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Aerosol manufacturer locates at industrial park
"The Port of Bremerton has acquired a tenant that just might corner the Pacific Northwest's otherwise nonexistent market on aerosol products.There is no one else out here who does this, explained Mike Flanagan, co-owner and sales manager at Westech Aerosol Corp. There's a real niche out here for these products. Right now, industries that buy these products buy them from the southeast, and because they are shipped so far, they pay a lot of money for them.Flanagan said the plan is for Westech to manufacture spray products for industrial use and distribute them to local, national and international clients. Westech engineers, he said, are expected to develop such products as penetrating oils. Put another way, Westech could make products similar to WD40 that could be sold to local manufacturers, Washington State Ferries, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard or even the local recreational vehicle industry.Talks are underway with prospective clients in the Northwest, but Westech already has several customers elsewhere, Flanagan said.Though aerosol tends to be a dirty word among many environmentally savvy citizens, Westech says area residents shouldn't be worried. That's because the aerosol industry, according to Westech, can't buy anymore the freons that cause ozone deterioration.We are going to be using propane in our aerosol products, which is generally regarded as environmentally responsible and safe, said Westech engineer David Carnahan. The cooking spray, Pam, for instance, uses a propane base.Westech is basically a spin-off from an Atlanta, Ga.-based company purchased by ITW in 1998. After the buy-out, Flanagan, who was national sales manager, and Carnahan, then head chemist and engineer, decided to strike out on their own. They developed Westech with their eyes on the Northwest, otherwise unconquered territory in the aerosol industry.Flanagan said he and Carnahan looked at sites in Kent and Bremerton last November, but knew they were at home at the port's Olympic View Industrial Park.We were looking for a free-standing building with loading docks that was within an hour's range of Seattle, Flanagan said. Plus, when we discovered Bremerton had a free-trade zone, that factored into our decision.Before Westech and the port signed a five-year lease agreement with an additional five-year renewal option, port property manager Tim Thomson performed a series of background checks on the company.I made a few calls back to the Atlanta headquarters and talked with the businesses that serviced the company and didn't raise any issues of concern, Thomson said.According to the tenancy agreement, the port will receive $4,630 a month for use of an 11,000 square-foot building in the industrial park.Thomson said Westech is expected to provide 20 new jobs.This is a perfect match and an ideal situation, he said. At the port, we try to utilize property to generate business and jobs. (Westech) is just occupying one building on one acre of land and developing quite a few new jobs."