An aerospace battery manufacturing company announced Thursday that they will be expanding to Logan, bringing a potential of 128 jobs over seven years.
Electric Power Systems, or EP Systems, manufactures lithium-ion energy storage systems with software controls and packaging elements. President and CEO Nathan Millecam said his company is similar to Tesla, but instead of building battery systems for cars, they work on aircraft, spacecraft and ground combat vehicles.
As Millecam considered other locations to expand the business, he said the Innovations Campus at Utah State University was the biggest draw to Logan. The campus includes a power electronics lab, software capabilities and an aerospace engineering program that will provide a steady pipeline of talent and collaboration.
“It was really a recruiting ground that it seemed like we can find all the engineering sources that we needed all in one university.” he said.
Cost and quality of life were also important factors. EP Systems is headquartered in the greater Los Angeles area, and Millecam said they considered expanding to Silicon Valley, but those areas have a high cost of living. He said expanding to Logan will not only help them find local engineers, but will attract the brightest minds in the industry.
“Our view is there is a type of engineer that likes the quality of life, they can be in the mountains, they can have a more affordable home, they can support a family,” Millecam said.
In addition to the outdoor lifestyle of Cache Valley, Millecam said he also liked the atmosphere and sense of community.
“It seemed there was a level of unity and support that was very interesting that we hadn’t found in other markets that we looked at,” he said.
EP Systems will be moving in next to the Logan-Cache Airport. Logan Economic Development Director Kirk Jensen said the addition of an aerospace company to the area will bring exposure for Logan and could encourage similar companies to relocate or expand here. He said it will make an impression on visitors.
“They will have a very sharp-looking building; I think it will do a lot as far as the overall impression that it might give a visitor to the airport … in terms of a sense of energy and momentum,” Jensen said.
The proximity to the airport will also benefit the company, Millecam said. It helps with logistics and also opens up more opportunities for experimental projects, like shipping in an airframe, retrofitting it and testing it out.
Jensen said the expansion will provide a boost to the local economy and will provide jobs for recent USU graduates as well as people who might want to move back to the valley. He said a lot of local talent is exported out of the area, but a company like EP Systems will encourage graduates to stay in town.
“We’ve got a pretty good tech cluster already here in Logan and Cache Valley, and this is a nice addition to that,” Jensen said.
According to a press release, the expansion to Logan will bring an estimated $11.6 million in capital investment. Millecam said the expansion will create engineering, manufacturing and professional personnel jobs. He said they have plans to open the new location sometime in the first half of 2018.
“We hope that we can contribute quite a bit to the community and really continue it on its path to diversify and add more technology, in particular aerospace,” Millecam said. “It’s a very unique place, and it will be exciting to be a part of that.”