(Chronicle, The (Centralia, WA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) May 10--Employees and owners of a semi-automatic rifle component manufacturer expanding to Centralia gave the community a glimpse into their business Thursday morning.
Mega Arms announced plans in mid-April to expand from its current Tumwater home to a new 20,000-foot manufacturing facility at 3507 North Park Drive. Company firearms manager Jason Curns spoke at Thursday morning's Lewis Economic Development Council general membership meeting and thanked the community for being receptive to their expansion.
Mega Arms creates components, including upper and lower receivers, for several weapons, including AR-15s and .308-caliber rifles. Mega Arms ships its products to dozens of dealers across the United States.
The company is also popular on Facebook, maintaining a page with more than 36,000 likes.
Curns explained and demonstrated how the components work to those present, even passing around several dummy rifles with Mega Arms components attached for people from elected leaders to business managers to see for themselves while explaining the specialized nature of the work.
"We spend a lot of time training our machinists," Curns said, noting that starting wage for a machinist at the company is $12-13 per hour with a steady increase.
Mega Arms employs 22 people currently, and Curns said he could see that increasing by a third, with some openings possibly coming for machinists, skilled labor and janitorial work. Curns said Mega Arms has been a good company to work for, and he hopes the company can quickly solidify its presence in Lewis County.
"Not many people get to do a job and their hobby at the same time," Curns quipped.
In other updates from the EDC meeting:
--Fred Rider with ToledoTel stated the rural telephone company continues its work on replacing its copper-based system with fiber optic lines. Crews are now beginning to work on bringing fiber to more homes starting this week.
--Toledo Mayor Jerry Pratt briefly told those present about the $9.6 million wastewater treatment plant project, and said construction on the new facility has begun.
--Bill Lotto said the Industrial Park at TransAlta project continues to move along and is "heavily into the permitting phase." A portion of the project's infrastructure could go out for bid soon, Lotto said, and that "geographically broad" inquiries are coming in regarding the project.
--Centralia College President Jim Walton reflected on his 12 years as leader of the college, and said he was excited to see the college's bachelor of science in diesel technology program come aboard. "It will be the first on the West Coast," Walton said. Walton also said the bachelor of applied science in management program will have an accounting component, and that three more programs are being researched: an education degree, nursing and information technology.
--Walton also mentioned the college hopes to create a chemical dependency counseling degree.
--EDC Executive Director Dick Larman stated he would be meeting Monday with a company that produces "advanced materials," led by a Lewis County native who has expressed a desire to return home.
Christopher Brewer: (360) 807-8235
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