Sabre Industries opens multimillion-dollar plant in Sioux City, doubles workforce

One of six bays inside Sabre Industries' new Sioux City, Iowa, facility. The company makes large electrical and communication transmission equipment.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Sabre Industries celebrated completion of a $20 million plant Thursday that is part of a multiphase expansion that is doubling the company's workforce in the area.

The manufacturer of large electrical and communication transmission equipment cut the ribbon on the 258,000-square-foot manufacturing facility, which will house production for utility structure and communication towers.

The company also plans to add 36,800 more square feet to complete the new industrial complex. That space will include administrative offices.

The new industrial complex is expected to add about 200 jobs, ranging from management and sales to welding and shipping, to the current 208 workers Sabre already employs in the Sioux City area.

The company has already started hiring for welding positions, and work began in the new facility at the beginning of December, said Brian Newberg, executive vice president of Sabre Steel Products.

Newberg said the building may appear to be just another manufacturing facility, but the people in it are “what makes it.”

“Look around,” he said. “It's beautiful. It's bright.”

The company also has locations in Alvarado, Texas; Ellwood City, Pa.; and Bossier City, La.

With options to expand in those states, the company chose Sioux City because of the company's long history in the area and Iowa's highly skilled workforce, said Peter J. Sandore, president and CEO of Sabre Industries Inc.

He said the company has a hard time finding and hiring welders in Texas. Sandore said the new facility is part of the company's goal to grow in Sioux City between now and 2018.

The new facility was modeled after one at the Alvarado headquarters. Thursday's dedication drew about 200 people, including Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and Sioux City's Mayor Bob Scott and Economic Development Director Marty Dougherty.

Branstad said he used to think Iowa fed the world, but “we now feed the economy through companies like this.”

Another large investment in the Sioux City area — a $1.7billion expansion of the Port Neal fertilizer manufacturing complex — was announced in August.

Sabre began construction in June 2012 after about three years of planning, Newberg said. He called the building schedule “lightning fast.”

The industrial complex is located on the southern edge of Sioux City near the airport and between Interstate 29 and the Missouri River. It's on a 150-acre site in the Southbridge Business Park, a 10,000-acre development owned by the city.

Dougherty said the Sabre facility is the first in the Southbridge development.

Sabre's current Sioux City facility is also located between the Interstate and the river, but is outside of the business park. Connie Aasen, vice president of marketing, said all operations at that facility will shift to the new one at the industrial park within the next year.

Sabre Industries was founded in Sioux City in 1977. It started as a small tower manufacturer and through the years has expanded into making utility structures, steel structures for the communications industry, shelters and building systems and tower accessories.

In August, the manufacturer was acquired by affiliates of New York-based private equity firm Kohlberg & Co., LLC.

Today, Sabre is one of the largest providers of transmission structures for the utility industry. The company also provides services like hot-dip galvanizing, turnkey construction, site development, interior integration and field maintenance.

The company's projects include transmission and distribution lines as long as hundreds of miles and as tall as 220 feet.

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