MISSION, RGV – The person who handled the negotiations to bring a Stanley Black & Decker manufacturing plant to the Rio Grande Valley has given his first interview about the project.

Alex Meade, chief executive officer of Mission Economic Development Corporation, said Mission had to battle a number of communities around the United States to land the project.

“It was about a six to nine month process we had to go through. Responding to requests for information, things of that nature. We were happy to find out we were selected as the location. For us as a region, this is a huge feather in our hat,” Meade said.

Stanley Black & Decker announced this week they are to open a multi-million dollar manufacturing facility in Mission, Texas, and will hire 450 workers. The workers will make products such as batteries and motors under the DeWalt brand. The location of the plant is 802 Trinity, Mission, in building owned by Joaquin Spamer’s Ci Logistics.

Alex Meade, CEO of Mission Economic Development Corporation

“It is obviously a huge deal for us to get a company of this caliber. Typically, we do get companies that work for companies like Black & Decker. But for us to get the company, the Black & Decker, is huge. It brings a lot of positive attention to the Valley and shows that companies of this caliber want to come to the Valley. We are very excited,” Meade said.

Asked why Mission was able to beat off all competition to land the manufacturing plant, Meade said: “A lot of it has to do with the workforce, the quality of our workforce, and the proximity to Black & Decker’s Reynosa plant. That Reynosa plant is one of their most advanced locations. Being able to leverage that just made us the prime location.”

Asked what the likely wage rate will be, Meade said: “It will be a typical manufacturing wage rate, about ten bucks an hour.”

Asked how much work will have to be done on the property, Meade said: “They are making a significant investment, $25-$30 million. What they are going to do with that money, I do not know. But I do know it is going to be a significant investment in the region and it will be something we can be proud of. The property is located on the old Ci Logistics plant, at 802 Trinity. The property owner, Joaquin Spamer is going to have to put some money into it to improve it for Black & Decker. There will have to be some modifications. Joaquin will have to take on.”

Meade said he understands the new plant is expected to open in January. “Their goal is not to phase in the 450 workers, they want to have all 450 workers by the end of this year.”

Asked if this was the most important project he has landed for Mission, Meade said: “Because of the caliber of the company, it is important. It is a big project but Mission EDC also takes a lot of pride helping small business. I personally get more satisfaction helping a small business, a small entrepreneur grow. A company of this stature is great to have for the region, we definitely cannot complain about it. It is a great accomplishment for the region.”

Asked who deserves a shout-out, Meade said: “Mayor Salinas, the city council, our board of directors, David Deanda, the chair of the board, they played such a huge role. When we start dealing with companies of this size, everyone wants to talk so the fact that we were able to hold this tight-lipped was great. The Governor’s Office played a role as well. I believe the Governor’s economic development team tweeted about this, this morning. I would also like to thank Hidalgo County for their help, and McAllen Economic Development Corporation.”

Meade added: “This is something not only the Valley should be proud of, but the State.”

Jeff Ansell, president of Stanley Black & Decker’s Global Tools & Storage business, confirmed the Mission plant project in a statement earlier this week.

“The opening of our third manufacturing facility in Texas augments our strategy of making where we sell, reinforcing our long-standing commitment to making in America and making in Texas,” Ansell said.

“We have continuously manufactured in the U.S. since 1843, and we are the first tool company to proudly bring manufacturing back to the USA in recent times. We continue to strengthen and expand our U.S.-based manufacturing capabilities and we believe that this newest expansion in Texas will enable further acceleration of our Made in the USA with global materials portfolio.”

City of Mission Mayor Norberto Salinas said Black & Decker’s arrival in Mission will great for the region as a whole.

“The Mission Economic Development Corporation (Mission EDC) team has been working with Stanley Black & Decker for the past several months and we are excited to see their hard work has paid off,” Salinas said.

“It’s a great day for Mission and a great day for the Rio Grande Valley when a company of this caliber decides to invest in our region. These are exactly the type of jobs that we want to attract to our city, and this investment shows that Mission is an attractive location for major employers to locate and grow.”

Mike Willis, executive director of the South Texas Manufacturers Association, said: 

“This announcement is great news in terms of growing and diversifying our Rio Grande Valley manufacturing sector. We are seeing a significant number of opportunities to recruit new manufacturing companies to our region for a variety of reasons, and I expect there will be more to come in the near future around the Rio Grande Valley.

“Stanley’s arrival here will also remind us all once again why our industry needs to work together with our education and workforce development partners to address the tight labor market we are in – especially for skilled positions like CNC/machining and maintenance techs. We must continue to increase awareness of manufacturing career opportunities here, and provide opportunities for students who do show an interest in working in our industry to get experience to complement their education.”

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above story shows Stanley Black & Decker’s manufacturing plant in Reynosa, Tamaulipas.