UPDATED 6:26 P.M. — Tennessee Economic & Community Development commented on Vextec this afternoon through a spokesperson, saying in part: "Vextec's decision to invest in a lab in Indiana was a sound, strategic one for their individual company needs... We are thrilled that Vextec still remains as a viable business in Tennessee..."
As originally reported 12:12 P.M.:
Vextec Corporation, the Brentwood firm that supports sophisticated testing of auto and aircraft systems, has decided to put its new laboratory in Terre Haute, rather than in Tennessee.
Founder and CEO Loren Nasser told NashvillePost.com this morning "it's unfortunate" Indiana and other states are recruiting his firm, while he's heard nothing from industry recruitment and expansion officials in Tennessee.
Davidson County-based Vextec's revenue is nearly $4 million annually, Nasser said, and the company has nearly 35 employees in Nashville. Vextec will add up to six employees in Terre Haute, where it will invest up to $1 million at a six-acre site near Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field.
Nasser said this morning the 7-year-old firm contracts with "virtually every aspect of the Department of Defense" and NASA, as well as with manufacturers of jet engines and other equipment. Customers include GE, Pratt & Whitney, Rolls Royce and Honeywell.
Nasser and co-founder Robert Tryon are graduates of Terre Haute's highly regarded Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, but Nasser indicated that it was the inducements that were deciding factors.
Nationwide, state and local governments, business boosters and institutions are increasing budgets for recruitment of higher paying, knowledge intensive jobs.
In April, Birmingham recruiters enticed life sciences player BioDTech Inc. to abandon Music City.
In Tennessee, high-tech stakeholders have recently collaborated in an attempt to relaunch the Tennessee Technology Development Corporation, a nonprofit that aims to cultivate industry-academic links, support existing high-value businesses and recruit new industry.
A report commissioned by TTDC suggested that among Tennessee's competitive impediments is a tendency toward "parochialism" among executives and institutions, alike. An array of initiatives are underway in both urban and rural areas to surmount such problems, including three initiatives in Middle Tennessee.
Vextec tests materials and systems for durability and reliability, and assists in improvement of manufacturing and related processes.
Vextec is privately held by its founders, employees and an unspecified number of advisors who have some ownership, Nasser said.
State economic development officials have not yet responded to NashvillePost.com inquiries about Vextec. A representative of Metro Nashville economic development said she was unaware of Vextec's plans and not familiar with the company.