'Building the dream' - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

'Building the dream'

About 400 celebrate Ground Force expansion; New Cat deal to create 100 more jobs

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Posted: Tuesday, July 3, 2012 12:15 am | Updated: 10:50 am, Fri Nov 16, 2012.

POST FALLS - Three months ago, Brad Faber admits he was near rock bottom.

"I wasn't having the greatest life," the Coeur d'Alene man said.

Faber is one of about 100 people who were recently hired due to the expansion of the Post Falls-based Ground Force Worldwide mining equipment manufacturer celebrated by about 400, including Gov. Butch Otter, on Monday.

"The way they treat people, I'm going to stick with this job a long time," said Faber, a maintenance worker. "This is the best job I've ever had. I've set goals in my life and plan to retire here. It's a good feeling of placement here."

Igniting the expansion, which includes a new 85,000-square-foot factory across Seltice Way from Ground Force's original plant and main office, is the booming mining industry and Ground Force capturing the underground mining market.

Ground Force Manufacturing will operate out of the new facility and Underground Force will be in the plant on the south side of Seltice.

"At Ground Force, we believe in creating the team and building the dream," said Ron Nilson, Ground Force president and CEO.

Nilson announced at the event that Ground Force, which builds massive equipment for Caterpillar, recently signed a contract with the company to build Cat's first underground mining motor grader.

"That will bring another 100-plus jobs to North Idaho," Nilson said.

Nilson told Otter during a tour of the facility that Ground Force expects to build about 60 of the graders at $400,000 each.

The $7.5 million facility expansion will more than triple Ground Force's production.

Another $1 million will be invested in the original facility in Post Falls and a $1 million expansion is planned for Peru. The company also operates a plant in Plummer.

The four factories with about 250 employees is a dramatic turnaround from when the company was on the verge of bankruptcy several years ago and going through layoffs.

Nilson credited his employees for being a part of the success story.

"Our workforce is the heart of our company," he said. "We take pride in all we do and it shows. This is the house that you built."

Nilson said he's also proud that the company has been able to make a difference in the community, supporting organizations and providing a warming shelter over the winter.

Otter said Ground Force's expansion is a shining example of what can happen when a community, employees, technology and faith in the future come together during tough times.

"When you get into a mud hole, don't stop," Otter said. "Keep going."

Otter said the expansion also shows how trade missions can pay off. Ground Force does much of its business overseas and Nilson has been on three missions to further tap the international market.

Idaho Department of Commerce Director Jeff Sayer calls Ground Force "an incredible story."

"It's a business that has taken care of its customers, its employees and the community," he said.

Post Falls Mayor Clay Larkin said expansions don't come without risks.

"You've laid it all on the line and we thank you," Larkin told Nilson. "This is the American dream to grow a business and you've done that."

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  • janeandrews posted at 3:13 pm on Thu, Aug 23, 2012.

    janeandrews Posts: 4

    Through all these years people have built our dreams. It was hard, it was rough but they made so many beauties. I read an article on http://streetcorner.com.au/news/showPost.cfm?bid=22015 about Sydney`s attractions and I gotta say I was impressed. Not only there, but all over the world there are beatiful buildings made by our people. I, personally thank those who built all those beauties.

  • max power posted at 11:03 am on Tue, Jul 3, 2012.

    max power Posts: 559

    *** Tree Dwelling Libtards Won't Be Happy ***

    Yes, the Berkeley tree dwelling libtards won't be happy about this news. These big mining vehicles just rape and scar mother earth according to "Friends of Precious Metals" an offshoot of "Friends of the Earth"...

  • Triumph posted at 10:56 am on Tue, Jul 3, 2012.

    Triumph Posts: 533

    It's clear Voxpop that you are not a business owner. What you are blabbering about does not exist. You and your "occupy" buddies should get educated and make something of yoursleves.

  • Tim Herzog posted at 6:13 am on Tue, Jul 3, 2012.

    Tim Herzog Posts: 353

    You need to go into business, experience extreme financial risk, and then you will see exactly what perks Idaho businessmen get from state and local....absolutely Zip.

    You statement speaks of TOTAL IGNORANCE.

  • voxpop posted at 5:03 am on Tue, Jul 3, 2012.

    voxpop Posts: 738

    But how much state and local taxpayer money dumped into Ground Force has been repaid yet? I'm guessing the Big Zip. Business, ESPECIALLY Idaho business, feels entitled to privatize profits but socialize losses.

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