Thursday, August 29, 2013

Post Falls-based Ground Force expands overseas

Mining truck outfitter's foreign growth said fueling jobs here
By Mike McLean
Of the Journal of Business

Ground Force Worldwide started production recently at its new facility near Lima, Peru, pictured above.
Ground Force Worldwide started production recently at its new facility near Lima, Peru, pictured above.
—Photo courtesy of Ground force Worldwide
Ground Force Worldwide LLC, the Post Falls-based parent company of Ground Force Manufacturing LLC and Underground Force LLC, has launched manufacturing operations on two other continents and is looking to expand to a fourth, says Ron Nilson, the company's president and CEO.

Most recently, Ground Force has begun production in South America at a plant near Lima, Peru, and, in coming months, it plans to begin production in Australia, Nilson says.

Ground Force Worldwide's first foreign expansion was in 2011 in the United Kingdom, where the company is producing water tankers and fuel lube trucks at the Caterpillar plant in the northern England town of Peterlee. Those trucks are then sold in European and Russian markets.

Altogether, Ground Force Worldwide has 50 workers in its foreign facilities, including contract employees, and expects that number to grow to 100 within a year, Nilson says.

The foreign production also creates jobs in nearby North Idaho, Nilson says, where many vital components are still manufactured for all of Ground Force's products, safeguarding the company's patents and trademarks.

The company employs more than 200 workers in North Idaho at its Ground Force and Underground Force facilities in Post Falls and Plummer.

Ground Force is an original equipment manufacturer for Peoria, Ill.-based Caterpillar Inc.'s mining and construction equipment division. The company fabricates and installs specialized equipment for some of the world's largest support vehicles, including fuel and lube trucks, water tankers, explosive-delivery trucks, and mechanic-service trucks.

Its sister company, Underground Force, outfits similar trucks that are scaled smaller to support underground mining operations.

"We're continuing to grow domestically and internationally," Nilson says. The company's annual revenues have soared a lofty 75 percent in each of the last three years, charting sales in more than 45 countries, he asserts.

Domestically, the company's two Post Falls plants, located at 5650 and 6001 E. Seltice Way, occupy a total of 150,000 square feet of floor space in nine buildings.

It also has leased a 55,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Plummer formerly occupied by Echelon LLC.

Nilson founded Ground Force in 2000, when he bought the assets of Aresco Inc., another Post Falls mining equipment manufacturer. Ground Force Worldwide was formed as the parent company in 2011, when Nilson launched Underground Force.

Read entire story here: Journal of Business

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Silver Valley Economic Development Corporation: Broadband for Rural Development

Posted: 22 Aug 2013 12:21 PM PDT
Over the past several months we have all been talking about broadband and what it means to rural development.  In particular, we have been talking about what broadband is available in the Silver Valley, where there are areas of improvement needed, and how can we move forward to improve services.

The day you have all been waiting for is finally here. Bill Gillis of Vision 360, the consulting firm for the LinkIdaho project will be presenting the results from the Broadband Survey at the Idaho Department of Labor in Kellogg.   If you have not received a copy of the analyzed survey please contact me at your convenience.  Bill will address survey results and his thoughts on Next Steps. 

If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact the Silver Valley Economic Development Corporation director, Vince Rinaldi via email or phone (208) 752-5511.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Be sure and check out the SVEDC calendar to stay up to date with upcoming events.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Berg Co. awarded $13.5 million Pentagon contract

Berg Co. awarded $13.5 million Pentagon contract

Valley company to build efficient combat shelters

By Jim Camden,(509)879-7461

A Spokane Valley company will receive a $13.5 million Pentagon contract to produce energy-efficient “combat outposts” to use in Afghanistan and other remote places U.S. troops are sent.

The Berg Co., which has been producing tents for some 130 years, is making lightweight shelters,kitchens and hygiene centers that cut energy use by up to 50 percent and water use by more than 70 percent.

The contract comes from the Defense Department’s Rapid Innovation Fund, which was set up in 2011 to buy and deploy more efficient shelters to combat forces in Afghanistan, Africa and Turkey.

Read more here: 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Silver Valley Economic Development Update: LinkIDAHO

LinkIDAHO is happy to announce the launch of the Idaho Mobile Broadband Test Project.  For this project we are partnering with Mobile Pulse, a mobile connectivity analytics company, to ensure the most accurate measurement and mapping of state mobile broadband networks across the state.  The results of the data collected from this project will give state planners the information needed to help execute cost-effective and productive mobile broadband strategies for our state. 

This project offers two levels of opportunity for participation.  
1.       LinkIDAHO Test App – available for download from the Apple Store or Google Play store.  Once loaded to a device this app will run periodic performance tests in the background and send the results to a secure site for analysis. This information, which is collected in a manner that ensures that the privacy of the user and device, will be used to help validate the speed and connection capabilities of mobile broadband vendors while also giving state planners insight into a wide range of operational issues.  Users get the added bonus of being able to check their speed and connectivity on the fly.

2.       ID Advance Test App - available in a limited quantity for download by invitation from the LinkIDAHO test coordinator.  This app will be used for more targeted testing and offers the user an opportunity to become more actively involved in the project.  To find out more about this option contact Paul Reyes at 

You can learn more about this project and other broadband work being done in Idaho at  Be part of this important project by downloading the free LinkIDAHO Test app from your app store today!

For more information, please contact:
Paul E. Reyes
TIM Framework Coordinator
Idaho Geospatial Office
Idaho Department of Administration

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Aerospace Training Program Starts at North Idaho College

North Idaho College is assembling the components it needs to launch aerospace manufacturing and maintenance programs starting next month under a $3 million federal grant, says Kassie Silvas, NIC's director of aerospace and outreach.

The goal of the Coeur d'Alene-based community college is to enroll a total of at least 520 students in the program during the three-year grant period and to qualify them for high-wage jobs in the regional aerospace industry, Silvas says.

"I can't think of another program like this that will recruit, mentor, and help students get jobs," she asserts.

The grant will pay for course development, instructors, supplies, and program administration and support staff, Silvas says. The school has secured an ideal site near the Coeur d'Alene Airport and has hired the initial staff for the first phase of the programs, she says.

The aerospace programs will be based in a 12,000-square-foot facility, which NIC recently leased and has dubbed its Aerospace Center of Excellence, at 1845 W. Dakota, in Hayden.

Original Press Release on Sept. 19th 2012:

North Idaho College has been awarded a $2.97 million grant intended to create an aerospace center to meet the workforce demands of the aerospace industry in North Idaho and help veterans and displaced workers in need of retraining.

The grant is expected to create 520 new jobs by 2015, according to grant application projections. It will have a $28.8 million annual impact to the local economy with average job salary estimates of $43,500, according to the Idaho Department of Labor.
Tim Komberec, CEO and president of Empire Airlines, said he considers the grant announcement a “watershed event.”

“This is something where we are going to look back in a few years and see the jobs and opportunities created by this grant and know that this was the catalyst for all of that,” Komberec said.

NIC is the only college in Idaho to receive grant funding from the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative, which was designed to promote skills development and employment opportunities. The U.S. Department of Labor is implementing the $500 million program in coordination with the U.S. Department of Education.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for NIC to work with the emerging aerospace industry in North Idaho,” said NIC President Joe Dunlap. “This grant demonstrates NIC’s commitment to supporting the needs of business and industries as well as supporting economic initiatives in North Idaho.”

Plans for the grant funding include the creation of an aerospace center of excellence in North Idaho, which is intended to provide credit and non-credit training to individuals in aerospace related fields. The core curriculum will be in the areas of general aviation, airframe composites and non-destructive testing, as well expanding NIC’s current machining program. The proposal will target Trade Adjustment Assistance workers, displaced workers needing retraining, veterans and the general student population.

The three-year grant period begins on Oct. 1. NIC will begin planning immediately and anticipates offering courses by fall 2013. NIC is partnering with the Idaho Aerospace Alliance – a newly formed nonprofit based in Hayden, Lewis-Clark State College and the Idaho Department of Labor.

Learn more about the grant program at

For More Information

NIC Grants Coordinator Sara Fladeland, (208) 769-7750 or