A $700 million natural gas power plant project in Vinco introduced Indiana-based Solid Platforms Inc. to the Johnstown area last year, providing steady work for 60 of the company’s workers.
Now, the Indiana-based industrial scaffolding company is setting itself up to grow its business here for years to come.
The company has purchased a former Johnstown Welding and Fabrication training site on Broad Street with plans to expand its workload across Pennsylvania and beyond, said Jason Lammertin, the company’s president.
The building will serve as a home base for that crew of 60 union carpenters, he said.
“We think this is a great place for us,” Lammertin said. “Johnstown has a rich history, and moving forward, we want to make sure we’re part of it.”
Since 1990, the company has been providing safety-minded support for industrial projects across the eastern half of the United States, designing, building and maintaining scaffolding systems for large-scale job sites, such as power plant upgrades, stages and industrial towers, he said.
The Portage, Indiana-based company has offices in Detroit; Indianapolis; Youngstown, Ohio; and elsewhere, the website shows.
But the company didn’t have a Pennsylvania office location – until now.
Solid Platforms acquired 1363 Broad St. from JWF Industries this spring, Lammertin said.
The onetime Bethlehem Steel fabrication shop was used for various purposes over the years, most recently as a JWF training center before the lessons were shifted to the company’s main facility over the past year, JWF CEO Bill Polacek said.
“They were hearing good things about Johnstown – and its labor force – and they saw it as an opportunity,” Polacek said.
“This is a case where a company sought the community out and strategically found a fit,” he added. “I think it really says something when someone from the outside comes here and decides to invest here.”
To Polacek, Solid Platforms’ arrival provides more evidence that the Johnstown region is “moving forward,” with a strong labor force as an asset.
Lammertin said the bulk of the company’s 22,000-square-foot space was needed to store tons of scaffolding supplies that its United Brotherhood of Carpenters workers rely on to get jobs done.
The company is also using offices and other work space inside the site.
“We’ve completely rehabbed a section of it over the past few months for offices – new walls, wiring and fixtures,” he said, noting that siding and a new roof were also part of their plans.
Lammertin said the space will serve as a home base to support projects across Pennsylvania and into other states.
“We’re excited about our move,” he said. “We’re looking forward to meeting and working with everyone here in the region. I think the sky’s the limit in terms of the number of jobs we could create here.”