East Penn Manufacturing, a leading producer of lead-acid batteries, has helped power the Berks County economy since 1946. In fact, East Penn is currently the county’s largest employer. And it was named one of Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For.” But even such a reliable company as East Penn needed a boost when it contemplated expansion plans.
East Penn’s headquarters and manufacturing facilities in Lyon Station cover more than 490 acres. The company claims to have the largest, most modern single-site battery manufacturing facility in the world. But it wanted to be even larger.
According to Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell, the state is investing $21.4 million in the first phase of East Penn’s expansion plans. This investment will leverage $108 million in private investment toward the $130 million project. The project is expected to create at least 500 new jobs within three years and preserve 4,828 existing positions.
State grants, loans, and tax credits will help East Penn expand its waste water treatment facility, which will allow for the expansion of its entire operation. The first phase of the project includes construction of a new battery plant, a new distribution facility and related infrastructure. The company will also expand its existing battery plants and health and safety center.
Part of the incentives package is a $6,416,800 loan from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority. These funds will be used for environmental cleanup. An iron ore pit will be capped and contaminated ground will undergo remediation. This work will ready the site for construction of a new battery manufacturing facility.
East Penn’s products serve the commercial, marine, automotive, telecommunications, industrial and stationary markets. As a result of East Penn’s expansion, even more of these products will come from Berks County. East Penn founder and chairman DeLight Breidegam said, “Since the company was founded, we have invested heavily not only buildings and machinery, but in the company’s most valuable resource — the people of East Penn.”