Future looks bright as Silicon Valley lighting manufacturer expands

150 150 Cheryl Getuiza

The city of San Jose, Silicon Valley’s capital, is starting off the New Year with a big bang and it’s all thanks to its manufacturing sector.

 Xicato, a lighting manufacturer, relocated its global headquarters to a bigger facility to make room for a new manufacturing line. 

“Xicato, like so many other Silicon Valley startups, started in a garage in 2007,” said Menko de Roos, the company’s CEO. “We’ve continued to grow and this is our second home in San Jose. We now have about 100 people and will continue to grow in San Jose as we add people to our team. What does this mean? The company is hiring more employees, helping the region’s 6.3 percent unemployment rate, and that’s nothing but good news for the local economy.”

In fact, the manufacturing company plans on a 25 percent growth to fill their new manufacturing arm.

The company moved into a 24,000 square foot space, double the size of its original location in the city, to start making new LED light modules to distribute around the globe.

“We truly appreciate the significant investment that Xicato has made in our community and the fact that they continue to create new jobs for our region,” said Mayor Chuck Reed. “We look forward to helping accommodate their continued growth in the years ahead.”

San Jose’s manufacturing industry employs nearly 160,000 people and it continues to grow year after year.

What makes the city so attractive? The Silicon Valley is the world’s leading hub for high-tech innovation and development therefore making it an easy sell to any company looking to locate or expand in the region. City leaders have also made it a priority to make the city business friendly.

“The city of San Jose’s appointment-based permitting process worked well and allowed us to meet critical milestones and get our operations up and running,” said de Roos. “Our move timeframe was very short, and it was critical that the build-out and permitting went smoothly and matched our equipment arrival schedule.”
 “Our economic development team worked closely with Xicato to expedite permitting so they could get up their manufacturing facility up and running quickly,” said Kim Walesh, Director of Economic Development for the City of San Jose. “We look forward to celebrating Xicato’s success as they continue to grow and expand in San Jose for many years to come.”

It’s great to be number one; there’s no doubt about it. The Golden State leads the way in manufacturing jobs, firms and output. Broken down, it makes up 11.7 percent of the total output. The industry, which controls nine percent of the workforce, generates nearly $230 billion, more than any other state.

That’s why ensuring this sector continues to thrive and grow is a priority of Governor Jerry Brown. In 2013, as part of his Economic Development Initiative, he created a sales and use tax exemption for Manufacturing as well as the CA Competes tax credit to help incentivize companies to locate or expand in the state.

Continued support for this industry is a reason why bolstering manufacturing here is part of the seven-point strategy of the California Economic Summit. The Advancing Manufacturing Action Team continues to identify priorities and steps to keep California’s place as the manufacturing leader and ensure companies can expand and innovate.

“Investment in our U.S. operations enables Xicato to rapidly develop and introduce innovative technologies and products for the global lighting industry and starting next month we will transition to full manufacturing mode,” said de Roos.

Cheryl Getuiza

All stories by: Cheryl Getuiza