct jobs, with an average annual salary of $52,000, plus benefits. Louisiana Economic Development estimates an additional 41 new indirect jobs will result, for a total of more than 160 new jobs in Ascension Parish and surrounding areas. VEGA selected Louisiana and Ascension Parish, in competition with sites in other states, to serve as its first Gulf Coast manufacturing location. Company, state and local officials announced the project today in a Gonzales ceremony at River Parish Community College. VEGA plans to recruit employees locally through community and technical colleges and area universities.
“VEGA brings a cutting-edge manufacturing presence to our world-class industrial corridor in Ascension Parish and along the Mississippi River and the Louisiana coast,” Gov. Edwards said. “This is yet another example of Louisiana attracting a global leader, based in Germany, to make a major investment in our state and our people. We congratulate VEGA for selecting Ascension Parish, where we know the company will find an excellent fit for recruiting workforce talent and for building its market along the Gulf Coast and beyond.”
VEGA Americas, based in Cincinnati, is part of Germany-based VEGA, a global manufacturer of process instrumentation for chemical and pharmaceutical plants, the food industry, drinking water supply systems, sewage treatment plants, landfills, mining operations, power generators, oil platforms, ships and airplane.
“We’re excited to partner with Louisiana’s local economy,” said Ron Hegyesi, the VEGA Americas president. “The proximity to the chemical corridor was key in our investment decision. This location will be a hub for North America, Central America, and South America. Our vision includes future exports to Southeast Asia, China, the Pacific Rim and the Middle East.”
Industry veteran Don Sanders will serve as president of VEGA Louisiana and lead the operations in Geismar, which will consist of design engineers, welders, machinists, technicians and administrative staff.
“We’d like to thank Governor John Bel Edwards, Secretary Don Pierson of Louisiana Economic Development, the Ascension Economic Development Corporation, the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, and the Louisiana Board of International Commerce for their support in securing this investment,” Sanders said. “We look forward to building our operation with the recognized work ethic of Louisiana.”
LED began formal project discussions with VEGA Americas in early 2018. To secure the project, the State of Louisiana offered the company a competitive incentive package that includes the comprehensive workforce solutions of LED FastStart®, ranked as the No. 1 state workforce training program for the past nine years. In addition, the company is expected to utilize Louisiana’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.
“I am very thankful to all of the people who made this a reality,” said Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa. “Ascension Parish has been working with several business and economic development organizations to make us more competitive on the world stage. VEGA’s decision to locate their newest manufacturing facility in Ascension Parish is a perfect example of working together for the benefit of all. We welcome VEGA and all of the great jobs and opportunities they bring to Ascension Parish.”
LED officials visited VEGA headquarters in Schiltach, Germany, in March 2018 to help secure the project for Louisiana. Two months later, Ascension Parish officials approved the company’s ability to receive Industrial Tax Exemption Program benefits at the parish and local levels. Both the size of the company’s investment and planned employment have grown since then, meaning the project will bring greater economic impact to the parish.
“As we continue to diversify our local economy, attracting VEGA is a huge win for advanced manufacturing in Ascension, one of our target industries,” said President and CEO Kate MacArthur of the Ascension Economic Development Corp. “We also recognize the importance of this investment, as it signifies Ascension Parish as an ideal location for foreign direct investment in Louisiana.”
VEGA Americas will begin construction soon, with plans to complete the facility in the first quarter of 2020. Local architect and general contractor selections already have been made. The company plans to hire 40 people during the first year of operation.
“The Capital Region remains one of the most competitive locations in the world for the process industries sector, and VEGA’s decision to open their second U.S. location here speaks to that strength,” said President and CEO Adam Knapp of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber. “Our team has been pleased to work with them through the site selection process, and is thrilled to help bring 120 new well-paying jobs to the area.”
About VEGA Americas
VEGA Americas Inc. is an industry leader in measurement instrumentation of level, density, weight and pressure. The company engineers and manufactures several lines of sophisticated devices based on radar, guided wave radar, ultrasonic, radiometric and other technologies. Based in Cincinnati, VEGA Americas is part of an international company with worldwide headquarters in Schiltach, Germany. The company employs 1,400 people around the world, combining manufacturing, distribution and exemplary service for quality products that serve the process industries. For more information, visit VEGA.com.