Rail firm to bring jobs to area

Michigan-based manufacturer to relocate to Mineral Ridge

By VIRGINIA SHANK

Tribune Chronicle

MINERAL RIDGE — A Michigan-based manufacturer has announced plans to set up a local facility that is expected to generate 10 new jobs within the next two years.

Jackson International Inc., or Jaxon,which manufactures a variety of quality uncoupling levers and other devices for the railcar and the railroad industry, will move its current operations to a 79,102-plus-square-foot manufacturing facility in Mineral Ridge to better position itself to serve its expanding client base, spanning from Chicago to New York and the eastern seaboard, according to a news release from the company.

State Rep. Sean O’Brien, D-Bazetta, who announced the company’s move on Monday, said it’s been made possible through a $412,500 state loan to the company.

Jackson and its affiliated real estate holding company will use the money to help purchase the manufacturing facility, machinery and equipment.

O’Brien said the jobs are expected to pay each worker $15 an hour, plus benefits. It was unclear whether the company plans to relocate any of its Michigan employees to Trumbull County.

“The Mahoning Valley workers have proven time and again that they are among the most industrious in the nation, and that reputation has helped secure new local jobs for Trumbull County,” O’Brien stated in a news release. “I am pleased that we were able to work proactively to attract a new business to the area that will help grow our local economy.”

The loan is being allocated as part of Ohio’s Regional 166 Loan Program that provides low interest loans for land and building acquisition, construction, expansion or renovation, and equipment purchases for eligible businesses. Projects related to industry, commerce and distribution or research activities are among those eligible.

When contacted by the Tribune Chronicle on Monday, a Jackson spokeswoman replied that “all pertinent information” about the move was included in O’Brien’s news release.

Weatherfield Trustee Gil Blair said the township has been actively seeking an occupant for the vacant industrial structure where Jackson will be located along Union Street near Mineral Ridge High School. Mineral Ridge is located in Weathersfield.

“This is a property we were aware was vacant,” he said. “We’ve written letters to other folks who have looked at the property and been interested in it. We’re happy Jackson has decided to move its operations from Michigan and that it will be calling Weathersfield home.”

Jackson, according to the company’s website, formed in 1993 and was created as an international sourcing option for Triax, a railroad equipment manufacturer, based in Benton Harbor, Mich. The company started sourcing steel and iron castings for use in brake beam manufacture  and has broadened its sourcing to include various parts for rail car door assemblies and several non-railroad products. In 2006, Jackson purchased a 33,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Constantine, Mich.

At one point, the company’s largest customer for rail car door assemblies was Youngstown Steel Door in Youngstown that is now Greenbriar-owned Gunderson Rail Services. Jackson remains a Gunderson supplier, the company said.

vshank@tribtoday.com