DANBURY -- Kimchuk, a company with three locations in Commerce Park, has announced the opening of its fourth facility and the hiring of 80 new employees to operate it.
Company President Jim Marquis said the new 18,000-square-foot facility on Finance Drive it is leasing is needed to complete a four-year contract from Westinghouse to build components for two nuclear power plants being built in the United Arab Emirates.
It's the company's second expansion in the past four years and will bring its workforce to about 250 employees.
Kimchuk, which engineers and manufactures products for a variety of firms, has experienced growth of about 20 percent annually in recent years, Marquis said.
The more recent successful products, he said, include a sniper-detection system for the military, as well as a drowning-detection system that can be used in pools and in darker waters such as ponds.
Marquis said the company hopes to get additional business in the future from Westinghouse, which has two more power plants in the works for the United Arab Emirates, as well as eight more approved in the United States.
He said Kimchuk is seeking a nuclear power plant safety certification by the end of the year that could double its business with Westinghouse.
"There are very few companies in the United States that have this certification," Marquis said.
The company first began delving into the nuclear power market more than a decade ago, when business dropped off significantly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
"People were looking at us cross-eyed at the time," Marquis has said. "But it's been a home run."
Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce President Stephen Bull said Marquis has the ability not only to build a company but to "create jobs in an environment that hasn't always been as hospitable to manufacturing as we'd like."
"It's a true testament to Jim and his vision," he said. "The company provides a lot of good-paying jobs, and we are very proud to have them in Danbury."
Marquis won the city's Cecil J. Previdi Award last year, which is given to an area resident who has demonstrated progressive business attitudes, been responsible for the growth of a local business, and made a significant contribution to the area's economy.
Marquis said he hopes to open the new facility by early next month.
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