Kurt Hildebrand

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January 31, 2014
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Connections key to bringing company

The story of how a company that manufactures connectors arrived in Carson Valley came down to connections.

Cristek President Christi Cristich said that’s how the company came to its Orbit Way location.

“I had a hard time finding a building under 20,000 square feet,” she said. “When Bently heard what we were looking for, they contacted us about this building. It wasn’t even on the market.”

When Cristich said the company needed help repairing a piece of equipment, she sent an email to Nevada Manufacturers Association Executive Director Ray Bacon, and the next day she had five replies, including personnel from Bently who tried to fix the problem and help from GE.

“People here were critical in making this happen,” she said.

Cristek’s impending presence in Nevada was made possible when Cristich made a connection with someone who referred her to the Northern Nevada Development Authority.

That connection made the company one of the first in Nevada to receive $200,000 in catalyst funds over the next three years if they hire 50 employees.

Next week the company will start looking for those employees at a two-day mini job fair.

“We’re getting ready to open the plant,” Cristich said. “There’s five of us here right now.”

The job fair next week with assembly and soldering skills assessment 3-6 p.m. Wednesday for those who have submitted resumes at nev@cristek.com and have an appointment. At 3-6 p.m. Thursday, the company will take drop-in applications.

Start dates for the jobs will range from mid-March through mid-June as the company begins to ramp up its operations.

Positions being hired include assemblers, CNC machinists, test technicians, and quality inspectors.

“I want one block of time when people can walk in and talk to us,” she said. “We can have all sorts of equipment, but it’s important to have the right people.”

Minden will be Cristek’s first attempt at vertical integration, in which several tasks in production are brought under one roof.

She said they are looking for someone who can operate a molding injector to complete the connectors the company makes for military applications. They are also looking for a microwave test technician who can troubleshoot the program.

“We do product machining and milling and turning,” she said. “We’re looking for the one person who can mold plastics. That’s a real important part of our operation.”

As a defense contractor, it’s critical that the company’s products function correctly. That means the new plant will have to undergo Department of Defense audits.

“Our product pulls the trigger, fires the missile,” she said. “There’s got to be no doubt. We have two audits in February, then we’ll be ready to come online in March.”

The company will be conducting its Condor program out of Minden, a new vertically integrated line, and hopes to be up and running by the first quarter of 2015 at the latest.

She said it will take about three years for the company to make back its investment in Minden.

“It was good that the state and county were willing to help out,” she said. “The county has been incredible at removing obstacles.”

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The Record Courier Updated Jan 31, 2014 11:30AM Published Mar 10, 2014 09:28AM Copyright 2014 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.