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Released by: Board of Supervisors
For Immediate Release

Collaboration between PG&E, Sonoma County Economic Development Board, and Local Manufacturer Retains 30 Local Jobs

Empire West Inc. is the first Sonoma County business to qualify for the new economic development program

Santa Rosa, CA  –  August 26, 2014  –  A collaborative effort between Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), the Sonoma County Economic Development Board (EDB), and Empire West Inc. will keep 30 local jobs in Sonoma County. The Graton based manufacturer of Ceilume brand ceiling tiles is the first business in Sonoma County to qualify for the new PG&E Economic Development Rate, enabling Empire West to stay local.

Ed DavisEmpire West has faced increasing competition from manufacturers in China, India, and central Europe, and has struggled with high overhead costs, particularly electricity. Faced with these pressures, Empire West President Ed Davis commented “When other states and regions began courting us, we had no choice but to listen.”

Earlier this year, PG&E instituted the new Economic Development Rate program, which provides a 12 percent rate reduction over a five-year period and makes it possible for employers to keep, expand, or launch new operations within California. After learning of the new program, EDB staff quickly identified Empire West as a qualifying candidate and reached out to PG&E officials. Together, the EDB and PG&E worked closely with Ed Davis to understand his energy needs and assist him in creating a compelling application for the competitive program.

“This partnership between PG&E and the EDB is a great example of public-private collaboration that supports the local economy and working families in Sonoma County,” said County Board of Supervisors Chair David Rabbitt. “Empire West provides much-needed employment opportunities for Sonoma County residents,” echoed Fifth District Supervisor Efren Carrillo, whose district represents Empire West Inc. “I’m thrilled this innovative program was able to keep a long-time employer in the county and retain dozens of jobs in our community.”

“Every box of Ceilume ceiling tiles we ship has a label that reads, ‘Made with Pride in Graton, California,’” Davis said. “Thanks to help from PG&E and Sonoma County’s Economic Development Board, we can continue labeling our boxes that way for years to come.”

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Contact Information

County Administrator's Office
County of Sonoma
Address
575 Administration Drive
Room 104A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.464626, -122.725441