HALSTEAD, Kansas – It would appear Harvey County is on a roll. Jobs, jobs, jobs.
“Job fairs and opportunities,” says Mickey Fornaro-Dean. “It’s certainly good to see.”
Fornaro-Dean is with Harvey County Economic Development, and says the county has added more than 150 jobs recently.
AGCO makes tractors and a lot of other agricultural equipment. It’s one of the big employers in the county, but others are on the way.
“The town of Sedgwick, Halstead, Newton,” says Fornaro-Dean. “They’re all getting a boost.”
In Halstead, it’s Red Guard.
“We make blast-resistant modular buildings,” says Jeff Lange with Red Guard. “As we take on these Fortune 500 companies, maybe it’s time for us to grow up and we’ve graduated from college now, with a new look and new logo.”
Red Guard is based out of Wichita, but chose Harvey County for an expansion.
“Why we chose Halstead is simple,” says Lange. “Harvey County has just been fantastic. Welcomed us with open arms. Supported us with every need that we’ve come up with. We’re looking forward to the job creation.”
They’ve created about 30 jobs to put the finishing touches on their “super tough” blast-resistant modular buildings. They may add more jobs.
“It’s certainly possible, and soon,” says Lange. “We talked 60 new jobs with the county and we would begin with about 30. But, our buildings are in demand.”
Fornaro-Dean says Red Guard was a good fit. And finding the right fit, particularly with existing companies that are looking to expand, can be key.
“There will be some companies that you just don’t go after,” says Fornaro-Dean. “And you have to find the right fit for your community. Everybody wants jobs. But you want jobs that are the right fit.”
He says the key to getting even modest growth is communication with existing businesses looking to expand. It’s a formula that seems to work.