Mission leaders welcomed a $30 million investment in the community with the ribbon cutting ceremony for Royal Technologies on Wednesday evening.
Owner Jim Vander Kolk did double-duty, speaking at the Mission Chamber of Commerce’s Buenos Tardes luncheon earlier in the day. At the luncheon, Vander Kolk emphasized he and members of the area have mutual values of integrity and trust.
“I always say an organization isn’t about brick and mortar,” he said. “It’s about people. It’s the people that drew us to this region, and it’s people that are restoring in us enthusiasm for this region.”
Vander Kolk started his company in west Michigan in 1987 with just three machines and a few employees. Today, the company has more than 300 machines in six locations, including the more than 300,000 square foot facility that opened up in Mission over the summer.
The business owner said he started growing outside of Michigan about eight years ago. He was brought to the Valley at the request of customers based in Mexico and San Antonio. Royal Technologies provides parts for a variety of products, from automobiles to office chairs.
When he came to the Valley, Vander Kolk met the owner of Hi-Tech Plastics, which soon started distributing to Royal Technologies.
Alex Meade, president of the Mission Economic Development Corporation, said Hi-Tech Plastic came to the city for help purchasing a crane for a plastic injection machine to earn Royal Technologies’ business. That $50,000 investment led to millions more, he said.
Less than a year later, Royal Technologies bought out Hi-Tech Plastics, and Vander Kolk started looking at building a new factory down the street.
He said he was impressed with how straight-forward the Mission and McAllen economic development corporations were, and he “never felt high-pressure salesmanship or slick willy sales.”
He originally planned to construct a $15 million facility, but the project ballooned to $30 million as the company gained more business.
Previously, Vander Kolk has emphasized his company is not just about making money. He wants to be a good neighbor and member of the community. Vander Kolk plans to promote education and invite students to tour the factory. The company is working with South Texas College to teach some of its employees English.
Vander Kolk said he has lofty goals and not thoughts of failure in a community “driven by faith and integrity.”
“Yes, we made a $30 million investment here. We’re not stopping,” he said, inviting attendees at the ribbon cutting ceremony to tour the factory. “We hope by the end of the year to bring at least another $20 million worth of business into the facility.”