STREATOR — There was no way Streator Mayor Jimmie Lansford was going to let Vactor Manufacturing get away.
Thursday, state Rep. Lance Yednock (D-Ottawa) and officials from the state, Livingston County and Streator celebrated the groundbreaking for a 170,000-square-foot, $25 million expansion at the plant. Vactor currently manufactures large trucks with sewer-cleaning equipment that are a popular purchase for municipalities, plus vacuum-excavation equipment used for excavating through soil without breaking underground utilities.
“We’re committed to adding 90 new positions, roughly by the end of 2020,” said Sam Miceli, Vactor Manufacturing general manager.
The addition will accommodate expansion and a new focus on the vacuum-excavation equipment which is being rebranded and renamed Truvac. Miceli said the company recognizes that its excavation business customers and municipal and sewer-cleaning customers are not the same, and the addition will allow the Truvac product line to have a dedicated service staff.
Lansford said his city continues to work to attract new jobs, but he has made even more of a priority of working with local manufacturers to keep them in Illinois and help them thrive and grow in Streator.
“We’re focusing on the existing employers,” Lansford said.
Lansford said the addition of 90 jobs, coupled with the potential for more if business is excellent, could raise Vactor’s employment level at Streator to almost 700 employees on three shifts, he said, giving an optimistic estimate.
To assist Vactor, a subsidiary of Oak Brook-based Federal Signal, the city provided a Tax Increment Financing district. Livingston County kicked in money to help Vactor enhance pay for jobs into the $44,000-$65,000 range for some skills, an investment of up to $120,000 in total, said Miceli.
In addition, the state provided an EDGE grant through the Economic Development for a Growing Economy Tax Credit Program, an incentive to keep businesses and jobs in Illinois.
Vactor also is involved in the community and in seeking local employees. Miceli said Vactor representatives went to an employment fair this spring at La Salle-Peru Township High School may be working with the Area Career Center based at L-P on skills that could help build a pipeline of skilled workers in the future.