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Murtha: Four companies coming to Armstrong County

| Saturday, Aug. 9, 2003

MANOR: When the Electro-Optics Center was in Armstrong County, U.S. Rep. John Murtha, D-12th said the county would become the hub of the industry. The area moved a step closer to that with the announcement Friday of four new companies opening offices locally.

At a breakfast session of the annual ARMTech Showcase on Friday at Lenape Heights Golf Course, Murtha announced that four companies, including a major defense contractor, would be opening offices in Armstrong County, creating between 175 and 275 jobs over the next few years.

"The expertise offered by the EOC in improving electro-optic systems and reducing the costs is doing exactly what I'd predicted: it's attracting businesses that want to locate nearby, which is bringing jobs to our area," Murtha said. "That's the way we wanted it from the start."

Among the companies planning to open up shop locally is Texas-based DRS Technologies, which announced Friday it has received a $10 million Navy contract.

Locally, DRS Technologies will manufacture kits to upgrade U.S. Army infrared equipment.

The company has been attending the ARMTech showcase for several years and had been working on finding a site in Armstrong County, according to Kirby Taylor of DRS.

The company will likely be located somewhere in the Northpointe at Slate Lick business park, according to county Commissioner James Scahill.

"We're proud to be here," Taylor said. "We're looking forward to a long and healthy business."

The other companies locating in Armstrong County include: RAPT Industries, a California-based company which manufactures precision polishing systems; Sabeus Sensor Systems, another California-based company which develops fiber-optic sensors; and ANALUX, a company which builds hyperspectral cameras which can see through heavy fog, smoke and dense foliage.

ANALUX opened its office Thursday at the former PPG site in Ford City and expects to employ between 50 and 100 people in five years, according to Murtha.

Sabeus will occupy the former Burr's Ford dealership on Old Route 28 in South Buffalo, Murtha said, and expects to have 50 jobs by the end of next year.

Representatives from RAPT spent Friday afternoon meeting with real estate agents to find a location.

Peter Fisk, RAPT representative, said the company has big plans for its location here.

"It's a small startup (company), but we'd prefer not to stay that way," he said.

County Commissioner Jack Dunmire said the showcase this year has been a success.

"I've never seen so many people from out of state visiting Armstrong County, and all in the interest of creating jobs," he said.

Scahill said Murtha deserves credit for helping get the industry rooted here.

Without Murtha, Scahill said, "No Northpointe, no EOC, no jobs."

Electro-Optics Center moving


The Electro-Optics Center has seen its share of locations during the past several years. Now it's moving to where it was meant to be all along -- the Northpointe at Slate Lick industrial park.

The Electro-Optics Center is managed by Penn State Applied Research Laboratory and is used as a resource by defense contractors in the electro-optics industry.

U.S. Rep. John Murtha, D-Johnstown, announced plans for a 45,000-square-foot building at Northpointe at a breakfast session of the ARMTech Showcase on Friday at Lenape Heights Golf Course.

The Electro-Optics Center originally was located at Parks Bend Industrial Park in Parks Township, then leased space at the Allegheny Power building near Franklin Village Mall in East Franklin before moving to its current building in West Hills Industrial Park.

County Commissioner James Scahill said the Electro-Optics Center was always meant to be located at Northpointe and called the new building "a dream that has become reality."

"This building is a major step forward into the next phase in growth of the EOC," Murtha said. "The EOC is established as a national resource for the fast-growing electro-optics industry, and this facility housing their technology quarters secures their future in our area."

The building at Northpointe will contain 18 laboratories, office space and conference facilities.

Murtha said the Electro-Optics Center expects to expand its workforce to 80 employees by the time the new building is completed a year from now.

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