MOSES LAKE - Aerial lift manufacturer Genie Industries, in Moses Lake and Redmond, boosted production by 60 percent in 2011.
The growth was driven primarily by North American equipment rental companies replacing their equipment, said Matt Fearon, vice president and general manager of Terex Aerial Work Platforms, Americas Region, on Thursday. Genie is a Terex company.
The rental companies provide equipment to construction companies.
During the economic downturn of 2008-2010, rental companies weren't buying that much rental equipment, he said.
"As the economy showed signs of life, they started replacing equipment," Fearon commented.
The key measure they have is the age of their fleet.
There is slightly more commercial construction activity, energy-related work and a lot more work occurring at automotive factories, he said.
"We're seeing signs of improvements in the base economy as well and the replenishment," he said. "But the replenishment was driving it."
Last year, Genie added a couple of hundred employees at the Moses Lake plant and a couple of hundred employees at the Redmond plant.
The added positions were full-time and comprised of mostly production workers, such as welders, painters and material specialists.
Genie sells its products globally, with about 40 percent of its sales done internationally and the other 60 percent domestically.
As Genie ramps up production, company suppliers are seeing Moses Lake as a large chunk of their manufacturing footprint, Fearon said.
But Genie isn't aware of suppliers opening any major production facilities for them, he commented.
Genie is now in the middle of adding a large amount of investment into Moses Lake.
The company is developing new products and retooling one of the initial bays they set up 14 years ago in Moses Lake.
"We're basically staying in the footprint we have, but investing in infrastructure," Fearon said.
Genie signed a 15-year lease with the Port of Moses Lake last year, with a five-year renewal option.