SEL official sets meeting on plans for Lewiston

By Craig Clohessy of the Tribune

Saturday, October 9, 2010

News of Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories’ planned expansion into Lewiston has led to a wealth of interest and questions that the company’s president hopes to address Monday.

Adina Bielenberg, executive assistant to the president of SEL at Pullman, said the company received a number of calls and inquiries following Wednesday’s announcement.

In response, SEL President Edmund O. Schweitzer III has scheduled a public reception from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Red Lion Hotel in Lewiston, Bielenberg said.

Schweitzer will provide a company overview and will follow up with a question and answer session with the public.

“We’re excited about being in the community and want to make ourselves available,” Bielenberg said.

SEL announced Wednesday it will construct a $10 million to $12 million building near Village Centre Cinemas on Port of Lewiston land in an expansion that also includes additions in Pullman and Mexico.

The Lewiston manufacturing site, expected to employ 100, will be approximately 106,000 square feet in size on 25 acres in the Port of Lewiston Business and Technology Park.

In Pullman, the expansion will be on the existing 130-acre campus. Plans call for construction of a 70,000-square-foot, three-story building, with the addition of 150 jobs in the next year.

SEL also is adding 68,500 square feet to 100,000 square feet of manufacturing space in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, providing 100 new jobs to the 400 already employed there.

The company has been one of the fastest-growing employers in this region for more than a decade. As of this past summer, SEL employed 1,386 people in Pullman, compared with 1,329 a year ago. It also had 88 job openings.

SEL makes shoebox-sized digital protective relays that pinpoint the locations of problems in power lines and provide information about why they’re occurring.

It also has developed other products such as communication systems for power utilities that convey information among substations, generating facilities and master control stations.

Clohessy may be contacted at [email protected] or (208) 848-2294.