Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the amount of El Paso County taxes and other incentives to nearly $276,000 for the Schneider Electric plant.

Schneider Electric is expanding its massive manufacturing complex in West El Paso with a new $20 million plant that will add 400 more employees to its large El Paso workforce, government and company officials said Tuesday.

The four-factory campus in El Paso will be the French company’s largest manufacturing center in the United States. It currently has 16 other factories in the United States

Company officials announced in November that they were deciding to locate the new plant in El Paso or a nearby industrial park in Santa Teresa, New Mexico.

Schneider chose El Paso because of the good, stable workforce and ease of working with El Paso leaders, but a big part of the decision was to have “campus synergy,” said Ken Engel, senior vice president of global supply chain for the company. North America Group.

El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser shakes hands with Schneider Electric executive Ken Engel during a group photo opportunity after a February 15 news conference announcing the company's expansion plans in El Paso.  Also pictured are El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego, far right, and City Manager Tommy Gonzalez.

“We can offer jobs to employees at all of our factories on campus and we can move people back and forth as needed. So it’s a big advantage to have a campus,” Engel said after a press conference at El Paso City Hall, where Schneider was greeted by El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser. El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego, Borderplex Alliance CEO Jon Barela, and others. .

Global supply chain issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic also make it important for Schneider to increase manufacturing capacity in the United States, Engel said at the press conference.

The company is to receive nearly $1.5 million in tax refunds and other incentives over 10 years from the city, and nearly $276,000 in tax refunds and a county training grant, according to term sheets approved Tuesday by the City Council and Monday by El Paso County. Court of Commissioners. Economic agreements with the company must be concluded later.

“Incentives were one of the factors we considered, but there were many, many variables we looked at before making the final decision,” Engel said.

Schneider Electric executive Ken Engel speaks with El Paso Electric CEO Kelly Tomblin as El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego looks on after a Feb. 15 news conference announcing the plans expansion of Schneider Electric in El Paso.

Approval of the city and county incentive program came after construction began on the new plant.

“It (the 160,000 square foot factory) is under construction” and is expected to be completed by the end of the year, Engel said.

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Schneider Electric now employs about 1,300 workers in mostly skilled factory jobs in three 576,000 square foot factory buildings in the Northwest Corporate Center industrial park in far west El Paso. A company spokesperson incorrectly reported to the El Paso Times in November that the campus had four factories.

It plans to add 400 more employees by the end of the year, Engel said.

Leeser said after the press conference that El Paso workers are what made Schneider stay and expand in El Paso.

“They can get incentives anywhere else, but they can’t attract people,” Leeser said. However, he added, offering incentives also made El Paso better compete for the new plant.

This huge building at 1601 Northwestern Drive is part of Schneider Electric's massive manufacturing complex in the Northwest Corporate Center industrial park in far west El Paso on November 11, 2021.

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A variety of electrical equipment, including switchboards, panelboards, and switchgear, are produced at the El Paso complex. The new plant will produce made-to-order switchboards for commercial installations in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

“It’s not a simple product,” Engel said at the press conference. It is made to customer specifications and “has a lot of hard work inside”.

“So the training of the workforce is extremely important, and it’s important that those employees stay with us after they’ve been trained, and that’s what happened with the other three factories and we know that this will also happen in this fourth plant,” he said.

Vic Kolenc can be reached at 546-6421; [email protected]; @vickolenc on Twitter.


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