Concordia Technologies Growing Faster than Anticipated; Employee Levels Five Months Ahead of Schedule

By Toby Nosker
KNCK News Director

Concordia Technologies, LLC has surpassed its goal of employing at least 50-full time employees by year's end, and the local manufacturing company is in the process of increasing its staff even more with an expressed need to hire at least five additional highly qualified welders for one of their product lines.

Concordia Technologies, LLC is co-owned by Roy Applequist and brothers Cass and Jay T. Reynolds. Applequist, the majority stockholder, was the founder and former owner of Great Plains Manufacturing, Inc. Jay T. is the previous plant manager of the ARVOS, Inc. - LJUNGSTROM Division plant in Concordia, while Cass served as the plant's procurement/non-traditional manufacturing sales manager.

In January 2017, Concordia Technologies signed a contract to acquire the land, buildings and equipment of the former ARVOS plant, which closed its doors in December of 2016. A month later, the Concordia City Commission voted to support Concordia Technologies' application for a 10-year, 100% property tax exemption for their buildings at 1830 East 6th Street and 2301 East 6th Street. The tax exemption status is tied to the company's ability to employ at least 50-full time employees each year over a ten year period, beginning February 15, 2018.

At the start of the company on February 13th, Concordia Technologies employed 26 people -- all previous employees of ARVOS -- but had zero orders in-hand. Seven months later, the company has 51 employees and says business is growing at a faster pace than anticipated.

"The demand for the type of service we offer is currently out there in the market place," Cass told KNCK News Tuesday. "And we're not seeing any let back in that demand for the foreseeable future."

Concordia Technologies specializes in prefabrication, customer-designed work for the petrochemical industry, power generation companies, and more. They also build large and medium-sized excavator buckets and components for Caterpillar, Inc., a global company that engages in the manufacture of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines, and diesel-electric locomotives.

"The different nature of this shop versus a lot of others is none of our products are turn key," Cass told KNCK. "You don't start from scratch and end up with a finished piece of equipment or implement. You have a lot of component parts that go in to various other assemblies."

They have been able to ship products this year all across the United States -- from California to Connecticut and from Washington to Pennsylvania. Most of their manufacturing has required a quick turnaround time.

"With our current customer base, everything is emergency or short lead time. It's really made it difficult for Cass and I to figure out what the correct number of employees needs to be," Jay T. told KNCK News Tuesday. "It's causing us to work overtime, weekends, whatever it takes to get the product out the door on time."

At one point, ARVOS in Concordia employed over 200 individuals. When layoffs commenced in the summer of 2016, the company had around 180 people on staff. Concordia Technologies says there's definitely space and room for them to grow as dictated by the demands of their customers.

Currently, Concordia Technologies is running 1 1/2 day shifts with eight employees in the administrative/management offices, and 42 full-time employees on the production side. The company also has one part-time employee on their manufacturing team.

A year from now, they'd like to increase the overall size of their staff to 100 employees.

Unlike before where ARVOS oversaw decisions at corporate headquarters in New York, Concordia Technologies handles all aspects of the facility locally, including procurement, manufacturing, accounting, human resources, etc.

"The people that we have now are very good at multi-tasking," Cass said. "They don't do just one job every day. They do whatever is required, and every day is different."

At this stage, Concordia Technologies has invested more than $1 million in four pieces of capital equipment to help them with their efficiencies and to meet their customer demands. Those purchases are a new CNC Mazak Fiber Laser, a 320-ton CNC press break, a CNC saw and a CNC tube bender.

Persons interested in a job in their welding department are encouraged to call Concordia Technologies, LLC at (785) 262-4066, or stop by their offices at 1830 East 6th Street in Concordia.