OPINION

SEDCO extends incentive timeframes for 2 businesses

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
SEDCO President Kent Sharp presents Emerson Automation Solutions Plant Manager Buzz Hyde with the first of two incentive check on July 30, 2021. SEDCO voted this week to give Emerson and Eternity Technologies an additional year to finish out incentives with SEDCO due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Sherman Economic Development Corp. is giving two businesses more time to meet requirements for incentives amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The SEDCO board will give Emerson Automated Solutions and battery manufacturer Eternity Technologies an additional year to meet investment and hiring requirements in order to receive the full amount of incentives that the economic developer is offering them.

These changes represent two of the three incentive agreements that were approved during Tuesday's meeting. The board also approved a $50,000 incentive for a food manufacturer who plans to relocate to Sherman.

"These are just two extensions that were set to expire at the end of 2021," SEDCO President Kent Sharp said. "Because of COVID, we are giving them another 12 months to get there."

The pandemic and its linger effects have impacted many industries and employers. Over the past 18 months many companies have faced supply issues, rising costs and more recently a worker shortage that has led to hiring issues.

The Emerson amendment relates to a $275,000 agreement that was approved in late 2018 for a $5 million expansion of the facility. At the time, officials said the expansion could create 75 new jobs in Sherman.

 In the agreement, SEDCO pledged to provide the funding across two payments based on the number of employees it maintained.

The first payment, valued at $150,000 was based on Emerson hiring 30 new employees by the end of August 2019. The second payment would bring this total to 55 workers by August 2020. 

As of Tuesday, 40 of those positions had been created.

An additional $20,000 was offered by SEDCO under its local buy incentive, which encourages recipients of incentives to purchase supplies from within the local economy.

The second amendment is for a $190,000 incentive for Eternity Technologies, which develops and manufactures batteries for forklifts.

The United Arab Emirates-bared company announced plans in August 2019 to expand its operations into North America with a new facility in Sherman.

“As the world’s energy demands grow, we believe these new, innovative battery designs will revolutionize the stored power industry,” then SEDCO Board Chairman Brad Douglass said in 2019. “It’s great to see these pioneering companies like Eternity Technologies investing in electrons in a traditional hydrocarbon state. The future is battery powered with new designs that efficiently and safely store energy.”

The company planned to invest $3.8 million in a facility located on Fallon Drive that was formerly occupied by drilling manufacturer Robit.

In order to get the full first payment of $100,000, Eternity Technologies needed to invest $2 million and create 15 employees before the end of 2020. A second payment of $90,000 would be available if the manufacturer invested an additional $1.8 million and maintained an annual average of 25 employees. Currently, the company has 11 employees.

SEDCO officials said the amendment extends these agreements through 2022, but would only apply to the second payment for each company.