This month GM Nameplate, Seattle’s largest manufacturing employer, announced that it will keep its headquarters and primary manufacturing location along 15th Avenue West between Queen Anne and Magnolia. This is good news for Seattle, as it keeps 500 jobs in the City. Despite its name, GM Nameplate is not affiliated with the General Motors Corporation. It is a custom manufacturing company that makes “brand identity and user interface components, from labels to touch screens, overlays to complex membrane switch assemblies, injection molded bezels to insert mold decorated interfaces”. It also makes nameplates for some automobiles, but the GM in its name comes from the initials of the company founders. The company has eight manufacturing facilities, in California, North Carolina, Oregon, Seattle, Canada, China, and Singapore. It has been headquartered in Seattle since 1954, but sold its Seattle properties two years ago and announced that it was looking for a new location where it could consolidate operations and expand. It was speculated that it was looking to move to Kent and was unhappy with Seattle’s business climate. Since this announcement, Seattle’s Office of Economic Development (OED) worked hard to identify the company’s concerns and to find a new location in Seattle. This month the company announced that it had decided on its new home – and bought back the property they had sold two years ago. This is good news for jobs for Seattle; good news for the employees and our transportation system, since they will remain in an area easily accessed by public transit; and a shot in the arm for our continuing work to improve Seattle’s economy. We know that Seattle is a great place to do business – a great workforce, a healthy community, and a competent government. And many national studies have validated that belief. But there are still legitimate questions about our business climate, often fueled by the length of time it takes us to process permits and make decisions. We are working hard to provide the kind of responsive government that makes decisions in a timely manner and assists those who want to do business in Seattle. At the same time, we are also committed to protecting and enhancing the great neighborhoods and environment that are key parts of our strength as an economy and a community. The decision by GM Nameplate suggests that we are making progress – and I called the President of the company to thank him for staying in Seattle and offer to listen to any future concerns he might have. Congratulations and thanks for the good work of our staff at OED! PS: In more good news for Seattle, “TechFlash” reports that social game maker Zynga (which created FarmVille and Mafia Wars) will open an office in Pioneer Square. Not clear how many jobs will be involved, but this is a boost both for Seattle and for Pioneer Square.
March 24, 2011January 6, 2023By Richard Conlin