Doing Business in Rio Grande Valley
Cascade Engineering Makes Huge Investment in Opening of New Plant in Brownsville
A cutting-edge company with a commitment to sustainability has brought hundreds of jobs to Brownsville. CK Technologies, a branch of Cascade Engineering, makes plastic-injected molded parts for large trucks and busses.
Cascade Engineering has a reputation for innovation and forward-thinking business approaches that are good for people, good for the environment and good for American business. They reject approaches to business that demand immediate profit, but instead embrace long-term investments that correspond with their values and that have profit potential.
“It all stems from a philosophy of doing business with a social and ecological responsibility,” said Fred Keller, founder and CEO of the West Michigan plastics manufacturer. “I don’t like the concept of giving back. Why did you take it in the first place…start with something that’s good, and then make it good business.”
Cascade Engineering has become famous for numerous groundbreaking innovations, including using recycled plastics in manufacturing, promoting business plans that are tied to bio-diversity and developing a water filtration system used in Third World countries.
“A lot of the problems around the world are associated with not having safe water. More than three million people die every year because of a lack of access to fresh water,” explained Christina Keller, daughter of Fred Keller and spokesperson for the BioSand water filter.
Recognizing the world’s need for fresh water, Cascade Engineering developed the BioSand water filter, as well as a business model that benefits the communities the filter is designed to serve. It is that approach that has made Cascade Engineering and its dozens of subsidiaries an attractive model for a new style of business, earning awards like Chrysler’s Technology Role Model Award, the White House’s Ron Brown Award for Corporate Leadership and many more.
The Brownsville plant – located at the former site of Titan Tire Corporation, which closed in 2011 – is a major addition to Cascade’s presence in the automotive and truck molding field, in a facility that both renews the local economy and provides enough space for future growth.
Starting in 1973 as a plastic injection molder with a handful of employees, Cascade Engineering has blossomed into a diversified manufacturer that employs more than 1,000 workers in more than a dozen branches of manufacturing of trash containers, furniture parts, auto parts, wind turbines, solar panels and the BioSand water filter.
CK Technologies specializes in creating single-unit plastic moldings that replace complex automotive parts. The Brownsville plant is currently producing bumpers for large trucks. The company’s move to Brownsville fits into the Brownsville Economic Development Council’s over-arching plan to attract companies in the auto industry.
“You don’t necessarily need a car manufacturer in your city to be a major player in the economy of automotive manufacturing,” said Gilbert Salinas, vice president of the Brownsville Economic Development Council. “For years we’ve been positioning businesses that have a role in the automotive industry, and that need a strategic location.”
With more than 100 direct jobs created by the plant, and hundreds more supported indirectly from CK’s presence, the company’s move to Brownsville heralds only bigger and better things for the city’s role in the automotive industry.
Proximity to Mexico’s automotive industry, a port of entry, international railway and motivated workforce proved the deciding factors that helped this sought after company with a conscience secure its future on the border by the sea.