Kel-Tec CNC Industries has acquired a 33,000-square-foot facility in Rock Springs, Wyo.—an expansion to augment its 125,000-square-foot operation in Cocoa, Fla. and increase production capacity. It also bolsters the economic forecast for an area of southwestern Wyoming deeply steeped in a coal-mining industry facing an uncertain regulatory future.
The gun company’s operations are slated to open this fall, and the move will eventually bring another 250 jobs to the area, according to Kayla McDonald, economic development specialist for the Sweetwater (County) Economic Development Coalition (SEDC). “We think this is going to spearhead a lot more growth in the manufacturing sector,” McDonald told The Cowboy State Daily.
“I am thrilled to be a part of this new adventure in our story,” said Adrian Kellgren, Director of Industrial Production. “Wyoming has a rich history as part of the American frontier and it’s fitting for our brand, being that we constantly explore the limits of performance and design, to expand out here.”
Rock Springs is located in Wyoming’s Sweetwater County, with a 2020 U.S. Census-reported population of 42,722. It’s also home of Western Wyoming Community College, which offers a variety of programs specializing in CNC machining. “They actually have the exact model of a CNC machine that Kel-Tec is planning on placing in the facility in Rock Springs,” McDonald told the reporter. She noted the company plans to work closely with the school to recruit staff members and train students.
“This is a milestone for Kel-Tec CNC Industries,” said company Director of Sales and Marketing Derek Kellgren. “While steady expansion isn’t anything new to us, this is our first expansion into another state and we couldn’t be more excited about advancing our innovative designs and production processes in Wyoming.”
The company currently employs roughly 300 at its Florida location. McDonald estimates 20 to 30 Kel-Tec employees will be working at the Rock Springs facility by late fall. The decision to open operations in Wyoming was not spur of the moment, either. SEDC and Kel-Tec first met at the SHOT Show four years ago.
“The future of our company is tied to the future of the American free spirit,” stated George Kellgren, Kel-Tec founder, chairman and CEO. “Wyoming has been a leading example of liberty and freedom for America, and it is right that we become part of it.”
Swedish-born Kellgren—a former designer for Husqvarna, Swedish Interdynamics AB and Intratec—established Kel-Tec in 1991. It specialized in producing CNC parts for other gun companies initially, but in 1995 the firm’s first pistol hit the market. That polymer-framed, semi-auto P-11 chambered in 9 mm Luger was the first in a long line of innovative and extremely popular models that now includes the KSG shotgun family. The P-15 is the firm’s latest introduction.