Our View: TIC’s presence is important for Steamboat | SteamboatToday.com

Our View: TIC’s presence is important for Steamboat

The Industrial Company, better known locally as TIC, has been one of Steamboat's most important private-sector businesses for several decades. But, similar to angst about the future of locally based SmartWool after it was acquired in recent years by Timberland and then VF Corp., TIC's long-term status in the community has been unclear since it merged with construction giant Kiewit Corp. in September 2008.

Fortunately, TIC's commitment to Steamboat became a bit clearer recently with formal acknowledgement that it plans to maintain a strong presence here into the foreseeable future. That's great news for the community.

TIC's sizable campus in west Steamboat is home to an office building as well as a training facility that brings in TIC employees from across the globe. Those offices are a bit less crowded these days, as the company's Steamboat workforce has shrunk from a high of about 220 a couple of years ago to 145 as of January 2012. That 33 percent decrease is substantial, but news of a sustained presence here at any level is much better than the eventual phase-out of TIC's Steamboat operation that many of us feared.

In a news article published in Friday's issue of the Steamboat Today, TIC spokesman Gary Bennett said the company's Steamboat site will remain its primary training center for TIC craftsmen and management. That means hundreds of employees will continue to be flown into Steamboat each year to stay in our hotels, eat in our restaurants and shop in our stores during their training stays.

Steamboat also will again play host to the company's annual summer conference. This is despite TIC's planned opening later this month of a 74,000-square-foot corporate headquarters south of Denver. The facility will include a training center, fitness center and cafeteria.

For all the talk about the importance of tourism and location-neutral businesses to our economy — and they are indeed important — it's easy to overlook the significance of companies and organizations like TIC, Peabody Energy, Hayden Station, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., Yampa Valley Medical Center, SmartWool, ACZ Laboratories, Big Agnes/Honey Stinger and others that offer the types of jobs and salaries that allow professionals to live and, in many cases, raise families in the Yampa Valley.

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TIC has been a Steamboat Springs fixture since 1974, remaining here long after it probably made sense for an international construction company to be based out of a remote community in Northwest Colorado. But thanks to TIC founder Ron McKenzie, the company remained here and continued to grow and provide opportunity for hundreds of management-level employees and their families. The company's contribution to the community and the local economy has been substantial throughout the decades, and we're pleased that it will continue to be integral to Steamboat for years to come.

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