ASHLAND, Ohio – SJE broke ground last Tuesday on a new 51,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Ashland, Ohio. The ceremony went on despite rain, mud and winds that blew their tent across a field shortly before it began.

“I like to think that anyone can do a groundbreaking on a sunny day, but our day shows our resilience and determination to not let anything stop us from kicking off such a major event for our company,” Chief Financial Officer Taunia Suckert said.

One major motivating factor behind the new facility is to add room for growth. SJE has been leasing a space for their manufacturing in Ashland since acquiring CSI Controls in 2008. However, the current space has become insufficient, with manufacturing production areas spread over 4 separate floors in one building. The new space will increase efficiency by having all areas on one level.

“It will enable us to be more efficient in our processes than our currently facility, provides an opportunity for expansion, and gives our employee owners a great place to work,” Suckert said.

On March 23, they purchased about 8 acres of land in the Ashland Business Park, where the new facility will be built. Yet this is the culmination of several years of planning. During the ceremony, CEO Dave Thomas spoke about the work leading up to this point.

“These types of things mark what looks like the beginning of a project, but the reality is, there's been an unbelievable amount of work that has gone into getting us to this point, not only by folks internally, but…dozens of people in the community of Ashland,” Thomas said.

Construction will begin as soon as weather permits, as SJE hopes to have the new facility ready by December. Though the spring weather was uncooperative during the groundbreaking, some current and former local officials still made their way there, as well as local media.

“We were very pleased with the number of folks that did brave the elements to celebrate with us, including two past mayors, a city councilman, a county commissioner, leaders from several of the agencies we have worked with, and many of our staff,” Suckert said.