Brunner will push for expansion to be done by Jan. 1

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 February 2014 at 12:00 am

Company is adding 35-40 jobs to Medina site

Photo by Tom Rivers – Gabrielle Barone, vice president of business development for the Orleans Economic Development Agency, discusses a plan for a 48,000-square-foot addition at Brunner with Town of Ridgeway Planning Board members, from left: Charles Pettit, Tom Fenton (chairman) and Richard Swan. The board will review the site plan again on March 5.

MEDINA – A company that has committed to a $15 million expansion in Medina wants to have the project ready for production of truck axles by Jan. 1, 2015.

Brunner International already employs 360 people at the corner of Bates Road and Route 31. The company will add 35 to 40 jobs as part of a 48,000-square-foot expansion to the south side of its current complex. The new building will go next to a 41,250-square-foot expansion about five years ago that added 50 jobs in Medina.

Brunner looked at Kentucky for the latest expansion, but picked Medina for the project. Gabrielle Barone, vice president of business development for the Orleans Economic Development Agency, said one of the selling points for Orleans County was the support of the local governments.

She asked the Ridgeway Town Planning Board to work hard to expediently approve the site plan.

“We want to make this as efficient as possible for them and give them more room,” Barone told the Town Planning Board on Wednesday.

Brunner and EDA will need to re-establish a wetland as part of the project. The company and EDA are working with the Army Corps of Engineers on that issue. A new access road will also be built and Barone said local governments will assist with that project.

Brad MacDoanld, Brunner vice president, told the Ridgeway Planning Board that the company expects to soon submit a formal site plan to the town.

“We’re making a significant investment in equipment and automation,” MacDonald told the Ridgeway planners. “We’re excited about it.”

The board will meet again at 7 p.m. on March 5 to discuss the site plan.

Planning Board member Charles Pettit praised MacDonald and the Brunner leaders for picking Medina for the expansion.

“It’s great to see cars in the parking lot and tractor trailers coming in and out of there,” Pettit said.

Brunner is based in Canada. The company is expanding the production of machined axle forgings that are sold to large, heavy-duty truck and trailer suppliers. It will utilize automation and add jobs as part of the expansion.

“It will put more people to work in the community,” said Planning Board Chairman Tom Fenton.

New York Power Authority in December announced it approved 2.4 megawatts of low-cost electricity for the project. The state also said it would provide a $750,000 incentive package under Empire State Development’s Excelsior Jobs Program.