Posted on May 24, 2012

Journal of Business
By Mike McLean
mikem@spokanejournal.com

Liberty Lake electronics maker will test, release products from new facility


SPOKANE, WA-Telect, Inc., the Liberty Lake-based developer and manufacturer of communications networking equipment, says it has opened a new operational development center in Spokane Valley.

Telect has an initial staff of 10 employees at the center, which occupies 15,000 square feet of leased space in the Spokane Business & Industrial Park, at 3808 N. Sullivan, says Stan Hilbert, Telect's executive vice president and chief financial officer.

The company says it will use the operational development center to test new products and release them into rapidly changing communications markets from a site within seven miles of its headquarters, rather than distributing them from the company's manufacturing plants in Texas and Mexico. Through the center, Telect also will look for ways to adapt its current product lines for broader markets.

The company says its newest product line is selling well. The line includes its proprietary nrgSMART technology, which has a common architecture that allows networkwide monitoring of individual components for power, temperature, and distribution status. The technology is especially suited for use in alternative energy, advanced battery, and wireless broadband applications, it says.

Telect says it's also planning strategic product releases this year to serve the telecom, data-center, and home-market segments.

Hilbert declines to disclose Telect's annual revenues, but says they've been in a growth mode in recent years, and the company expects continued growth this year.

Telect employs about 80 people at its Liberty Lake headquarters at 23321 E. Knox, just south of Interstate 90, where it occupies 27,000 square feet of floor space, Hilbert says. It moved there last year from a building a half-mile to the southwest in which it occupied 16,000 square feet of space.

Telect started production in Spokane Valley in 1982 and until about a decade ago, operated a substantial portion of its manufacturing facilities in the Inland Northwest.

"The Spokane region has long been our home, and with strong supply-chain roots, Telect is pleased to bring operation and development strength back to the region," says Wayne Williams, Telect's president and CEO, in a press release.

He says, though, that Telect doesn't plan to return its main manufacturing operations here.

Today, the company manufacturers its rack and enclosure products in Plano, Texas, and its power and connectivity products in Guadalajara, Mexico. In total, the company employs more than 500 people, Hilbert says.

The company employed about 2,300 people worldwide at its peak in 2000, just before the dot-com crash.