Herald JournalHerald Journal, Sept. 8, 2003

Manufacturing business interested in Winsted

By Julie Yurek

A Watertown manufacturing company, Altra Technologies, is interested in building in the Winsted Industrial Park.

Dick Gunderson and Gary Beeman of Altra Technologies gave a presentation about the company at Tuesday's Winsted City Council meeting.

Altra currently has a building in Watertown. Beeman was undecided if the company would keep that location in conjunction with a Winsted location, he said.

The Watertown building could be used for office space, while the Winsted location would house the manufacturing, or the Watertown location could be given up entirely and the Winsted location would include offices and the manufacturing plant, he said.

A building in Winsted would be about 30,000 square feet, with an option to expand.

"Companies tend to outgrow their buildings if business is going well," Beeman said.

The city and Altra will begin working together this fall to come to an agreement, said City Administrator Brent Mareck.

The peak amount of employees Altra can fit at the Watertown plant is about 40, Beeman said.

"Have you looked at moving into an existing building in the city?" asked Council Member Bonnie Quast.

"We don't need a new building, but there doesn't seem to be any older buildings that would fit our needs," Beeman said.

Altra makes sensor devices that detect objects to within 20 feet on vehicles, mostly commercial trucks. One type of sensor provides truck drivers with visual and audible warnings of most hazardous conditions. It provides range information for drivers' use while backing up, and can be upgraded to include alarms for fires and open doors.

It may also be upgraded to expand coverage to include blind spots on the sides of trucks.

"I like the idea of this company because it doesn't compete with current businesses in the city," said Mayor Don Guggemos. "It's a technology based company."

"We'd be adding jobs, not stealing," Beeman said. "We will work with you to find a home here," he said.

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