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New company, 30 jobs in the pipeline for Las Cruces

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Director of Operations Mike Watters was in Las Cruces Tuesday morning, Jan. 21, to announce that his company, Big Tuna USA, has signed a lease on a vacant 15,000-square-foot property on 7.5 acres at 1846 W. Amador Ave. and will open a manufacturing center there, creating 30 new jobs in Las Cruces during the next three years.

“We see a very bright future with this company,” Watters said during a news conference at Las Cruces City Hall. “We intend to use as many local resources as we can,” he said, adding that Big Tuna expects to expand its site to 40 acres by 2023.

“Big Tuna USA holds the exclusive rights to manufacture and distribute a high-density pipe product patented by Australian-based Long Pipes Ltd.,” the New Mexico Economic Development Department (NMEDD) said in a news release. “The product has a significantly larger internal diameter and a higher pressure rating than current market solutions. The initial target market for the piping is the oil and gas industry for process water-management systems,” the news release said.

Watters said Big Tuna looked at potential sites in other parts of New Mexico as well as in Colorado and west Texas before choosing Las Cruces.

Watters said Las Cruces’ workforce and business climate were among the reasons it was selected, along with city and state incentives. The company will invest $7.5 million of private money into the Las Cruces site, while the state has pledged $200,000 in economic assistance from its Local Economic Development Act (LEDA) closing fund and the City of Las Cruces has pledged $75,000 in municipal LEDA dollars, the NMEDD news release said.

Christine Logan of NMEDD’s Community, Business & Rural Development Team, based in Las Cruces, welcomed Big Tuna at the news conference. “We’re all here for you in the long term,” Logan told Watters.

Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance (MVEDA) President and CEO Davin Lopez said bringing Big Tuna to Las Cruces was a collaboration among MVEDA, which recruited Big Tuna to Las Cruces, the city and the state. “It really does take a community to put jobs in place,” Lopez said at the news conference, as he thanked Big Tuna for “putting their confidence in the community here. One of the things that makes Las Cruces different is we’re here for you long term,” Lopez said.

“Big Tuna expects to spend four months on construction and redevelopment at the Las Cruces site with a goal of producing 50-miles of pipe in 2020 and doubling that in 2021 and 2022,” NMEDD said. “The jobs will pay an average of $15.70 an hour.

“The company plans to initially target water-management systems in the United States and then progressively step into other pipeline markets, including low-pressure natural gas, non-potable water, and agricultural and municipal water-distribution services.”

Watters said Big Tuna has small offices in Denver and Houston, and will establish a website and corporate office in 2020.

For more information, visit gonm.biz and www.mveda.com.

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