The first and only LUC Urethanes production facility in the United States cut the big red ribbon in Conroe last night.
The Netherlands-based polyurethane manufacturing company provides an alternative product to rubber that combines elasticity with the strength of plastic for a longer life span, the company said.
From rollercoaster wheels to tech solutions for pipe and cable, the raw mixed product is used in a gamut of ways–making the oil and gas industry and amusement parks a couple of their main markets.
While LUC Urethanes is already located in the Netherlands, Belgium, Hungary, the United Kingdom and Germany, they’ve decided to dive into the US market.
Conroe Mayor Webb Melder said the company conducted a nationwide search and told him they did not have one particular reason for choosing Conroe. However, he was pleased the company took notice of the college in the industrial park and infrastructure.
“We had a finished product ready to deliver,” Melder said.
Melder said the LUC Urethanes president mentioned the growth of the Conroe Regional Airport and the close proximity to Bush Intercontinental Airport and Houston. “When he added it all up we had the best deal,” Melder said.
While discussing the type of impact the company could have on the local economy, the mayor noted that the global company “has customers and friends all over the world” and that “any new jobs (to the area) are always a blessing.”
After several years, the international company made the decision to purchase the land in Conroe in February 2014.
But first, the company faced the challenge of an economic downturn that made the US investment look unrealistic for the near future–nonetheless the company prevailed.
“Today a new production is open here in Conroe,” President Charles Krutzen said. “It is the fifth in the LUC Group and the first in the United States– isn’t that promising?”
During his address to the attendees, Krutzen shared his gratitude for his parents who founded the company in 1971.
He also expressed appreciation for the customers’ confidence in the product and the many people who continue to support the company– including Marco Voragen.
The Global Sales Manager started to visit Houston in 2007 for Offshore Technology Exchange when the company first began looking at the possibility of opening in the US. He described the opening in one word, “great”.
“It’s been a nice and positive experience,” he said. “All the people we talk to are friendly and helpful. Conroe is a great place for the company, there’s a lot of facilities, and it’s a great location.”
For support both at home and at work, Krutzen also thanked his wife and chemical engineer, Susan, who joined him in offering three $3,000 checks to three local charities.
The organizations were Angel Reach, Back to Basics, and the Conroe Youth Soccer League.
President Deb Keller said it is the league’s largest monetary donation and it will go towards scholarships.
“We are honored,” Keller said. “We are impressed by LUC Urethanes commitment to social responsibility and to making a long term positive impact benefiting the children of the community.”
Krutzen said he and his wife have four children and are so grateful they want to support others and integrate in a good way.
“…We are happy with the grand opening,” he said. “We are proud to be here…We hope people know us as a company that is involved.”
While the company is happyto be in Conroe, the president said they plan to open three to four more locations.
The new facility is not the only polyurethane manufacturer in the US, but Krutzen said the company specializes in mixing their own polyurethane with their own raw materials.
The prospective locations must be close to customers in their markets to reduce the cost of transporting the materials.
Krutzen said there is an interest in mine and steel areas, mentioning Las Vegas, as an example along with Alabama and Pennsylvania.
Conroe Plant Manager Adrian Patton said places with amusement parks like Florida would also be ideal.
Wherever the company goes next, Krutzen has big dreams for the United States.
“…I want to be the McDonalds,” he said.