Growth of local facility creates new job opportunities

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COLUMBIA — A local Watlow facility is holding its first open house for community members on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Columbia Watlow facility manufactures industrial heating equipment that helps make microchips for items ranging from phones and computers to medical equipment.

The goal of the open house is to show community members the work environment, demonstrate the types of positions available and encourage people to apply for openings.

Watlow is growing with the evolution of technology and anticipates a 20 to 40 percent increase in various manufacturing positions, which means dozens of new job possibilities in the community.

Director of Operations Randy Schmitz said the goal for the event is to identify people who have an interest in working for the company.

“We’ve been in Columbia for a long time and intend to be here a very long time,” Schmitz said. “We are investing, not only in jobs, but also in infrastructure and facilities here, and so we feel that we're a strong part of the industrial side of the Columbia economy and community.”

Human Resources Manager Beth Bailey said Watlow employs around 400 people, and the company is growing, especially over the last few months.

“When we're bringing in business, when we're bringing in new individuals into the work environment, that’s good for the overall Columbia community," Bailey said. "As far as that is providing additional employment opportunities for individuals to choose from. It is individuals that not only are from Columbia, but from the outlying markets.”

Bailey said Watlow has a diverse culture including people of various ages and backgrounds.

The Columbia Watlow facility has been around since 1979.