NICHOLAS SAKELARIS, Mansfield News Mirror

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, center, is flanked by Klein Tools chairman and owner Tom Klein Sr., left, and director of product management David Klein. The Kleins met with Perry and President Donald Trump on July 23 as part of the second annual Made in America Showcase. Handout

 

Klein Tools will build a 200,000-square-foot distribution center next to its existing facility on Easy Drive in southwest Mansfield, adding another 100 to 110 jobs by 2020.

The Lincolnshire, Illinois-based tool manufacturer made the announcement the same week that owners Tom Klein Sr. and David Klein met with President Donald Trump and his Cabinet at the White House for the second annual Made in America Showcase event on July 23.

“We’re here to celebrate the greatest products in the world,” Trump said. “Products made with American heart, American sweat and American pride.”

Klein, a 161-year-old company, has invested nearly $250 million in facilities and equipment since 2011, with the majority of that investment occurring in Mansfield. Over the next few years, Klein will invest another $15 million in the new Mansfield distribution center.

As the Klein family looked for places to expand, staying within the United States was the top priority. The invitation to be at the White House and mingle with Energy Secretary and former Texas Governor Rick Perry and others was a surprise.

“We were 10-11 feet away from the president as he spoke about Made in the USA,” said Tom Klein, chairman and fifth generation owner of Klein Tools. “They do the selection process but they don’t really let you know why you got picked. It’s very important to the family to remain a USA-based manufacturer. That’s our heritage.”

Klein will move the distribution center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to Mansfield, where Klein has already built two manufacturing facilities in the last seven years.

Though Klein has received grants and incentives from the state and the Mansfield Economic Development Corp. in the past, Klein said they don’t plan to seek any assistance for this latest expansion.

Construction could start by the end of this year or early 2019 and it will open in 2020, he said.

Klein already employs nearly 500 workers in Mansfield so the expansion will take the headcount over 600.

“We’ve been growing very quickly over the years and we basically outgrew the space,” he said. “This is actually going to enhance our efficiencies. It will flow out of the local factories into the warehouse. And our other manufacturing facilities will also feed into those distribution centers as well.”

Klein originally came to Mansfield because they were looking for a right-to-work state with low taxation and access to a major airport.

“The business climate here is very friendly and that’s our primary attraction to the state,” Klein said.

Klein’s son, David, works as director of product management, making him the sixth generation to work at the business.

Klein makes tools for electricians and other professional trades. The company is well known for providing top in-house training and education from the plant floor to the executive level, Klein said. The company also works with Mansfield ISD and local universities to help students get internships and stimulate their interest in a career with Klein.