Longtime Auburn firm Vian Enterprises staying put with help from Placer County, recovery money

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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An Auburn company that has quietly been an economic success story in Placer County over the past 30 years is staying put with the help of federal recovery money. Vian Enterprises has been steadily growing since its arrival in Auburn and now employs 90 at its 45,000-square-foot Kemper Road Industrial Park facility. But with virtually no floor space for new equipment and new orders coming in, the firm was ready to expand, Chief Financial Officer Elizabeth Vian said Tuesday. The Board of Supervisors approved a resolution Tuesday authorizing issuing a $6.84-million tax-exempt bond under the American Recovery and Investment Act to fund borrowing on the project. Plans are for a new, 80,000-square-foot facility on six acres Vian owns adjacent to its current plant on Industrial Drive in North Auburn. “We love Auburn,” Vian said. “We’ve had opportunities to move to a lot of places but we love it here. We’re pleased that the county also appreciates us.” The expansion is expected to allow Vian Enterprises to hire 30 to 40 more employees. Groundbreaking on the new facility is expected to take place this spring, Vian said. Family owned and run, Vian Enterprises has developed and manufactured unique, innovative pump systems used in the aerospace industry and in the military. One of its contracts is with Lockheed Martin for lubrication pumps on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Following the supervisors’ designation in November of Placer County as a federal recovery zone, up to $6.84 million in bonds for private facilities and $4.56 million for public projects was freed. The project will cost more than $6.8 million, Vian said. She declined to state the final estimated cost. Vian already owns the land it intends to build on. Vian was ranked No. 1 from a list of six applicants submitted by mid-December to a panel of staff from the Office of Economic Development and Redevelopment. Hill Top LLC, which has been stalled in developing a 142-room Marriot Springhill Suite Hotel on Bowman Road, was the second-ranked application. Supervisor Jim Holmes, whose district includes the Vian facility, said that retaining the business was important because of the number of high-paid, skilled positions it employs. Vian declined to state actual wage amounts but the list of workers includes in-demand, skilled jobs like engineers and machinists.