Manufacturer moving to Evanston

ISA Partners owner and president John Feusner Jr. speaks to the Evanston City Council via videoconference on Tuesday. The rubber dipping company based in Salem, Oregon, is planning to build a factory in Evanston. (HERALD PHOTO/Kayne Pyatt)

Rubber dipping factory plans to employ 25-50 initially

EVANSTON — The major business during the Tuesday, May 5, meeting of the Evanston City Council centered on the sale of five acres of city-owned property on Union Center Rd. to ISA Partners, LLC. City Attorney Dennis Boal first announced a public hearing regarding the proposal, which would consist of information from Community Development Director Rocco O’Neill, information from Dean Barker on any obligations of the city, comments from the owner/president of ISA and then allow time for public comments or concerns.

O’Neill introduced John Feusner, Jr., owner and president of ISA, who joined the council via Zoom video conferencing. O’Neill provided some background information on ISA, the company seeking to expand their company in Evanston.

According to O’Neill, the ISA Corporation was founded in 1936 by Feusner’s father and produced rubber duck decoys known as “deeks.”  In 1960 Mr. Feusner moved the company to Oregon, and in 1972 John Feusner, Jr., took over the business and expanded the company’s product line to include several variations of rubber gloves and shoe covers. Today, ISA is a multi-national company with over 80,000 square feet of manufacturing, engineering, research and development (R&D), and customer service space in Oregon and Mexico.

Their specific product categories include protective shoe covers, industrial gloves, nuclear spec gloves, and now lineman electrical spec gloves. The company has built 14 rubber dipping factories across the globe and is currently the only rubber dipping manufacturer producing these products in the U.S. and North America.

Feusner said, “ISA has over 1,000 businesses that we sell our products directly to and we also sell through distribution. We have a major contract with the Department of Defense. We are a good solid business and run a tight ship.”

O’Neill explained that the planned development will be a campus style layout constructed in three phases. Phase 1 will include manufacturing and customer service totaling over 20,000 sq. ft. Upon completion of Phase 1, ISA will employ 25-50 individuals, including salaried and hourly positions. Phase 2 includes an additional 6,000 sq. ft. of research and development. Phase 3 will add the final 16,000 sq. ft. of distribution warehousing. When Phase 3 is completed ISA estimates hiring over 100 employees in Uinta County.

“We are thrilled that ISA has chosen our community. The leadership at ISA has expressed their love of Wyoming and the people who call it home. We share many of the same values and know that they will create jobs and contribute to our community for years to come. Mr. Feusner is resilient in his pursuit of repatriating a supply chain long owned by the Asian continent. We look forward to assisting them in that pursuit,” O’Neill said.

Feusner said they want to be in Evanston as soon as possible and want to focus on making and testing dialectical gloves. He said there is a high demand for the glove and only one other company, Honeywell, makes them. Feusner added that the climate and altitude in Wyoming is perfect for the production of that glove.

“We plan to have the facility completely built within five years and at that time we would employ 100 people. Besides me, my son, and daughter, we would only bring 2-5 top management people with us and the rest would be hired locally. We like to hire young people with a strong work ethic and train them. There is a lot of opportunity for an employee with our company. They can start at entry level and work up. Sales and service employees make a salary plus commission for an average of $50,000 annual income,” Feusner said.

Barker addressed the obligations for the city in the sale of the property, “There is a need for fill dirt, approximately 3,000 yards, to mitigate depressions in the soil and extend the main sewer line to the property, which you are already aware of.”

O’Neill provided an estimated economic impact based on 35 jobs at $56,000 year. The annual economic impact would be approximately $2,744,000 with an additional salary impact from other service sector jobs created would add another $1,837,500.00. O’Neill added his estimate does not include the impact on real estate, taxes and other factors.

Boal opened the hearing for comments from the public.

One audience member asked the council if city property had to first go to public auction.

Boal responded, “If the sale of city property benefits the economic development of the municipality as required by Wyoming statute 15-1-112, which this will, it does not have to be put up for public auction.”

Feusner was questioned as to whether the company had any problems with toxic waste or environmental issues. Feusner said they use a water base, so they have no air pollution and they use a water treatment system to clean the water. He said their product is natural rubber, non-polluting and non-flammable.

There were no further questions or comments from the public.

The council then moved to vote on Resolution 20-30, authorizing the execution of a development agreement with ISA and the $140,000 sale of real property to ISA pursuant to the fact that the agreement is to the benefit of the municipality. The resolution was unanimously approved.

In other business, Ordinance 20-12 regarding the amendment to the City Code modifying the PH parameters of acceptable wastewater and deleting the limitation of ammonia for discharge into the municipal wastewater system was approved on third and final reading.

Ordinance 20-13, authorizing the final plat for the Riverbirch addition, which had been tabled at the last regular meeting so owner Mike Pexton could deal with notices, was approved on second reading.

Under new business, Gary Welling, representing the airport board, asked for approval of a resolution authorizing the acceptance and execution of a $30,000 CARES Act Airport Grant agreement through the Federal Aviation Administration for the purpose of maintaining the safe and efficient operation of the Evanston-Uinta County Airport Burns Field.

Scott Ehlers, Director of Parks and Recreation, addressed the operating agreement for the operation, management and regulation of recreation within the city of Evanston. The term of the agreement, which was unanimously approved, is for one year, commencing on July 1, 2020 and terminating June 30, 2021.

The City Council also gave thanks and a special tribute to City Clerk Nancy Stevenson, who is retiring at the end of the week. Mayor Kent Williams presented Stevenson with a commemorative picture and a thank you for her 28 years of service to the City of Evanston.

All the department heads and some of the public thanked Stevenson for her service to the community and shared their good wishes.

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