Spencer Mayor Kevin Robinson is happy to see the former Eaton building in Spencer won’t sit empty.
At Monday evening’s Spencer City Council meeting, Robinson issued a welcome to Syngenta, which last week announced it will be partnering with Pivot Point Spencer to use the facility as a seed distribution center.
“It’s exciting to see that facility be transitioned seamlessly,” he said. “It’s not going to sit empty as many people feared. And it’s in the ag sector, obviously with Syngenta, so we’re excited to see the future for that and welcome to our community.”
Syngenta is an international agriculture company that employs 20,000 people in 90 countries.
In Spencer, Syngenta and Pivot Point Spencer plan to create 24 jobs over a three-year period.
Eaton first opened in Spencer in 1974. At its peak, the plant was Spencer’s largest employer with 800 people working at the plant. When the facility’s closure was announced in November 2016, only 140 employees remained.
Eaton manufactured hydraulic pumps and motors in Spencer.
After the meeting, Robinson said types of industry play a role in jobs numbers.
“Jobs are really dictated by the business that they’re in,” he said. “This was a facility match and when Eaton ran it as a manufacturing facility, the goal of most manufacturing facilities is to make them as efficient as possible, which is where the people come into it. This is a different model. This is more of a warehousing business.”
He emphasized the best part of the announcement is it means the building won’t sit empty.
“I think, number one, it’s healthy that the facility is occupied,” Robinson said. “And number two, it’s healthy that it is a facility that will have jobs in it. We hope the best for the company that goes in there and hopefully we can help create an environment where they’re able to continue to grow their business.”
Photo submitted by Iowa Lakes Corridor.
Disclosure: Spencer Signal founder and editor Tim Weideman is employed by the Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation. Spencer Signal is not affiliated with the Iowa Lakes Corridor. Outside of several minor marketing tasks, Weideman was not involved in the Corridor’s activities related to the Eaton property.