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Defense clothing manufacturer expands in Vermont

Gov. Jim Douglas congratulated AirBoss, a manufacturer of rubber protective gear, after they were authorized for over $243,000 in Vermont Employment Growth Incentives (VEGI). The news was announced Sept. 25. AirBoss plans to locate a manufacturing facility in Milton and create over 30 jobs over the next two years.

In April, Douglas and a team of local, state and federal economic development officials met with AirBoss executives to outline a package of supports and incentives. In May, the company received Initial Approval of VEGI incentives. The state also committed employee training funds through the Vermont Training Program and help from the Procurement Technical Assistance Center. And at its recent meeting, the Vermont Economic Progress Council gave final approval to a VEGI application from AirBoss Defense for incentives totaling up to $243,279.

AirBoss-Defense is a world leader in the design, manufacture and sale of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) protective wear, including gloves, footwear and respiratory protection (gas masks). The company had considered several locations for their capacity expansion, including a facility in North Carolina.

AirBoss made the decision to locate in Vermont and will open a 20,000 square foot facility, reutilizing a building in the Catamount Industrial Park. The company will invest close to $2 million in equipment and renovations and expects to start preliminary packing and shipping from the facility late this year. By early 2010, AirBoss intends to have four injection presses manufacturing CBRN gloves, creating between 20-30 jobs by 2011.

Under reforms proposed by Douglas in 2006 and passed by the General Assembly, the VEGI economic incentives are authorized based on potential job creation and capital investments that must occur before the company earns the incentives and then the company receives incentive installments over a period of years.

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