Magic pipe grant

A pipeline manufacturer received the endorsement of the MAGIC Fund Screening Committee Friday for $800,000 in assistance.

The committee recommendation for a $400,000 grant and $400,000 forgivable loan to United Poly Systems from the MAGIC Fund goes to the Minot City Council Aug. 5.

Company representatives from Springfield, Mo., attended Friday’s meeting to describe their operation and plans for expansion into Minot.

“One of the things that really drew us to Minot is the rail service. You have a wonderful rail system here where we can access to go north-south and east-west,” said Tiffani Claussen, chief financial officer. “We want to become nationally viable so that we can service areas around the country, and the Minot expansion would be our first step in reaching out to new areas.”

United Poly Systems was established in 2011 in Springfield to produce high-density polyethylene pipe. The pipe is widely used in various industries, including telecommunications, power and utility, electrical and oil and gas.

Company officials said the closest competitor is in South Dakota, but most companies that make the pipe don’t serve as diverse a customer base. They expect to serve a variety of industries in the North Dakota region and already are developing oil and gas distribution customers.

“What drew us here to Minot is, obviously, the energy sector,” sales director Bert Bridges said. “We just see there’s a great opportunity to gain more business.”

The production facility planned in the agricultural park in east Minot initially will be 50,000 square feet, expandable to 70,000 square feet. The initial facility investment is estimated at $2.5 million.

Jerry Chavez, executive director for the Minot Area Development Corp., which brought the MAGIC Fund request to the committee, reported that a site visit to Springfield impressed MADC representatives.

“It’s the type of business that, when we came back from Springfield, we wanted to put forth a good faith effort and bring them to Minot,” he said.

The manufacturing process at United Poly Systems is environmentally friendly with no emissions, Claussen said. Water and scrap are recycled in the manufacturing process, which operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

United Poly Systems’ employment projections, on which the forgivable loan would be based, calls for 20 full-time employees or equivalents by March 31, 2014, and 35 full-time equivalents a year later. The company would be expected to have 50 full-time equivalents within three years.

Claussen spoke about the positive employee atmosphere and benefits plan that the company strives to provide.

“We want people to come in and build a career and not just look at it as a job,” she said.

The projected start-up for production is January if construction occurs as scheduled.

The MAGIC Fund has $8 million in its coffers, of which $4.3 million is committed to various projects but not yet spent. Cindy Hemphill, city finance director, told the committee that sales tax collections are down about 19 percent from last year at this time, but the MAGIC Fund has taken in an additional $334,000 from its share of the collections.