BETA Technologies Lands in St. Albans; Hundreds of Tech Jobs to Come with Move
Source: Saint Albans Messenger
written by Josh Ellerbrock
BETA Technologies is coming to St. Albans.
The electric aerospace company signed a lease this month at the former Energizer battery plant to begin research, development and battery validation operations at the facility.
The move will help the company develop and validate battery packs able to meet Federal Aviation Administration standards to ensure the company’s electric aircraft are safe and reliable, according to a BETA press release sent out Wednesday.
“We are excited to establish our new battery facility in Franklin County and create more opportunities for the strong skilled workforce here,” BETA’s founder and CEO, Kyle Clark, said in a press release. “The site’s proximity to our aircraft final assembly and manufacturing facility, which is currently underway at the Burlington International Airport, is an important part of our plan for integrated operations in this phase of the business.”
The move is expected to bring hundreds of jobs to St. Albans over several years. Franklin County Industrial Development Corp. director Tim Smith said the company will move in phases to occupy the facility, and the expectation is that the growth will be gradual as the company continues to expand.
The other companies using the building, Belley Box, Peerless Clothing and Main Street Graphics, will be able to continue without interruption, Smith said.
The company initially announced its interest in the Energizer facility back in February. Smith said at the time that BETA was looking specifically at facilities at the plant that allow for battery testing, such as its dry room.
The Burlington-based aerospace company has been working on its mission to develop and fly battery-powered aircraft since 2017. It currently employs roughly 400 people at its current research and development facility located in South Burlington.
The company also has locations in Willison, Vt., Plattsburgh, N.Y. and Springfield, Ohio, but the company has stressed that it is dedicated to growing in Vermont, such as its expansion into St. Albans.
In the press release sent out by BETA, state officials praised the move.
“BETA is an exciting, cutting-edge company that we’re thrilled to see expand here in Vermont,” Gov. Phil Scott stated in the release. “I’m very optimistic about BETA’s future, and I think their innovations can change the world. I look forward to Vermont’s continued partnership with them as they grow and create good jobs across the state.”
“There is a lot of enthusiasm for BETA’s technology, and it means a lot to see an innovative company like this choose Franklin County to grow its business,” state Sen. Corey Parent stated in the release.
Two of its prototype planes, which use vertical takeoff, are still in testing stages until the FAA certifies their use. According to the company, the vehicles have a range of close to 300 miles, and they can carry 1,400 pounds of cargo, or six passengers.
The company expects to certify with the FAA by 2024.
The former 200,000 square-foot Energizer plant closed in September 2013 after Energizer Holdings shut it down due to a global reconstruction plan.