MONTAGUE — He was born here, went to school here, and now he wants to set up a business here.
And judging by his track record, the opening of Atlantic Advanced Power Technologies (AAPT) by Jason Aspin should be the Christmas present this part of eastern P.E.I. has long been wishing for.
Production at the Pooles Corner facility will begin in a few shorts weeks and the starting payroll for the first 10 employees will be roughly $500,000. AAPT expects to be hiring up to 30 workers within the next few years.
“They have been extremely successful in their ventures and are now returning to this area to give back to the communities they came from,’’ said Innovation Minister Al Roach during the announcement Wednesday. “It’s great to see two Islanders reinvest in their home province and bring jobs to rural P.E.I.”
Atlantic Advanced Power Technologies is an expansion of companies already operated by Aspin and partner Elizabeth Boyd. Both graduated Montague Regional High School and now sell products around the world.
The province is providing a $1.5 million loan towards the $3.2 million project to establish the manufacturing operation for commercial marine applications. AAPT was considered the strongest applicant seeking out the Pooles Corner facility.
The company is setting up shop in the old APM building that offers well over 50,000 square feet of space and has seen a few tenants come and go over the past few years. However, officials believe Aspin’s track record will create permanent jobs here that have eluded other operations.
“I can tell you I know the man and he’s been successful worldwide,’’ said Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay. “I expect to see this place thriving.”
The company now has four employees getting equipment set up and about 10 will be employed when production begins in January. A $48,000 annual salary is the wage range and up to 30 employees are expected to round out the complement over the next few years. The company will employ skilled machinists, assembly workers, welders, draughtsmen and administrative staff.
“It’s hard to imagine back in 1984 when I graduated Montague high that I would back here doing this,’’ said Aspin, the son of retired Captain John and Linda Aspin.
“The future looks extremely bright and our promise is to grow the business in a sustainable way with jobs built on real projects and we have lots of business.”
Aspin is the owner of AspinKemp and Associates, an established designer and builder of electrical equipment for marine and industrial components. Elizabeth Boyd is the owner of Careli Marine Corporation looking to expand to P.E.I. The new operation will serve the shipping industry and the oil and gas business.
“This company makes things that are needed in good times and bad times,” said Roach. “So we’re extremely confident of a solid future.”
The prior tenant was OpacMare, an Italian yacht accessory manufacturer that dropped plans when the U.S. economy tanked in 2008.
Aspin said his company has been growing for the past 16 years and he made a personal choice to return to the Island and set up operations in Stratford in 2007.
“We have a book of work to operate sustainability and we will not extend ourselves,’’ he said. “We’ve been through the economic downturns and survived and I see our work unending.”