FLIR, a world leading manufacturer of infrared detectors and systems, has chosen Northpointe in Freeport, PA as the location for their Government Systems Pittsburgh operation. The company recently purchased the Northpointe Technology Center from the Armstrong County Industrial Development Council. The 30,000 square foot building will allow for the consolidation of their facilities and the streamlining of their engineering, manufacturing and assembly operations. FLIR currently leases two separate facilities located within 6 miles of the Northpointe facility and employs 65 people locally.
Mr. Harry Beck, Vice President and General Manager of the operation, explained that FLIR acquired OmniTech Partners, Inc. and its subsidiary, Optical Systems Technology, Inc. (OSTI) in 2009. Operating as a part of FLIR’s Government Systems Division, OmniTech and OSTI are now known as FLIR Government Systems Pittsburgh, focusing on weapon sights, hand-held night vision viewers, and other high-performance systems for individual soldiers and force protection. When asked about the decision to purchase a facility in Armstrong County, Mr. Beck indicated that the local workforce was one of the driving factors in the decision to remain here. “FLIR is extremely proud of the quality craftsmanship and dedication exhibited by our employees. We certainly would not have this level of success without them.” Mr. Beck added “With corporate offices in Portland, Oregon, and facilities located all over the country, we could have relocated anywhere, and honestly there were plenty of offers to do so; but the workforce, combined with the diligence of the local elected officials and the Armstrong County IDC, made our decision much easier. They did everything within their powers to keep us here, so we are staying and we are quite happy in our decision to do so. We believe the new facility will help us streamline our manufacturing process, and the Northpointe facility is supported by very robust infrastructure [both in terms of power and telecommunications]. This should allow us to keep moving forward. Relocating to a more modern facility will also help our recruiting efforts.”
Dennis Smail, Chairman of the Armstrong County Industrial Development Council, acknowledged that the sale of the facility was not initially considered when staff began assisting FLIR with the site search. “Very few facilities met the design criteria needed by FLIR and it became apparent that this may have been the only facility available within the County, so to keep the jobs here, we agreed to sell.”
The Northpointe Technology Center was initially developed as a multi-tenant facility with significant support provided by Senator Don White, PA 41st, Representative Jeff Pyle PA 60th, and the Armstrong County Board of Commissioners. “The sale of this building to a major national company is a nice win for Northpointe and it’s consistent with both the State and County economic development goals, more importantly it keeps good jobs here and hopefully spawns additional opportunities. I’m looking forward to touring the new facility when it opens”, said the Senator. Representative Pyle recently stated that it’s always a positive sign when a company goes from being a tenant to owning their own facility. Mr. David Battaglia, Chairman of the Armstrong County Board of Commissioners agreed wholeheartedly when told of the Senator’s and the Representative’s comments. “This is what government economic development programs are supposed to do, assist with the infrastructure, help to identify opportunities, then let the private sector do what they do best, create jobs”, said Commissioner Battaglia.