Engineering firm says new location better for many employees and customers

NAPA - Bay-Tec Engineering, a designer and maker of control systems for automated manufacturing that started in the city in 1982, will be moving to Fairfield this month. Bay-Tec's 50 employees in Napa will relocate to 5130 Fulton Drive in Fairfield by the end of this month, according to Controller Kyle Downs.

The company's lease at 535 Airpark Road in south Napa was expiring, and Bay-Tec found the rent to be a little cheaper in Fairfield when it signed a lease in November with Castle Management Co. of San Ramon for 17,500 square feet in a new commercial condominium development. However, the main reason for the move was convenience.

"It's more convenient for our work force, probably 40 percent to 50 percent are coming from Solano County, and for our customers to get to the 680/80 junction instead of coming to Napa," Mr. Downs said. "Even with the new lanes on Highway 12, it's still a bad commute."

The new location has about 2,500 more square feet than the company's current Napa location. The additional warehouse space will allow for more room to build control panels. Though the company has been touched by the economic slowdown, it still has opportunities for orders, according to Mr. Downs.

"A lot of our customers are Valero and other refining companies, and they are still spending on capital projects," he said. "Bayer and Genentech and our bigger customers are still spending money." One customer that spent even more on Bay-Tec was Emerson Electric. In December the company acquired it and made it an independent control-system integrator in the Austin-based Emerson Process Management division.

Bay-Tec has 68 employees total, including about a dozen in Brea in Southern California and a few in an office in Portland, Ore. The company was included on the Business Journal's Best Places to Work list in 2008 for the third straight year.

The city of Fairfield's six-person economic development team actively helped Bay-Tec through the process of obtaining permits for its new space when approached by Bay-Tec's agent, Graden Travis of Cornish & Carey. Last year the city actively was involved with creating or attracting 1,100 net new jobs, including Trans Bay Steel, which relocated from the former Napa Pipe plant to the Cordelia area of the city early last year, according to economic development specialist Charles Ching.

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