OutBack powers up new space in Arlington

  • By M.L. Dehm HBJ Freelance Writer
  • Tuesday, March 19, 2013 11:36am

ARLINGTON — OutBack Power Technologies has been added to the list of businesses that have moved in at Arlington Advanced Manufacturing Park. The Arlington-based company that designs and manufactures advanced power electronics to support renewable energy systems began moving into their new home on March 18.

OutBack Power general manager Harvey Wilkinson expects the move to be completed by the end of April by which time the company also plans to hire a few more employees.

There were several reasons behind OutBack’s move.

“Number one was more space because we’re expanding,” Wilkinson said. The new location at the manufacturing park will allow the business to spread out to a total of 42,000 square feet, more room than they had at the nearby previous address.

The second reason for the move was an upgrade of the facilities and the addition of a dedicated space in which to offer their certificate training classes. All will now be in one location.

The company had their eye on the Arlington Advanced Manufacturing Park, the former Bayliner boat factory, as a potential location for some time before the actual deal was made, Wilkinson said. The company needed additional space and the plan was to try to stay in the Arlington area. It’s a convenient location for employees commuting both from north and south of Snohomish County and they wanted to retain their current employee base.

OutBack also liked the other tenants at the manufacturing park and the fact it met their high-tech type of requirements.

“We like the Arlington area as well,” Wilkinson said. “So we were happy to be able to find a space in Arlington.”

OutBack Power is known globally for its renewable energy power conversion products that can function both on the grid and in microgrid applications found in rural communities. The part they play in renewable energy systems often gets overlooked by the general public, yet is a vital link in the process.

“When people think solar, they think panels and all that is happening from that standpoint. But it goes well beyond that,” Wilkinson said.

The company’s products help convert energy at off-grid areas as diverse as children’s camps in England, rural Navajo communities in New Mexico, hospitals in Haiti and historic tea plantations in India.

The industry has gotten more competitive worldwide but the demand remains for this type of equipment and for firms that can provide products capable of reliability in remote areas or that can function under harsh environmental conditions.

“We’re into our second consecutive year of solid double-digit growth,” Wilkinson said. He credits part of that growth to the company’s partnership with Bellingham-based Alpha Technologies, a company dedicated to creating technologically advanced yet cost-effective power solutions for emerging markets.

OutBack has garnered kudos of its own. Pike Research named OutBack a leading vendor in the remote micro-grid market. Seattle Business magazine recently nominated the company as a candidate for its Emerging Manufacturer of the Year award.

Additionally, the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, a national renewable energy professional certification organization, has approved a fast track three-day curriculum to be offered to solar photovoltaic installers in the training room at OutBack’s new location.

“We’ll be running one to two classes per month to start,” said OutBack senior marketing manager Mark Cerasuolo. “We expect this will be an industry leading initiative. This is not just product training like manufacturers in our industry, and others, typically offer.”

The other news that has excited some interest in the local community is that OutBack hopes to hire additional workers in the near future. The company’s primary need is for engineers but there may be additional hiring in other areas as the year progresses.

Those interested in employment or training opportunities can go to www.outbackpower.com for announcements.

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