Manufacturer eyes Missoula for expansion; needs 200-300 metal workers

2012-09-02T06:45:00Z 2012-09-02T06:49:48Z Manufacturer eyes Missoula for expansion; needs 200-300 metal workersBy JENNA CEDERBERG of the Missoulian
September 02, 2012 6:45 am  • 

A large, international industrial manufacturing company is ready to expand and has its eyes on Missoula.

But before company officials decide if they’ll settle it here – bringing with it hundreds of jobs that pay well – they want to know if Missoula has the work force to support it.

“They’re very enamored with us, what is missing is that they’re not 100 percent sure we can supply a qualified work force,” said Wolf Ametsbichler, Missoula Job Service director. “What they need are certified – and that’s important – welders, pipefitters, boilermakers, people with metal fabrication skills.

“We’re looking at 200 to 300 jobs.”

Ametsbichler said he couldn’t reveal the company’s name, but said it’s well-known, well-respected and wants a site to manufacture large “vessels” to be transported to and used in the oil fields in Alberta. It’s a clean operation and that needs to get under as soon as possible, he said.

So far, the Missoula Economic Partnership, along with Job Service and local union representatives, have collaborated to “show the company what Missoula has,” Ametsbichler said.

Now, Ametsbichler is ready to collect resumes to help seal the deal. Job Service has listed a welder pipefitter job listing on its website to solicit resumes from interested workers.

Job Service’s pseudo job order is an “innovative and creative way to determine and demonstrate available skill,” Ametsbichler said.

The company is currently looking at several sites in Montana. In Missoula, its focus is on the former Bonner millsite. It can’t expand in Canada, Ametsbichler said, because there aren’t qualified workers left there.

The jobs would pay $25 to $30 an hour and include benefits. It could create a cluster of manufacturing and professional services companies here supporting the oil industry, Ametsbichler said.

“This could mean we’re finally overcoming the disaster from Smurfit and Stimson ... Missoula is well back on the way if this happens. That’s why it’s important we get max response from folks,” Ametsbichler said.

The job listing is posted under job No. 2982700 or title “Welder Pipefitter Opportunity” at Job Service’s website, People can also call or come to the office for more information, Ametsbichler said. Those interested need to submit a resume and any industrial certifications they have.

Steve Carey, business manager of the Plumbers and Pipe Fitters Union Local 459, is encouraging his members to submit their resumes.

Work has been scarce for this kind of trade recently and Carey hopes that the local workers get first shot at the jobs.

“I’ve probably got one-third of what they’re looking for with my local union membership. As far as skill level, it’s there,” said Carey, who noted the rest of the workers could be found throughout the region.

To be clear: There are no jobs to offer yet. But the response – or lack thereof – to the listing will be extremely telling for the future of manufacturing in Missoula.

“Without a positive response I can guarantee there won’t be a job, with a positive response, we’re really going to demonstrate people are here and they’re ready to go,” said James Grunke, Missoula Economic Partnership president and chief executive officer.

Grunke has seen an increase in interest lately from manufacturing companies looking at Missoula as a spot to do business. He and his staff have been conducting roughly one site visit per week, compared to one a month at the beginning of the year.

If this particular company doesn’t make the move, the information from the job opportunity listing will be used in the future.

“With an exercise like Wolf is doing, we can demonstrate to future employers that we can meet the needs,” Grunke said.

Ametsbichler said the net will be cast wide to find the workers. It could be an excellent opportunity for workers displaced to the Bakken oil fields to come home.

“We want western Montanans to have well-paying jobs. This is also an opportunity for those in North Dakota, eastern Montana, wherever they are, to come home,” Ametsbichler said.

There isn’t a magic number of qualified job seekers company representatives wants to see, Ametsbichler said, but they want to know quickly. Those interested should apply before the end of the week, Ametsbichler said.

“Speed is important,” he said. “We’re confident the work force is out there but we just need to show it.”

Reporter Jenna Cederberg can be reached at 523-5241 or at

Copyright 2015 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(25) Comments

  1. julio
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    julio - September 05, 2012 1:21 pm
    Missoula city council tried to block any shipments to oil fields. Missoula does Not want to support tar sands at all. !

    we cant we get REAL jobs like Bozeman, Oracle, Rightnow, Lubriderm! all high tech high pay....

  2. Kinnikinnick
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    Kinnikinnick - September 03, 2012 7:37 pm
    I hope you are right, that Missoula doesn't want to support tar sands at all. While obviously we need jobs, at what price? Any job that supports the tar sands is a way to keep a roof over our heads and feed out kids now while destroying their future ability to breathe and live healthy lives. In the meantime, we'll be helping to destroy an entire region of Canada and their children's health as well. EVERY sane community in the world should say no to supporting the tar sands. But they won't. That's why we're all slaves in a capitalist economy. We'll do it b/c if we don't someone else will, and we'll suffer the long-term health effects anyway.
  3. jnnmorse
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    jnnmorse - September 03, 2012 4:24 pm
    I have also seen the same things 2 and 4 year olds setting on corners with parents begging for help it saddens the heart missoula has to many homelss families and winter is on it's way We need jobs here in missoula grandmother
  4. jnnmorse
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    jnnmorse - September 03, 2012 4:20 pm
    let's get some business this one or something to feed the many families that lost their houses living on the streetsw with very small childern and nothing to eat . just drive down missoula streets these poor family's need jobs and a roof over their childern heads and at least one meal aday .concerned
  5. RPT
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    RPT - September 03, 2012 4:20 pm
    This company will be welcomed with open arms in almost any Montana town or city North / East of Missoula.
    They would be foolish to even consider Missoula.
    Not going to happen... Not here.. Not ever again.
  6. Roger
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    Roger - September 03, 2012 3:36 pm
    MiddleFinger still doesn't get it - the science says that humans aren't causing climate change through the use of fossil fuels. No warming for at least 10 years, etc. etc. National Geographic is clearly a left-biased dishonest rag.
  7. David1
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    David1 - September 03, 2012 2:38 pm
    C'mon, now, Walther. There are plenty of rightys in this valley & the Bitterroot, you among them. Except for one comment, here, I haven't noticed overt objection to this proposal from the "leftists." I'm to the left, and I favor it.
  8. julio
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    julio - September 03, 2012 2:23 pm
    Makes more sense in billings.
  9. julio
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    julio - September 03, 2012 2:23 pm
    How hypocritical !

    Missoula city council tried to block any shipments to oil fields. Missoula does Not want to support tar sands at all. !

    no way this company will be welcome here.

  10. LastBestPlace
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    LastBestPlace - September 03, 2012 11:44 am
    Yeah I hope they find a better city than Missoula too. We're progressively moving forward. It wouldn't make sense for the wise ol' town of Missoula to support a regressive, unethical, souless death trap operation like the Alberta Tar Sands.
  11. walter12
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    walter12 - September 03, 2012 7:30 am
    This company would be far better served by moving into a different city other than Missoula. The City of Missoula is a college town. It is a city for leftists. It is a city for those 50% of Missoula County that get some sort of federal aid. It is a city where many of it residents don't work and don't want to work. Missoula is a mecca for the retired, those on federal and state aid, fat single mothers, those that are lazy, college hanger-ons that are afraid of the big cities, and all those afraid to confront the real world and competition..
  12. hellgatenights
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    hellgatenights - September 02, 2012 9:45 pm
    This "Feel Good" moment was brought to you by the DNC and Grunke, who as yet to produce one single job in Missoula.

    Jenna, please follow-up on this story so we can read Grunke blame Missoula for this company passing by.
  13. doc
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    doc - September 02, 2012 8:17 pm
    Logger, read the article again. Workers with specialized skills are going to be needed.........that leaves out the enviros. Although I have absolutely no issue with the company locating here, I am surprised that Great Falls or Havre aren't on the top of the list for consideration. All about geography and rail access.
  14. Drummer
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    Drummer - September 02, 2012 3:59 pm
    I hope this company finds a better city than Missoula. Missoula is not business friendly and has driven out many businesses. All they need to do is drive around and see all the empty buildings. The rules and regulations, not to mention excessive taxes are too stringent. This is strictly a latte shop and tattoo town. Anyone hoping to start a business and make a profit should look elsewhere. The governance is one form both City & County......Socialist. The downtown is a slum area.
  15. Larry Lewis
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    Larry Lewis - September 02, 2012 3:59 pm
    Not gonna happen. With the radical clowns we have on the city council and the three stooges on the county commission, this project will never get off the ground.
  16. accobra
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    accobra - September 02, 2012 3:42 pm
    Well I can bet that they won't be doing business here. All we have in Zoo Town is a bunch of over educated people with useless degrees in envrionmental studys that are flippng burgers and waiting tables.
  17. Andy B Hammond
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    Andy B Hammond - September 02, 2012 3:19 pm
    This will never happen. Too many blue collar jobs that require actual hard work that require getting dirty. Only non profits, art related, or government jobs are acceptable here. Real jobs and businesses are not tolerated!
  18. lostinzoola
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    lostinzoola - September 02, 2012 2:40 pm
    THIS IS A HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUE. Communities adjacent to tar sands development exhibit ridiculously high rates of rare cancers, and if you care to hunt or fish around there you're straight outta luck these days. Fort Chipewyan in northern Alberta (population 1,200) has had 3 documented instances of cholangiocarcinoma, a rare form of bilary duct cancer associated with petrochemical extraction which should should only have an incidence rate of 1 in 100,000. Let me state that again. In a population of 1,200, 3 people have developed a cancer that should only occur in 1 out of every 100,000 members of a population. This isn't accounting for numerous other cases of rare cancers which have been found in the population around tar sands development. People around the Athabasca river can no longer eat fish out of the river or game from the forest because the animals are lousy with abscesses, tumors and full of pollutant chemicals. Does anybody remember Libby? That's what we're doing to people in northern Alberta if we support the tar sands efforts. The blood will be on our hands.
  19. Richland1
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    Richland1 - September 02, 2012 1:51 pm
    The real issue with the Mega Loads was that only the Port of Lewiston gained from this everyone else got nothing. The company has determined what they should have known previously--their structural component needs can be fabricated in Montana and shipped North cheaper with higher quality. By sizing the loads properly they can run down the Interstate as a wide load. As for the Tar Sands--why is this an environmental issue? This is the only "mining" operation on earth where the landscape is acttually returned after reclamation in better shape than it was prior to the contaminate--OIL--being removed from the soil column. There are already operations opening up to support the Tar Sands in other parts of Montana--Missoula could use some manufacturing jobs--hopefully--UNION jobs with good pay and benefits.
  20. David1
    Report Abuse
    David1 - September 02, 2012 12:33 pm
    The tar sands are going to be mined, anyway. The Enviros better pull in their horns on this one.
  21. Montana Joe
    Report Abuse
    Montana Joe - September 02, 2012 11:18 am
    Doesn't look much different than any other type of mining. Gold, trees or whatever it is your pulling from the ground alters the earth in some way. Someone's going to build for them it might as well bring some money back to Missoula.
  22. RPT
    Report Abuse
    RPT - September 02, 2012 11:16 am
    It’s obvious this company hasn’t done their proper DD as to what awaits ANY company who tries to start a new business in this town that’s not ‘Green’.
    Starting with the anti-business ,stop you if we can, attitude they’ll find waiting for them at city hall....To the 15 to 20 radical
    environmental groups who call Missoula their home base...Along with an activist Judge waiting in the Federal Court house ready,willing and able
    to sign off on any lawsuit those groups put in front of him.
    Not going to happen... Not here.. Not ever again.
  23. Bittersweet
    Report Abuse
    Bittersweet - September 02, 2012 10:34 am
    Ohhhhhh logger, logger, logger.....don't you worry. The opposition will surely come. The protests are all but guaranteed if it looks like jobs are coming Missoulas way. This Company should probably be more concerned about getting their product from point A to point B.


    National Geographic *Rolls eyes* Talk about a money greedy bunch that plays on the heart strings of wealthy folks around the World by putting out a bunch of one sided propoganda.
  24. MiddleFinger
    Report Abuse
    MiddleFinger - September 02, 2012 9:45 am
    "It’s a clean operation and that needs to get under as soon as possible"

    Clean here maybe, but the net result to the earth is as dirty as humans have ever done.

    Have a look complements of National Geographic

    Two choices America: Bury your head in the sands, or grow a spine and do what's right for the future.

  25. logger
    Report Abuse
    logger - September 02, 2012 8:59 am
    OMG. I love the irony here. Tar Sands to provide 300 high paying jobs in Missoula. Maybe the fringe element radical enviros who protested the "mega loads" should get in front of this and let this company know that they are NOT welcome! Ya, how bout a few protests over this one. Missoula doesn't want your high paying "dirty oil" jobs! Shoot, they'll probably be the first ones to get a job there.
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