DAYVILLE, CT USA - (June 2020) - Ryan Dandeneau, the president of Putnam Plastics, said it can be expensive to do business in Connecticut, but he opted to keep his company’s newest expansion local.
“We have a big footprint here,” he said.
Putnam Plastics will begin expanding its manufacturing capabilities with a new 57,000-square-foot expansion next to the existing headquarters. An additional 250 new jobs are expected to be made available.
Dandeneau said the project will break ground in two or three weeks and should be completed by the middle of 2021.
Jill St. Clair, the economic development director for Killingly, said it’s important to see a business staying in town and expanding.
“That’s just like a gold medal,” she said.
Dandenaeau said the company started work on the project late last year, but COVID-19 pushed caused delays.
“We wanted to pull the trigger a little earlier, but we wanted to see how COVID was going to affect us,” he said. “Luckily, knock on wood, so far, we are in a pretty good spot.”
The new building will have some offices, but will mostly be used for manufacturing space. Dandeneau said the new space adds on to what the company already has with a 98,000-square-foot facility in the Killingly Business Park, and another, older 38,000-square-foot facility nearby.
In recent months COVID-19 has impacted businesses, and Putnam Plastics is no exception. As Putnam Plastics is a medical device manufacturer, officials have been working on products related to COVID-19, including diagnostic tools and catheters.
“The combination of those two put us in a position to be somewhat COVID-proof,” Dandeneau said.
Putnam Plastics has also been monitoring its own exposure to the virus, including taking factory workers’ temperatures, keeping a closed facility, and having personnel work from home if possible.
Dandeneau said business has been a net positive during the pandemic and is still expecting double-digit growth this year. However, business has slowed down in other areas, including products for use in elective procedures.
“They’re trying to free up hospitals for COVID patients,” he said.
Even though the unemployment rate in Killingly, according to the Connecticut Department of Labor, is 9.5%, slightly more than the state average of 9.3%, Dandeneau said it’s been difficult to get all the jobs filled, even through working multiple channels, including social media and radio. The company has more than 20 positions open.
“We’re hiring people, and you’d think it’d be easier because there’s a lot of people unemployed right now,” he said.
St. Clair said it would be a great opportunity for people in town.
“A foundation in our community, in economic development, is livable wage jobs, so we’re very excited they chose to not only remain in Killingly, but expanding in Killingly,” she said.
If there is another wave of COVID-19, Dandeneau said his company is in a strong position.
“It’s an expensive project, but we need it to continue to grow,” he said.