Created: 03/19/2014 6:19 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4
The man who started and runs Albuquerque’s fast growing Vitality Works company has some advice for Tesla Motors – come to New Mexico!
Our state is one of four finalists for Tesla’s giant new lithium battery factory, with 6,500 jobs on the line. The other states are Nevada, Texas, and Arizona.
Vitality Works is a major supplier of herbal supplements for big brand-name natural medicines and dietary products sold around the world.
It started small back in 1982, just off Central Avenue in Nob Hill. Founder Mitch Coven used to process and prepare herbs in his own kitchen. Today the company employs 115 people in a huge plant on the city’s West Side. Vitality Works has doubled its workforce over the last three years, and plans to add another 50 employees in the next two years. Coven says he would love to tell Tesla about New Mexico workers.
“They’ll give you their right arm,” Coven said Wednesday, while Gov. Susana Martinez toured the plant. “They’ll give you their left arm, their left leg, their right leg. It’s a very eager work force here. They’re craving these jobs. They’re skilled. There are a lot of classically trained people from other industries in New Mexico.”
Coven said Vitality Works has benefitted from a number of state business tax breaks and incentives for creating new high-paying jobs. Gov. Martinez gave credit to the state’s recent tax reforms, especially for businesses like Vitality Works that export most of their products to other states and other countries.
“When there’s a profit this owner reinvests it back into the business,” Martinez said. “He makes sure it’s growing, gets larger spaces and hires more individuals, and that’s exactly what we want to do. People get to keep more of their money instead of taxing them to death.”
“While we talk about Tesla it’s also important to point out that there are a number of companies that are looking at New Mexico,” said state Economic Development secretary Jon Barela. “They’re looking at every corner of New Mexico for relocation, and that’s because New Mexico is much more competitive now.”
Mitch Coven agrees.
“We can call and reach the governor, the mayor, our senators and congress people and they’re supportive,” Coven said. “We’ve had many of those folks come and visit our facility. They know us on a first-name basis.”
So here’s another postcard to Tesla: Wish You Were Here! (With your giant battery “gigafactory” and those 6,500 jobs!)