Applied Materials expands to former Shopko
As technology advances and global demand for semiconductors increases, Applied Materials’ Kalispell branch expands into its third facility in Flathead after recently purchasing the former 100,000 square foot Shopko from Evergreen to expand the production.
With more than 600 employees in Flathead Valley alone, the expansion will add 200 more, primarily in the manufacturing sector, and bring the total area to 350,000 in the three buildings.
“Semiconductors are more important to the global economy now more than at any time, impacting all areas of the economy,” said Brian Aegerter, general manager of the Montana site. “Companies are rethinking engineering and consumers are rethinking (products). These trends are irreversible.
The semiconductor plating maker has experienced significant growth over the past 18 months, adding nearly 8,000 employees across all of its branches, including facilities in Austin and Singapore, shipping to companies in the United States, in Europe and Asia.
“The demand for semiconductors is off the charts,” Aegerter said. “We are trying to evolve Applied Materials so that we can take advantage of this demand and empower our customers. “
Amid a nationwide staff shortage, Applied Materials officials are scrambling to recruit 150 manufacturing positions, with the remaining 50 ranging from engineers to procurement logistics. The company offers competitive salaries starting around $ 17 an hour for entry-level manufacturing positions.
“Our first tactic is to be the best place to work not just from a pay perspective but from a benefits perspective,” Aegerter said.
In addition to a benefit package, the company also offers employee stock purchase plans and managers strive to provide housing and childcare in the valley while maintaining employing to recruit Flathead Valley Community College students and high school students.
Aegerter attributes Kalispell’s high quality of life and outdoor recreation as a major draw for the workforce.
Mary McLoy, Human Resources Business Partner, said Applied Materials continues to strive to fill approximately 80 positions at its two existing local campuses, primarily for manufacturer technicians and supply chain logistics, and that the the company regularly hires 15 to 30 employees each month.
“We have been very fortunate to hire engineers,” said Aegerter. “Mechanical, electrical, software and process engineers. Some are from Montana and many are from areas like Texas, Boise, and the Northwest. “
Applied Materials will continue to host regular recruiting events in January.
“Our goal is to attract the most diverse talent and to be a company that values culture and diversity,” said McLoy.
Some employees at Kalispell’s two current campuses will begin the transition to the new location in March, gradually increasing over the next 18 months.
The old Shopko, which closed in 2019, was an ideal building for manufacturing, Aegerter said, due to its huge open floor plan with high ceilings to house equipment, some of which reach 14 feet. Teams are busy completing construction and preparing the facility to operate a high volume of electricity while improving energy efficiency.
According to the Forbes Green Growth 50 list, Applied Materials has cut emissions by 16% while gaining 39% in profits since 2017.
For more information, visit www.appliedmaterials.com.