A multimillion dollar, international technology company has purchased Trek, Inc. in a move that is expected to bring significant investment and dozens of new jobs to the company’s headquarters and manufacturing base in Harrison Place.
Advanced Energy Industries, Inc., a Fort Collins, Co.-based power and controls technology manufacturer, acquired Trek’s Japanese holding company late last week at a cost of $20 million.
Advanced Energy, a NASDAQ-traded company, pulls in about $500 million annually through its sales of semi-conductors, flat-panel displays, data-storage products, solar cells and architectural glass. Their products have a wide range of applications, including automotive, medical research, solar panels, the defense industry, X-ray inspections of airline passengers and freight cars, and more.
Mike McDonald, senior vice president of speciality power products, said the company saw in Trek a unique opportunity to complement and expand its existing line of products, noting the two companies share customers but were not competitors.
“When we identify an acquisition, in the most ideal form they are completely complementary (but without) competition in existing product lines,” McDonald said. “That is 99 percent of what Trek is — entirely unique opportunities for Advanced Energy to develop and to grow.”
Trek was founded in 1968 by Bruce T. Williams. At first it specialized in electrostatic measurement instrumentation and devices.
In the 1980s, began producing high-voltage amplifiers. In 1987, Trek Japan KK was founded to provide engineering support, sales and service to Japanese and other Pacific Rim customers. In 2006, the Tokyo-based Trek Holding Company, Ltd. acquired both the U.S.-based Trek, Inc. and Trek Japan KK.
Trek has a global sales network that includes customers throughout Asia, Europe, Australia and North America. However, McDonald said Advanced Energy’s acquisition will greatly expand Trek’s sales network.
“What they’re going to be a part of is a global organization that’s far outside of what they’ve done in the past,” McDonald said.
McDonald said the company will also invest in Trek’s manufacturing facility and headquarters in Harrison Place, and add jobs, including manufacturing technicians, electrical test technicians, electrical engineers and “business leaders.” McDonald said it’s too early to say how many dollars of investment or how many new jobs Advanced Energy will bring, but said the latter will be in the “double digits.”
“It’s part of our integration strategy and plan that we put into effect from day one,” McDonald said. “In these formative days we’re trying to assess where we’re at, what we’ll need. It’ll take us a better part of a month to get a better understanding of what’s going to happen.”
The company is already hiring for some new positions.
“They can’t get them fast enough,” McDonald said.
What’s more, in other communities, Advanced Energy has partnered with local schools to steer technology programs toward the unique skills they need. In Fort Collins, the company sits on the boards of two local trade schools.
McDonald said the company may consider partnering with local universities, trade schools and high schools to provide the talent channels it needs.
“Advanced Energy has unique needs in terms of the skills we’re looking at, so it would naturally make sense that we would partner with the local education community to try to make a steady talent pool,” he said.
The company has also invested in the communities at large where it has acquired new companies. McDonald said he expects the same in Lockport.
“We are very conscientious about participating in the local community, and we are constantly looking for ways we can become active corporate citizens,” he said. “We’ll find our way there and do some of the same things we did in other regions.”
McDonald, who visited Lockport Feb. 7, praised the “positive atmosphere” of Trek’s Lockport headquarters, and said he believes it will be an ideal fit for Advanced Energy.
“The portfolio and the culture is really a great fit for Advanced Energy,” he said. “It’s about innovation and entrepreneurship. We just couldn’t be happier.”