MINOOKA – The railroad industry is growing, and so is a railroad-building company that recently set up shop in Minooka.
U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Channahon, toured Colo Railroad Builders’ new facility Friday in Minooka along with Minooka Mayor Pat Brennan; Jessica Barr, chief of staff for state Rep. John Anthony, R-Joliet; and O.J. Stoutner, legislative aide for state Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris.
The company, which is headquartered in Houston, moved in July to Twin Rail Drive in Minooka after leaving its Romeoville location.
Colo Railroad Builders CEO Mike Stolzman told Kinzinger and Brennan the decision to move to Minooka was simple. Among other reasons, the village offers easy access to Interstate 80 for trucks, as well as significantly lower rent costs than the previous location.
“This is a great area for the railroad industry, and a good time to be in the railroad business,” Stolzman said.
The new building – which was designed by a homebuilder – meets manufacturing needs while feeling like a home when you walk in, Stolzman said. He added most railroad-building facilities look nothing like it.
This facility is estimated to bring in $12 million of the company’s $30 million in revenue this year, Stolzman said, as industry leaders are investing heavily in infrastructure for railroads to be built.
“There’s more investment coming,” he said. “Capital projects are getting bigger as companies look to take trucks off the road.”
Kinzinger and Stolzman discussed the benefits of using rail instead of truck. The cost to ship the same amount of product by rail is about one-third of what it costs by truck, the carbon footprint is far less via rail, and railroads are privately funded while highways are publicly funded, Stolzman said.
Kinzinger asked about the company philosophy on employment. Stolzman said the organization believes employee turnover is not good for business. Employees usually work four 10-hour shifts rather than five eight-hour shifts a week to boost productivity.
Employees always are provided lodging, a per diem and transportation to job sites – whether by bus or company vehicle.
“I’m all in,” Kinzinger said. “We’re really proud to have you here [in the 16th Congressional district].”