The latest planned expansion by Brammo Inc. into the Portland area should enable the electric motorcycle manufacturer to attract a larger pool of industry-savvy engineers, officials said.
The Ashland-based company matched a $50,000 state grant with nearly $1 million of its own money, and hopes to have a dozen engineers employed at the new research and development facility by the end of 2013, said Jeff Allen, executive director of the nonprofit electric vehicle support organization Drive Oregon.
"We're not in any way trying to lure them out of Ashland or Southern Oregon "… sometimes it's a challenge to get good talent down there," said Allen, whose group awarded the grant along with two others a week ago.
A Portland location should help Brammo vie for top engineers who might not be willing to move to the company's headquarters, which will soon be based in Talent, Brammo Director of Product Development Brian Wismann told Sustainable Business Oregon.
"We want to see them succeed, and we want to see them succeed in Oregon "… it's just as close for them to go to the Bay Area as it is to go to Portland, so we're really happy that they were looking at Oregon," Allen said. "Brammo is one of the most successful electric vehicle companies we have in this state."
Brammo officials were not available for comment Monday.
The company matched Oregon Drive's $50,000 grant with $970,000, Allen said, and is still searching for a location.
"That was pretty appealing for us "… a good leverage for the state's dollars," he said.
Drive Oregon also awarded $50,000 to electric unicycle maker Ryno Motors and $42,000 to EV4Oregon for development of vehicle charging station technology, Allen said.
Brammo founder and Chief Executive Officer Craig Bramscher has said he will have to relocate employees outside of the region in order to expand in Southern Oregon.
Brammo's current staff is expected to double to about 135 upon the company's upcoming move into the former Walmart building in Talent, he said, and mostly will be transferred from outside the community.
Reach reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-499-1470 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.