Trans-Tech to expand Frederick operations

September 02, 1994|By Ted Shelsby | Ted Shelsby,Sun Staff Writer

Trans-Tech Inc., a small but rapidly growing maker of products for the electronics industry, said yesterday that it would expand its plant and add 100 jobs in Frederick County as a result of winning a new contract.

The contract, from Motorola Inc., is for the production of ceramic filters used in the production of cellular telephones, said Joseph J. Alberici, president and chief executive of Trans-Tech, based in Adamstown.

"It is the largest contract in the company's history," he said.

The expansion was also made possible by a $3.45 million finance package from the state. This includes $3.25 million in loans at 4.5 percent interest from the Maryland Industrial and Commercial Redevelopment Fund and the state's so-called "Sunny-Day" +V fund. The loans will be used for the purchase of machines and equipment associated with the expansion.

The state also will provide the company with grants totaling $200,000 to be used to train new workers. Mr. Alberici said the new jobs will be added over the next two years.

Mr. Alberici said the company's original plan was to have work on the new contract done in Massachusetts, where its parent company, Woburn, Mass.-based Alpha Industries Inc., has excess manufacturing capacity as a result of a recent consolidation and restructuring.

Mark L. Wasserman, secretary of the Maryland Department of Economic and Employment Development, said there was "little doubt in my mind" that Trans-Tech would have expanded in Massachusetts if the state had not put together the financing package.

This is not the first time that Maryland has offered financial help to keep a Trans-Tech operation in the state. In the early 1990s, West Virginia offered a lucrative financial package in hopes of gaining a new Trans-Tech plant.

When top Maryland economic development officials learned of the threat, they moved rapidly to match West Virginia's offer and the company expanded in the Frederick area.

Trans-Tech has previously received tens of thousands of dollars in low-interest loans and grants from Maryland and federal agencies to help it make the transition away from a defense-reliant company.

Mr. Alberici said the company is looking to lease a building in the Frederick area to house its expanded operations as well as increase the size of its 100,000 square foot Adamstown factory complex by about a third.

Trans-Tech, which has 40 workers at its sites in Frederick County, employs 340 people, mostly at marketing offices around the world.

Trans-Tech is a strong example of a company that has successfully freed itself from the grips of Pentagon contracts. As recently as 1987, the military accounted for 90 percent of its business. Today, it accounts for less than 15 percent.

During the announcement ceremonies at the company's plant yesterday, Gov. William Donald Schaefer said that companies like Trans-Tech represent the future of Maryland business. He praised the company's leadership for its ability to adapt a defense product for the commercial market.

Mr. Alberici has credited the company's transition to commercial markets for the 37-year-old company's survival. "We would not be here today if we had not made the shift," he said.

Since 1987, Trans-Tech's sales have jumped from $8.4 million to about $22 million last year.

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