North Plains-based machining company Valley Machine plans to expand the size of its current facility and double its workforce.

Currently, Valley Machine employs around 40 people in “high-paying technological jobs,” according to Tony Spiering, who founded the company in 1992 and served as its president until selling it to industrial conglomerate Arch Global Precision. With the expansion, Valley Machine could employ upwards of 80 workers.

Spiering, who maintained ownership of Valley Machine’s land and buildings following the sale, cooperated with Arch Global in the expansion because he considers it a good opportunity for North Plains.

“This is a model that provides jobs for people to exist in the community,” said Spiering. “People can actually work and live in the same area.”

Russ Sheldon, president of the North Plains Chamber of Commerce, called the expansion an important step for North Plains. "It's a win when you get to retain a business with these good-paying jobs," he said.

The expansion is currently in the planning and permitting stage, which Spiering said can take upwards of six months to complete. Without any complications, he said, the expansion should be completed in April 2017.

Andy Spiering, Valley Machine’s general manager, corroborated that the expansion is an investment in the North Plains community.

“We’re keeping the jobs local,” he said, “and bringing new ones in to North Plains.”

He also praised the area’s several standout machining and industrial programs, including PCC’s machining courses and Glencoe High School’s robotics program, which he considers especially rigorous.

“It’s a great program,” he said. “We’ve hired kids from it before.”

Sheldon agreed that North Plains has a wealth of skilled labor.

"There are folks who are skilled here," he said, which is one reason why North Plains is an appealing destination for businesses. Other benefits, he said, include "available land, the proximity to the metro area, no commute."

Ultimately, said Tony Spiering, the investment in Valley Machine is an investment in North Plains.

“It’s about building a community where people can work and live ... socialize.”

Sheldon echoed the sentiment.

"The vitality of any community relies on its businesses," he said. "Our small businesses are our backbone, and we have growth on the way."