San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

If it meets its obligations, an industrial startup would create more jobs than any single other San Marcos company in at least five years, maybe twice that long. 

by BRAD ROLLINS

Details have been slow to emerge so far about a manufacturer’s apparent intention to set up shop in the former Butler Manufacturing building, but one fact is plain enough already. If the fledgling company meets its obligations under a contract approved by the city council on Tuesday, United Weld Operations LLC will be the largest new employer to land in San Marcos in at least five years.

Under the economic development incentive agreement, United Weld Operations will hire 350 full-time employees by December 2019 and maintain an average of at least that many on its payroll through the end of 2025. That’s more than twice the new jobs associated with any single other business that has moved to, or expanded in, San Marcos since the Greater San Marcos Partnership was established in October 2010.

“It is a lot of jobs — probably the largest project in the past decade,” said Adriana Cruz, the partnership’s president and chief executive officer.

The jobs will have a median wage of $20.50 per hour or a salary of more than $40,000 per year, Cruz said, although the 23-page agreement does not appear to commit the company to those numbers. United Weld Operations’s “affiliates” anticipate capital investment of about $15 million, Cruz told the San Marcos Mercury; the asking price on the 221,500-square-foot building and its 42.6 acres was $11,075,000.

In early January, the Hays County Commissioners Court is expected to consider a supplemental ten-year agreement that would reimburse United Weld Operations for 80 percent of county property taxes collected as a result of the company’s investment, said Pct. 3 Commissioner Will Conley, who chairs the partnership’s board of directors.

“It’s a big deal [and] we have a lot of big deals in front of us right now. It’s an exciting time for Hays and Caldwell counties,” Conley said following the city council’s approval of the deal.

The city’s incentive agreement was signed on behalf of United Weld Operations by H. David de Laureal, managing director of Bernhard Capital Partners, a Baton Rouge, La.-based private equity firm specializing in the energy sector. In 2012 and 2013, de Laureal served on the board of directors of Shale-Inland Holdings LLC, a Houston-based supplier of industrial pipes, valves and fittings, according to an online professional profile.

With a recently appointed subcommittee of council members scrutinizing the partnership’s effectiveness at recruiting and retaining businesses, Greater San Marcos Partnership officials are citing the United Weld Operations deal as the latest in a series of “wins” for the San Marcos area job market.

During fiscal year 2014, the partnership was involved to one degree or another in relocations and expansions that yielded commitments from seven companies to create a total of 344 full-time positions, not counting United Weld Operations. New businesses in San Marcos include Toyota supplier Corvac Composites (61 jobs); training aircraft manufacturer Redbird Redhawk (15 jobs) and a new Central Texas operations facility for storage and moving service provider PODS Enterprises (15 jobs). In addition, industrial instrumentation manufacturer Mensor Corp. added 40 positions.

The partnership claims a role in the creation of 922 jobs in Hays and Caldwell counties since the private-public organization was formed in fall 2010, according to Greater San Marcos Partnership records requested by the San Marcos Mercury. The partnership did not immediately provide average wage information for new jobs as the Mercury had asked.

Here’s a closer look at the partnership’s projects:

Hays, Caldwell county job creation | October 2010 to December 2014

CompanyFiscal yearCityNew jobs
TOTAL922
PODS Enterprises, Inc.2015San Marcos15
Corvac Composites2014San Marcos61
Mensor Corp.2014San Marcos40
Fashion Glass & Mirror2014Lockhart100
Fat Quarter Shop2014Buda103
Redbird Redhawk2014San Marcos15
TomCar2014Dripping Springs10
CSI2013Buda52
CMI2013San Marcos10
Deep Eddy Vodka2013Dripping Springs50
Engineered Filtration2013San Marcos20
L&M Supply2013San Marcos20
Quantam Materials2013San Marcos5
Twisted X2013Dripping Springs8
R-Water2012San Marcos3
Ampersand Art Supply2012Buda75
Rivercity Sportswear2012San Marcos10
Bautex2012San Marcos14
Redbird Skyport2011San Marcos30
Xtreme Power2011Kyle150
Image Microsystems2011Kyle131

COVER PHOTO by MATTHEW RUTLEDGE. MERCURY ILLUSTRATION by BRAD ROLLINS.

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