Photo by Greg Bird
Construction is wrapping up on the new manufacturing facility in Stearns. The weaving equipment is expected to arrive within the next week.
President and CEO of Outdoor Venture stated everything was on pace to hold a grand opening of the facility by the end of August, bringing much needed jobs to McCreary County
By Greg Bird
Construction is proceeding at a rapid pace in preparation for the August grand opening of the new Fibrotex USA manufacturing plant in Stearns.
Ray Moncrief, Executive Vice President and CEO of Outdoor Venture, provided a brief tour of the new facility under construction and an update concerning the overall progress of the project.
Moncrief stated everything was on pace to hold a grand opening of the facility by the end of August, bringing much needed jobs to McCreary County.
“We are actually a few days ahead of schedule, he said.
Work is being done on site to renovate the 35,000 square foot building that used to house Armorshield to convert it to accommodate office space and warehousing. Behind that building a new 50,000 square foot manufacturing plant has risen over the past month.
That facility will house the equipment needed to produce the high-tech camouflage netting systems designed by Fibrotex. Within the next week the first of the 30-foot weaving machines will arrive for assembly in the new facility.
An additional 30,000 square feet of land is already cleared and ready for future expansion. Moncrief said the hopes were to be running at full capacity within three to five years, and the expansion to take place then.
It was announced last October that Stearns’ own Outdoor Venture Corporation has partnered with Israel-based Fibrotex USA to produce high-tech advanced camouflage netting systems for the United States Army. The two companies won a competitive bid against two rivals for the $480 million, 10-year contract.
The contract signed between Fibrotex USA and the U.S. Army is slated to run for a decade, but company owners are very optimistic that the relationship between Stearns and the military will grow and expand over time.
In a meeting with OVC and Fibrotex executives last month, CEO J.C. Egnew stated the company is planning on the first phase of operations will contribute upwards of 80 new jobs added to OVC, and about 20-30 for Fibrotex USA.
Egnew said once production begins in earnest, plans are to manufacture about 25,000 units by the end of 2020. Once the initial run is underway, and any potential bugs are worked out – production will ramp up significantly.
As the production line grows, more jobs will be added. It is estimated between 350-400 new jobs will arise from the contract.
Most of the technical production will take place at Fibrotex, with the final assembly taking place at OVC.
Fibrotex CEO Adi Blum said once the initial production is underway, and the contract with the army is being satisfied, plans are to expand operations and move the rest of Fibrotex manufacturing from Israel to Stearns.
Fibrotex currently operates out of Tel Aviv, with products being manufactured for NATO countries in Europe and Asia. The facility, housed in a 130,000 square foot manufacturing plant, produces several lines of products that could eventually be moved to Stearns.