OPINION

SEDCO approves $310k in business incentives

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
The SEDCO board of directors has passed two incentives valued at a total of $310,000 Tuesday afternoon.

The Sherman Economic Development Corp. started the new year Tuesday by approving nearly $310,000 in business incentives.

Following a brief executive session, the SEDCO Board of Directors approved two incentives for a new business looking to expand into Sherman and another existing business that is looking to expand its employee base.

The board approved a $70,000 incentive package for PQD International Inc. related to the purchase of a new facility in Sherman that will allow the company to expand its manufacturing operations in the U.S.

The company, which was founded in 1984, conducts manufacturing, design and engineering for a variety of products, with manufacturing primarily located China and Taiwan. For many years, the company has maintained a sales office in the Metroplex to handle U.S. sales.

SEDCO President Kent Sharp said PQD is looking to expand its manufacturing stateside and has scouted several cities as a potential home for these operations.

During a visit to Sherman, Sharp introduced the company to a facility on Fallon Drive that is currently occupied.

The owner of the building recently sold the business that operated in the facility, but he continues light manufacturing in the facility with a small staff, Sharp said..

Upon negotiations, the owner of the site asked if PQD would be interested in buying his Sherman operations in addition to the building.

 PQD Managing Director Willie Wu said Sherman's labor market and work programs through Austin College and Grayson College helped attract him to Texoma.

Wu said the company has manufactured a variety of products in the past. The Sherman facility will start production by taking over the company's orthopedic bracing production.

"It could be from golf carts, to medical bracing and car seats," Wu said, describing the company's total production.

With time, the Sherman facility could move on to produce other items as well, Wu said.

The SEDCO incentive represents five percent of the business and building purchase, along with new equipment that will go into the facility, Sharp said.

The incentive is a good investment because it represents job creation, Sharp said. Over the next few years, the business could see modest growth with 20 to 25 employees, he said.

The plant is expected to go into operation within the next few months, he added.

In other matters, the SECDO Board approved a second incentive agreement with Elevate Recoveries, a medical collections company that operates out of Sherman.

Tuesday's agreement with Elevate represents the extension of a previous $240,000 agreement based around job creation. The previous agreement would give the company incentives if it reached 60 employees.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed this progress.

"When COVID-19 hit, they notified us last year that the agreement ends in Feb. 2021," Sharp said, noting the company hovers between 40 and 50 employees. "With COVID, we are struggling, but still moving forward."

Sharp said the terms of the agreement remain the same, but the end date will be pushed back by 12 months to allow Elavate more time.