Laird officials cut ribbon on Warren facility


WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – For 65 years, Laird was a household name in Sharpsville, but company officials said they needed more space and Warren had the space to offer.

But the city also offered Laird a lot more. According to the city’s proposal last year, Warren will gift Laird 6 acres of land to expand, but it is contingent on a decision for expansion within three years.

The city also will waive tap-in fees associated with future expansion. The city also plans to waive $37,000 on net income tax withholding for new employees for five years.

Laird also got a new property tax abatement of 75 percent on new land valuation.

“Your return on the investment is delayed a little bit but we were getting nothing before, so it was an investment and an incentive package that was well worth the effort. We are going to see a long-term benefit from it,” Warren Mayor Doug Franklin said.

He made the remarks during Laird’s ribbon cutting on Thursday at its new facility on North River Road. It gives the company an extra 48,000-square feet of space, which Senior Vice President Rick Morse said will allow them to expand immediately.

Laird is the largest manufacturer of wireless remote control products for heavy equipment such as locomotives, rail car movers, ship loaders and overhead bridge cranes. On Thursday, Laird officials unveiled what they called the future of the business: A remote control bobcat, which is the first of its kind. It can go into places where it is too dangerous for human beings to go.

“Both the application of explosives or clearing of mines, we have our products being used on all kinds of vehicles that are remotely controlled to do those applications,” Laird engineer Rich Evans said.

About 160 people work at the plant in Warren and most of them transferred from the facility in Sharpsville. Officials expect that number to grow as the company grows.

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