Purdue Discovery Park District Strikes 'Breakthrough Moment'

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(Image courtesy of SEL) Ed Schweitzer, pictured right, is a Purdue grad who started SEL from his basement in Washington state in the 1980s. (Image courtesy of SEL) Ed Schweitzer, pictured right, is a Purdue grad who started SEL from his basement in Washington state in the 1980s.
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Purdue University has announced another private employer's plans to locate to the 450-acre Purdue Discovery Park District and create hundreds of jobs. Pullman, Washington-based Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories Inc., led by President Ed Schweitzer, a Purdue graduate, says it will build a 100,000 square-foot electric power research facility that could employ up to 300. Earlier this week, the Purdue Research Foundation released a master plan for the district, which is expected to attract over $1 billion in investment over the next three decades.

SEL Purdue is scheduled to break ground this summer on half of a 20-acre plot off of U.S. 231 on the West Lafayette campus. The company says the facility could create up to 300 jobs. It will be located next to another multi-million dollar advanced manufacturing industry investment: Rolls-Royce's jet engine research facility.

Purdue President Mitch Daniels calls the investment the district's breakthrough moment. "Here's what I think is nearly certain: the rest of the district will now come together more quickly," he said in an interview with Inside INdiana Business, because of the kinds of jobs associated with SEL that "will almost surely speed the development of retail and restaurant, entertainment and residential investment in the district."

Schweitzer launched the company in the early 1980s in the basement of his home near the Washington State University campus. It has grown to employ more than 5,100 and its technology is used by industrial and commercial power customers in nearly 160 countries. Schweitzer and his wife, Beatriz, are also donating $3 million to Purdue's School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He says "Purdue, of course, is dear to me and my family. My grandfather, the first Edmund Schweitzer, earned his degree in electrical engineering from Purdue in 1898. The gifts to Purdue will provide current and future students with the educational and life skills for the future, and with SEL Purdue there is no doubt that many will become SEL employees."

You can connect to more about employee-owned SEL by clicking here. Purdue says the company is leaving room for more potential growth at the site

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