Business

Orion to break ground on new facility

Staff reports

Orion Industries trains people struggling with barriers to employment then helps them get jobs in the community.

In 2012, the company helped more than 350 people from Federal Way to Auburn, to Kent, Renton, Tacoma and Seattle, placing more than 100 of them in community jobs, an achievement worth $3 million to the region.

Now the company, which has outgrown its facility in Federal Way, is preparing to break ground on a 100,000-square-foot building in Auburn, on 6.5 acres of undeveloped property just west of the Auburn Municipal Airport and north of the Metro Park and Ride.

The groundbreaking starts at 2 p.m. Thursday, June 6 at 1590 A St. NE. Orion has invited Gov. Jay Inslee, Mayor Pete Lewis, King County Executive Dow Constantine, and King County Representative Pete von Reichbauer to say a few words. The celebration ends at 3:30 p.m.

When the new building opens this December, it will house corporate operations and Orion's growing manufacturing, contact center services and training and employment divisions. In Federal Way it employs 225 people in three buildings.

"Auburn is a key location for Orion for several reasons," said John Theisen, Orion president and CEO. "Importantly, it puts us in closer proximity to our largest manufacturing customer, Boeing Auburn, and positions us closer to a growing cluster of aerospace suppliers. Notably, this location also increases accessibility to public transportation for staff and training program participants,"

Orion credits the success of the land acquisition to a collaboration between Orion, the City of Auburn, Lewis, Constantine, and von Reichbauer.

Orion was founded in 1957 as a vocational program for students with disabilities. Its manufacturing enterprise supplies precision machined parts and sub-assemblies to aerospace, automotive, marine and medical customers throughout the world. Boeing recently named it a Boeing Supplier of the Year, out of 17,000 suppliers in 52 countries.

In 2007, Orion expanded its services to include clerical and customer service training programs. Orion's Clerical and Customer Service Program uses self-directed and group instruction to teach Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office, keyboarding, customer service, filing, office machines and office etiquette, and prepares participants for a variety of positions that require clerical and customer service skills. It has recently added a Hospitality and Customer Service Program.

The company funds 95 percent of its mission through the businesses it runs.

With the move to Auburn, Orion expects to add to its workforce.

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