Westfield Hydraulics will open an affiliate company, Westfield Fluid Controls, in north Lafayette and employ 67 at an average salary of just under $50,000. 

A California-based manufacturer will open operations in north Lafayette in a $5.1 million investment that will create 67 jobs at an average salary just under $50,000.

Westfield Hydraulics, which creates precision hydraulic and fluid control components for aerospace and defense applications, will create an affiliate company, Westfield Fluid Controls, in a 30,000-square-foot facility in the Northpark Technology Center along West Pont Des Mouton Road, according to an announcement from the Louisiana Department of Economic Development.

Westfield, which will retain its presence in San Fernando, California, hopes to break ground on the project by the end of the year, CEO Robert Schacht said. The company should exceed that job total, he noted.

“Advanced manufacturing and aerospace are two of the key industries that we are cultivating to grow Louisiana’s economy into the future, and Westfield Fluid Controls covers both of those bases,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “Westfield considered several other states, but Louisiana’s skilled workforce and attractive business climate helped to secure this exciting project for our state. We welcome the quality jobs this innovative, specialized manufacturing business will create in Lafayette.”

The move will put the company closer to its customers in Alabama and Pennsylvania, Schacht said, and the company chose the Louisiana site after considering locations in Ohio, Florida and Texas. It comes after the company first got connected with LED officials through Gray Stream, a member of the Committee of 100 for Economic Development in Louisiana and president of CKX Lands Inc. in Lake Charles. 

Westfield initially bought the 3.6-acre property at 120 Matrix Loop Road in July for $367,400, land records show. The company has been in negotiations with state and LEDA officials for almost four years prior to Thursday’s announcement.

Another factor was Louisiana is one of four states in the Aerospace Alliance, he said. The mission of the group, which also includes Florida, Alabama and Mississippi, is to establish the southeast region as a world-class aerospace and aviation corridor. 

“Our new facility is designed to significantly expand our capabilities through vertical integration of the manufacturing process and the leveraging of new technology,” Schacht said. “We see this expansion as vital to better support our customers in the rapid development of highly customized fluid control solutions for space and defense systems. We chose Louisiana because we wanted to be part of a community that was truly focused on supporting aerospace manufacturing.

"I have to say I was just blown away by the kind of coordination between the state and local government, the program that was offered, the people. It’s a very significant thing for a company like ours to move into a community. Do our values align? Are we on the same page about a range of issues? We really thought Lafayette was most aligned with us."

To secure the project, LED offered a package that includes the comprehensive workforce solutions of its FastStart program.

Westfield will be eligible for a performance-based grant of up to $250,000 to offset the cost of facility construction and equipment. The company also is expected to utilize the state’s Quality Jobs and industrial tax exemption programs.

“Lafayette has a rich history of innovation and expertise in manufacturing — from oilfield components to jewelry to food products — which played a role in Westfield Fluid Controls selecting our community for the location of their new state-of-the-art facility,” LEDA CEO Gregg Gothreaux said. “The specialized, high-skilled positions available with the company will offer significant opportunities for local workers with manufacturing or machining experience while complementing our aviation sector.

“Today’s announcement is another step in LEDA’s efforts to diversify and grow Lafayette’s business base for future development.”

Westfield Hydraulics was formed in 1974 and specializes in the design, manufacture, assembly and testing of powered and nonpowered valves, solenoids and fluid controls for aerospace and defense applications.

"I’m actually anticipating some really great things from this move," Schacht said. "Our team is excited about it."

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Email Adam Daigle at adaigle@theadvocate.com.