By Scott Mobley

Record Searchlight, Sept 2011

Redding will grant incentives to two firms planning expansions in town and a third just opening shop.

The council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve $25,000 in incentives for expansions at TechniSoil North America and Northstate Truck Equipment.

The two companies together will generate at least 20 full-time jobs, according to a council report.

The incentives count as credits against the traffic, water, sewer, storm drain and permit processing fees the city charges for construction.

Redding usually offers such fee credits to attract new firms. The city last gave fee credits to an expanding home-based company in 2006, said Pat Keener, economic development liaison and Redding Electric Utility energy services manager.

TechniSoil and North State Truck Equipment both have developed “green” niche products.

TechniSoil produces a milk-like binder that works at the super-microscopic, or nano, level to transform decomposed rock into a hard surface. It’s a natural, low-cost alternative to asphalt for driveways, patios, trails and bike paths, TechniSoil
founder Sean Weaver told the council.

The firm has also developed a product designed to keep landscaping mulch from blowing or washing away.

TechniSoil packages its products in Redding but has them manufactured in Southern California.

The firm had contemplated a move to Glendale to meet growing nationwide demand before deciding to add a 6,000-square-foot manufacturing plant at its Westside Road headquarters on the south side of town.

TechniSoil employs 10 full-time but could expand to 30 in a couple of years, Weaver said.

“I have nothing but great things to says about the area in terms of support,” Weaver said.

The city will offer TechniSoil $1,500 in credit for each full-time job.

Northstate Truck Equipment started as a repair shop in 1978. Today the firm specializes in diesel particulate filters for big rigs, buses and other large trucks.

It has opened repair shops and sales outlets in Oakland and Portland, Ore.

The firm employs 14 and has hired five more in the past few months, Steve Hoke, who runs the company, told the council. Hourly wages average about $18, well above the Shasta County median.

Northstate Truck Equipment will build an 8,000-square-foot addition to its headquarters on Clear Creek Road. The city will offer the company $1,000 for each full-time job created in the expansion.

Hoke, who grew up in Redding, said he did not know the city offered fee credits when he was first studying an expansion.

“I about had a heart attack when I saw the traffic impact fees,” Hoke told the council.

The council also voted unanimously Tuesday to grant AirCover Integrated Solutions a 15 percent electricity discount as part of a five-year hangar lease agreement at Redding Municipal Airport.

AirCover recently moved from Davis to start a small research and development office for drone aircraft.

John Swope, the firm’s chief technology officer, has said AirCover could ramp up to 10 research employees.

Mark Lascelles, Economic Development Corporation of Shasta County president, said police, fire, search and rescue, and the military could use the matchbox size drones AirCover is developing.

The firm will hire highly skilled aircraft engineers whose salaries will average $90,000, Lascelles said.

The EDC estimates AirCover will spin off about 24 support jobs for a total $6 million boost to the local economy.

The airport has 10 empty hangars — the highest vacancy rate Rod Dinger, airports and interim support services director, said he’s ever seen.

Redding will offer AirCover hangar, office and warehouse space at the airport rent-free for a year, under the deal council approved Tuesday. AirCover will then pay $1,200 per month with 3 percent annual rent hikes.

AirCover may extend the lease five years.

The airport also front $14,400 for three evaporative coolers for AirCover’s operation. The firm will repay that sum over 48 months.