A $1.3 million economic development package approved by the Cedar Park City Council Thursday night will help bring a Pennsylvania transportation company and more than 230 jobs to the city.
Economic Development Director Phil Brewer said the financial incentives offered to Hyliion, Inc., will be paid over five years. The company must show that it has completed its lease of 83,000 square feet in the Brushy Creek Corporate Center and have 35 employees on its local payroll by Oct. 31 this year to receive the first incentive payment of $175,000.
The other incentive payments are tied to hiring numbers each year until the Hyliion payroll hits 229 employees in 2022. The company has about 50 employees now at its Pittsburg location.
Thomas Healy, CEO of Hyliion, said ties to a local manufacturer and good hiring prospects in the Austin area led to his choice of Cedar Park for his three-year old company. Healy said the company also looked at locations in Dallas and in Silicon Valley.
“The cost of living and the cost doing business in California would have put an unnecessary strain on us,” he said. “We looked there because of the workforce but the talent we are seeing in Austin is just as good or better than in the Silicon Valley.”
Healy is a mechanical engineer who invented a hybrid axle for semi-tractor trailers while attending Carnegie Mellon University. Trucks equipped with the axle “are like a big Prius” and burn 30 percent less fuel, he said — referring to the hybrid passenger car.
Healy recently received the first patent on the technology and has beta versions of it in use on trucks operated by Mesilla Valley Transportation and PAM Transport, Inc. Texas is an ideal location for the company, he said, because of its central U.S. location. The hilly roads around Cedar Park are also ideal for truck testing.
Trucks equipped with the Hyliion axle store up energy generated whenever they are driven downhill and use the kinetic power instead of burning gas on inclines.
The Cedar Park enticements offered to the company also include $125,000 in total assistance to the first 25 Hyliion employees who buy a home in Cedar Park. Healy said his employees are relocating in mid-February.
“Our goal was was to help employees move with us and keep them with company,” he said. “We are looking forward to getting down there.”
Greg Van de Vere, chief financial officer, said Hyllion is ready to enter the hybrid trucking industry now while the future of fully electric trucks may be farther in the future. Vanderveer met with the city’s Economic Development (Type A) Corporation Board which okayed the incentive package on Jan. 22 before making the presentation to the council on Thursday.
“You’ve probably read the press about the TESLA electric trucks, but we are ready now,” Van de Vere said. “We expect to have our first sale this month.”