(Editor's note: An earlier version of this story erred in listing the largest private employer in Denison.)

Ruiz Foods formally announced the opening of 60 new positions at its facility in Denison on Thursday. The workforce addition was celebrated with a news conference attended by company leaders and employees, as well as business partners, area economic developers and elected officials.

“These are going to be hourly team members and plant production employees who will be helping us both make the product and also package the product and help with the warehouse as well,” Ruiz Foods Chief Executive Officer Rachel Cullen said.

As the city's second largest private employer, Ruiz Foods currently boasts 1,100 workers at its Denison facility and Cullen explained the company's goal is to to get the five dozen new openings staffed as soon as possible.

“We would like to get the positions filled very quickly,” Cullen said. “The challenge is just finding the team members and getting them hired and getting them to work. We have the opportunities and we are ready for them.”

Cullen said the company's decision to expand operations from its headquarters in California 12 years ago and set up shop in Denison made Ruiz a bigger and better company, and one with access to high-quality, productive employees.

“Denison was huge for us originally, to be able to grow,” Cullen said. “We came here in 2005 and then we expanded here in 2013. And since then, the workers that we get from Denison are hard-working; they're great team members who help us grow and they've also been great in giving back to the community as well.”

Denison Mayor Jared Johnson spoke at the event and said the city invested in Ruiz Foods when the company first came to town in 2005 through tax incentives. He described the investment as a sound one with long-lasting and sizable returns.

“As a mayor, and as council members and city leaders, we are always looking at how can you best get a return on every dollar we spend for this community,” Johnson said. “Well, let me assure you, the tax abatements that were given then and the incentives have paid dividends over and over again with the Ruiz family and we are so glad that you all are here.”

Johnson said the city's water resources also attracted the Mexican food manufacturer to Denison and jokingly took a little credit in the success of the company's closely guarded recipes.

“There's a reason they chose Denison, Texas,” Johnson said of the company's leadership. “And, in case you didn't know, they're one of our largest water users. So, the secret sauce in every product made here is the Denison water. Contrary to what some of you you might believe, it's in every burrito.”

U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe also spoke at the event and said the modest roots of Ruiz Foods embodied the idea that American business entrepreneurs who work hard and persist can achieve great success.

“The story of the Ruiz family is a great example of that American Dream, where you have a father and son who can turn a $400 freezer and a stove built from junkyard scraps into the largest frozen Mexican food manufacturer in the United States,” Ratcliffe said. “That's pretty impressive.”

Ruiz Foods was founded by Luis and Fred Ruiz in 1964 and currently offers more than 200 products under the El Monterrey and Tornados brand names.