Denison industrial employer ACS Manufacturing is looking to increase its workforce to keep up with growing demand. This expansion in its workforce will increase the company’s employment from about 350 to about 420, officials said Wednesday.
“As we sit here and talk today, I could probably hire about 60 to 80 new people,” ACS Human Resources Director Andrea Mory said Wednesday.
Mory said the positions include an additional human resources worker, additional quality assurance workers and production workers, among other positions. This comes nearly six months after ACS added two additional production lines to its 300,000-square-foot facility in the 1600 block of Commerce Drive in Denison.
ACS assembles and produces switch gear buildings, fuel tank generators and steel acoustic enclosures for industrial and commercial-use power generators. Many of these structures require crane equipment to lift and move due to their size. Mory said many of these generators and assemblies are used in companies and industries that must maintain power.
“Our end users … are hospitals; these are schools; these are data centers,” Mory said.
ACS moved into its current facility in 2008 when it relocated from its 65,000-square-foot plant on Texoma Parkway. With the move, the business increased its workforce from 50 to 250. ACS had been a part of the Sherman industrial community since 1998 when it had annual revenue between $3 million and $12 million. By comparison, the company saw revenue of nearly $40 million in 2016.
When asked what was spurring the growth in workforce, Mory said the business has been seeing increasing sales. Compared to other industries, Mory said ACS is more resistant to market variations and dips in the economy, making it a key location for growth in the community.
“Business is just huge for us right now,” she said.
Despite the good news of the increased workforce, Mory said recruiting has still been difficult for these positions. Despite hiring about 20 employees in recent weeks, Mory said it has been difficult to find candidates with the proper skill set. The Texas Workforce Commission recently estimated unemployment to be 3.6 percent in the Sherman-Denison area for the month of December.
Mory said that for every 30 applications she receives only one will have the proper skills, training and experience for positions at ACS. In addition to the lack of qualified candidates, Mory said ACS is also competing with other employers who are looking for similar skills. This has lead the company to increase its wages within the past year to remain competitive, she said.
Despite this difficulty, Mory said ACS has hired some of the employees who lost their jobs from Caterpillar amid layoffs in 2016. Other recruitment has come out of Grayson College and its industrial training programs. Unlike many other national industrial employers, Mory said ACS has not had issues with its workforce approaching retirement as many applicants are young.
With the additional workforce, Mory said the company plans to fill out its night shift, which starts at 5:30 and operates throughout the night. Typically, the night shift has finished projects left over from the first shift, however the additional staff would allow this shift to start its own projects, she said.
Mory said officials with the company are considering the construction of a new building on the 36-acre lot the plant currently sits on. This would allow workers to move goods and supplies that are currently held in the parking lot to a more secure location. Mory said details on the new facility are still in development and the project has yet to be finalized.