Updated September 26, 2012 at 7:53 p.m.
Steamboat Springs TIC Holdings, the national contracting firm that was founded in Steamboat Springs in 1974, will move its Steamboat personnel and operations to the Front Range by the end of 2013.
In a meeting Wednesday morning in Steamboat, company President and CEO Terry Carlsgaard told about 124 of TIC’s remaining local employees that the transfer of positions to the firm’s Englewood offices will continue through the fall and winter.
“As the company has grown ... we have come to realize that our needs for future development can be better met by locating in a city with greater access to regional and national air transportation, more affordable housing for an expanding employee population and other amenities required by a company of our size and scope,” Carlsgaard said in a news release issued Wednesday.
The transition of Steamboat employees has been ongoing for some time, but as recently as February, company spokesman Gary Bennett had said TIC would maintain its presence here even as further transfers took place. More than 100 local employees have been transferred elsewhere since 2005, according to the news release.
“As a business decision, it makes sense to get everyone under one roof, so to speak,” Bennett said Wednesday about the move. He said the company employs a number of people who have been based out of the Denver area for some time.
TIC Holdings was acquired by Kiewit in December 2008.
The news release stated the largest transfer of employees will take place in spring and summer 2013.
The TIC training facility that employs 11 people also will be moved to Denver, the release stated. The company expects the training facility transfer to take about 18 months but doesn’t have a location selected. The company’s 29 acres and about 86,000 square feet of building space in Steamboat is expected to be closed and ready to put on the market by April 2014, according to the release.
Bennett said some of the 124 men and women currently employed in Steamboat travel frequently while others are in office positions, but all have Steamboat as their base of operations.
The 124 TIC employees who call Steamboat home impact the area in a number of ways. For example, the employees who traveled frequently utilized Yampa Valley Regional Airport flights year-round. And TIC was one of only four large employers in the area to offer a full corporate match program for Routt County United Way, providing about $55,000 and 11 percent of the nonprofit’s fundraising total last year alone, according to Kelly Stanford, executive director of Routt County United Way.
“We’ll see the ripple effect of those lost wages,” said Tom Kern, CEO of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association.
“You’re going to see this gradual decline of its presence in the community,” Kern said, noting the drawdown has been ongoing. “It’s a slow process.”
Kern said the community has understood for some time that this was going to happen, and it understands there is nothing it can do about it except look forward.
Steamboat Springs City Manager Jon Roberts said the city approached TIC and Kewitt to ask if there was anything the city could do to persuade the company to stay. But “there were much bigger factors” than just Steamboat, Roberts said. “It’s a global economy.”
Roberts said the city will continue to engage in attracting businesses to Steamboat. The city streamlined its development process, he said, and continues to make sure that it’s a business-friendly environment.
Kern gave examples of other sectors that are growing in Steamboat, such as outdoor recreation-based companies. “Hopefully it can grow to replace” the jobs lost with TIC, he said.
While he acknowledged that issues such as air service, transportation and housing are sticking points for businesses looking at Steamboat, Kern said those also were priorities mentioned at last week’s Economic Summit that will receive attention going forward.
“I don’t think we’ll see revolutionary changes in near future,” he said. “But over time, we can make some improvements in those.”
“There’s always going to be a higher cost to operate out of a remote mountain community. The quality of life that we can provide those companies and their employees somewhat offsets those costs and is part of the mountain lifestyle,” Kern said.
Click here to read the full text of TIC's news release.
To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206 or email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com