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Caterpillar plans to create 500 jobs in Victoria

By DAVID TEWES
Aug. 12, 2010 at 3:12 a.m.
Updated Aug. 13, 2010 at 3:13 a.m.


Caterpillar is based in Peoria, Ill., and had 2009 sales and revenues of $32.4 billion.

Caterpillar expects to begin construction next month on a manufacturing plant in Victoria that will create 500 jobs when it's fully operational.

The 600,000-square-foot plant is scheduled to begin production in mid-2012, with the company making a $120 million to $150 million investment. About 300 construction jobs could also be created.

It will be located in the 320-acre Lone Tree Business Park, which belongs to the Victoria Sales Tax Development Corp.

"I'm grinning from ear to ear," said Council Member Gabriel Soliz, whose district includes the business park. "They're talking about two phases, so the sky is the limit."

The announcement drew a standing ovation from a crowd of about 50 people gathered for the joint meeting of the city council, sales tax board and commissioners court.

The plant will produce two lines of hydraulic excavators, referred to by some as track hoes. It will triple the company's capacity to produce hydraulic excavators in the United States and double the number of Caterpillar employees making the product in the nation.

Mayor Will Armstrong said the company could have located the plant anywhere, but chose Victoria because of the professionalism shown by the staff of the city and the Victoria Economic Development Corp.

He also gave credit to the late Council Member Wayne Watkins, who led the charge to purchase the land for the business park.

"Thank you, Wayne Watkins, for your vision," Armstrong said. "And Wayne, if you were here today, I'm pretty sure that you would say the best is yet to come."

Jim Dugan, Caterpillar's chief corporate spokesman, said there were other reasons the company chose Victoria. He said those include the possibility of working with The Victoria College to develop an employee training program and the various modes of transportation, including highway, rail, air and port services.

He also cited Victoria's proximity to its supply base and a positive business climate in Texas

Dugan declined to name other communities with which Victoria was competing.

Dale Fowler, with the Victoria Economic Development Corp., said he knows Victoria was in competition with communities all along U.S. Highway 59 and Interstate 10, as well as some in other states.

But Victoria emerged as the chosen city.

"Victoria is proud to play a role in Caterpillar's plans to expand its hydraulic excavator manufacturing in the United States, while at the same time Caterpillar will be an important part of the work to reinvent Victoria," Mayor Will Armstrong said.

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