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Eldon breaks ground for Quaker Windows

Eldon breaks ground for Quaker Windows

November 2nd, 2018 by Danisha Hogue in Local News

Michael Moehn, left, president of Ameren Missouri, joined elected officials and members of the Quaker Window Products family as the company hosted a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday in a field just west of Eldon. Others on hand for the ceremonial event are, from left, Moehn; Eldon Mayor Larry Henderson; Gov. Mike Parson; Quaker President and CEO Kevin Blansett; Judi Stone and Lotti Kaesik, both from board of directors; Rob Dixon, director of the Department of Economic Development; Mary Knoll and Pam Knoll. The Freeburg manufacturer will construct a 200,000-square-foot, $65 million facility on 127 acres on Hickey Road that will employ more than 300 people.

Photo by Julie Smith /News Tribune.

Quaker Window Products' expansion to Eldon is on the fast track to bringing more than 300 jobs to the area.

The facility held a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday at the Missouri 52 and Hickey Road site where 127 acres will house the 200,000-square-foot second location.

"We really look forward to the growth not only today but over the next 10 years," Quaker CEO Kevin Blansett said.

A number of partners including Missouri Department of Economic Development, Ameren Missouri and Eldon School District officials were present at the groundbreaking and lunch that followed. Board members and generations of employees also attended.

The $65 million facility is expected to open next fall. Eldon was chosen for the new location to pool employees from Morgan and Miller counties.

Rep. Mike Bernskoetter, R-Jefferson City, said Quaker has been a great employer in Cole and Osage counties, and he said the new facility will provide quality pay; the starting salary is $35,000.

"Now, the people of Miller, Morgan and Moniteau County will get to find out how great of an employer they are in this area," Bernskoetter said.

During lunch, Gov. Mike Parson said it's an honor to see the project become a reality. As part of his promotion of Missouri-made products, he mentioned included having Quaker doors and windows in his home.

"With my vision of Missouri, (it) really hinges on workforce development, and infrastructure today couldn't be a more perfect example," Parson said, "when you talk about the business side of it, the state side of it, the education side of it and people working together to really make an outcome."

The involvement of the Eldon School District and Superintendent Matt Davis will provide opportunities for students through Quaker's plans to work with the Eldon Career Center and train interested young people in the trade.

Davis said the partnership will include internships for students that could possibly lead to employment.

"We will work on the construction trade classes, building trades programs, agriculture programs and our pre-engineering classes to help provide our students with the skill set they need to be successful, so when they go to work at Quaker, they can hit the ground running," Davis said.

The company was applauded for keeping its ties in Mid-Missouri. Ameren Assistant Vice President Matthew Forck said Quaker is the first business to use the economic development incentive that provides manufactures a discount on electric rates.

"It's one of the best economic development incentives in the state for businesses like Quaker. It became law this May when SB 564 passed," Forck said. "This is the first business that is using it, and we hope that there will be a lot more to come."

DED Director of Communications Maggie Kost said the company received "chapter 100 abatement" from the city as well as some infrastructure improvements for the project. This would make Quaker exempt from sales and property taxes.