Global Polymer breaks ground
By ELISA SAND, Staff Reporter
Global Polymer owners Todd Huntimer and Dan Palli were relieved and excited Wednesday (today) knowing that construction is under way for the company's new 60,000-sq.-ft. facility in Madison.
Global Polymer Owners Todd Huntimer (left) and Dan Palli stand with Lake Area Improvement Corporation Executive Director Julie Gross at the groundbreaking for the company's new Madison location on Wednesday (today).
Huntimer and Palli announced their intentions earlier this year to move from Arlington to Madison. The new facility will be located in the Lakeview Industrial Park east of Rosebud. The official groundbreaking on Wednesday featured a host of business representatives, supporters and family.
"We've never had this kind of support before," Huntimer said.
Huntimer and Palli started Global Polymer 19 years ago. Reflecting back, Huntimer said "everything has been a battle" in that time.
"We never had any allies," he said. "We looked at a lot of towns. Everyone wanted our business here (Madison). In the end, it was a pretty obvious choice."
Huntimer said he and Palli discussed relocating Global Polymer when Arlington officials turned down the company's request to rezone an adjacent piece of property in order to expand in Arlington.
Huntimer said the company will save quite a bit in operating costs by moving to Madison, where electric rates are lower, and they look forward to drawing employees from Madison and the surrounding area.
Lake Area Improvement Corporation Executive Director Julie Gross said this project has been an example of teamwork to bring this company to Madison. Huntimer specifically thanked Heartland Consumers Power district for its role in the project.
"Heartland played a big part," Huntimer said.
Gross said Huntimer and Palli are true examples of entrepreneurs who grew their business from its start in a garage to a company that now employs 135 people.
"They will be a great asset," she said.
Heartland General Manager Mike McDowell said the first thing economic developers look for is a strong, growing company.
"This company has nowhere to go but straight up, and we are fortunate to have them in Madison," McDowell said.
Mayor Gene Hexom also provided a warm welcome to Global Polymer.
"Thank you Global Polymer for choosing Madison for your growing business," Hexom said. "Let's get to work and move some dirt."
Sayre Associates engineer Doug Hoy commended Madison for moving forward with installing the necessary infrastructure on lots so that they were ready for construction.
"A lot of forward thinking went in by the city," Hoy said. "I can't think of a better setting with visible, buildable lots coming into the city."
Dave Bertelson of Mills Construction said he has worked with Huntimer and Palli on a number of projects and added that the business was both innovative and clean.
Palli said contractors are hoping to have footings in place in two weeks, and Huntimer said the project should be completed in 10 months. The building will feature a 60,000-sq.-ft. space for manufacturing plus additional office space.
Once completed, Palli and Huntimer said that the transition to the new facility will take place fairly quickly.
"We'll be building presses over the winter and move them immediately," Palli said.
In addition to Global Polymer, Palli and Huntimer operate a second business called Slydog, which sells apparel and after-market skis and wheels for snowmobiles. Customers are able to custom-order products through its website (slydogskis.com).
Palli said they attempted to operate that business out of a separate building, but they discovered quickly that it didn't work as well.
Both men are former PPD employees, and Palli said Global Polymer uses the same material for the parts it produces, but sells to different markets.