Texas governor to court Haas Automation in pre-Valentine’s visit
Texas Gov. Rick Perry will visit Haas Automation, one of the largest employers in Ventura County, on Feb. 12 on a recruitment visit.
Haas spokesman Peter Zierhut told the Business Times that the Texas governor reached out to the Oxnard-based company. “It’s not something that we went out and arranged,” he said. “In fact, Gov. Perry contacted us without our asking to arrange a meeting. It was really unsolicited. As it’s been explained, this is a visit for Gov. Perry to talk to us about possibilities of Texas as a Haas site.”
The governor’s office did not immediately return a request for comment.
“We don’t have any plans to relocate — we don’t have any specific plans. But when the governor of Texas calls and he wants to have a conversation, we’re going to do that,” Zierhut said.
Haas Automation employs about 1,500 people in high-end manufacturing jobs in a 1-million-square-foot facility, Zierhut said. In mid-2012 it reached capacity at the Oxnard plant but has delayed its plans to expand to 1.2 million square feet in the midst of talks with the state of California regarding taxes and fees, he said.
Haas had 2011 revenue of $868 million, making it the third-largest private company in the Tri-Counties, behind CKE Restaurants, which has also been on the other end of a recruitment call from Perry.
In 2011, the Texas governor hosted executives from Carpinteria-based CKE, the parent company of Carl’s Jr., in Austin. CKE employs about 140 people in relatively high-paying corporate positions at its South Coast headquarters. CEO Andy Puzder has told the Business Times the firm is considering a move to the Lone Star State in 2015, when its lease on its Carpinteria headquarters expires.
In mid-2012, California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a bi-partisan effort to recruit and retrain businesses in the Golden State. The Gold Team initiative, spearheaded by Newsom and Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, R-Camarillo, seeks to stem the migration of California’s major employers to more business-friendly states.
“We are speaking with the lieutenant governor, and our hope is that we can stay in the state of California,” Zierhut said. “This is home for us and nobody wants us to leave. But that doesn’t stop us from considering all of the possibilities.”