Garmin Continues Growth in Salem

Garmin AT, Inc., kicked off a $14 million expansion of its Salem aviation and software development operations in 2014 thanks to Business Oregon assistance through the Business Expansion Program.

The company, which employs nearly 400 workers at two Salem locations, will build a 66,000-square-foot expansion at its Salem Airport location adding an expected 65 engineering positions.

Business Oregon approved a forgivable loan of $487,500 to the company from the Business Expansion Program (BEP) for the project. In addition, the city of Salem extended and expanded property tax exemptions for the company through the Enterprise Zone program.

In order to qualify for BEP support, Garmin agrees to create at least 65, new software and other engineering positions at the new Salem facility that pay an average salary of at least 150% of the statewide average wage. The amount of an award under BEP is based on two years' worth of estimated personal income tax revenues generated by the new hires from the project and contains clawback provisions if those requirements are not met, in addition to other stipulations.

Previously, Business Oregon provided critical gap financing assistance from the Governor's Strategic Reserve Fund (SRF) to help Garmin International fund training for the 200 new employees joining the firm due to the company's $900,000 expansion project.

Garmin partnered with Chemeketa Community College and Job Growers, Inc., to provide the instruction, materials and the facilities to train the newly hired supervisors and team leaders that will run the new technical support centers. The training was estimated to cost more than $300,000. The trainees were provided value added skills to be utilized in their employment at Garmin and in future endeavors.

Garmin AT, Inc., a global leader in satellite navigation products, had employed 230 Oregonians at a 150,000-square-foot campus located at the Salem Municipal Airport. The company's recent expansion is expected to double their Oregon workforce. It includes the addition of a new call center next to its manufacturing facility, and a leased, 43,000-square-foot building located three miles away.