WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Integra Technologies has announced it will build its new combined headquarters and production facility in Bel Aire, at Kansas Highway 254 and Rock Road, pending funding and local approval.

President and CEO Brett Robinson made the new site known during a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

Integra Technologies released this image of its proposed new headquarters and production facility in Bel Aire. (Courtesy Integra Technologies and GLMV Architecture)

He also said the expansion will create more than 2,500 high-paying jobs, an increase over the previous prediction of 2,000 jobs, and more than $2 billion in capital investment in the first five years.

Integra Technologies is the largest Outsourced Semiconductor Assembly and Test (OSAT) company in the U.S. Its current Wichita headquarters is at 8300 E. Thorn Drive. It also has operations in Silicon Valley. The company employs about 500 employees.

On Feb. 2, the State Finance Council awarded Integra its premier incentive package — Attracting Powerful Economic Expansion (APEX). Integra’s APEX application is capped at 1,994 jobs and a $1.8 billion capital investment. The state is putting forth roughly $304 million in taxpayer-funded incentives over the next 10 years to help build the new production facility.

Choosing Bel Aire

Robinson said the company chose the Bel Aire location because it needed room for a one-million-square-foot headquarters and production facility with room to expand. The approximately 100-acre site will also have 20 acres of solar panels to help power the facility.

The property will be on the southeast corner of K-254 and Rock Road, pending Bel Aire City Council approval.

“The site plan shows what the new facility will look like in phase one of the project, that’s the first five years,” Robinson said. “It also shows the future expansion room. The other benefit of this site is all of that future expansion room on the right side, in addition to Integra’s 100 acres, for our suppliers to build on. As you guys know, Kansas’ APEX incentive offer allows us to name five suppliers.”

Integra Technologies said the right side of the map shows areas for future expansion and development. (KSN Photo)

The company has also leased 100,000 square feet of a building at 3718 N Rock Road in Wichita for a training facility. While the new headquarters is under construction, the Rock Road location will serve as Integra’s interim headquarters, with production continuing at the Northrock Business Park.

CHIPS Act funding needed

Robinson said Integra needs U.S. Department of Commerce for CHIPS and Science Act funding to proceed. The August 2022 bi-partisan CHIPS Act was established to boost American competitiveness, innovation and national security in the semiconductor industry.

U.S. manufacturers can compete for $39 billion in grants to finance the construction, expansion and modernization of facilities and equipment.

To get the funding, Integra must show that it has local support. Integra says that includes proposed workforce development support from Sedgwick County and Bel Aire, plus a 10-year property tax abatement and the creation of a tax-increment finance (TIF) district.

Robinson said Integra will apply for the grant in 30 days and expects a decision by late summer.

Local support

Integra got a significant show of approval from area governments and organizations during Wednesday’s news announcement.

(KSN Photo)

Bel Aire Mayor Jim Benage called the announcement a game-changer for regional economic growth.

“I’ve heard it said that economic development is a team sport, and we committed to that team, and everyone has to play together,” Benage said. “We will be working with the team to bring this to fruition.”

He said that if Integra is like some other Bel Aire businesses, about 94% of its workforce will be from communities outside of Bel Aire. If Integra has 2,500 employees, that could be more than 2,300 commuters.

“That means a lot of infrastructure to support those jobs,” Benage said.

Integra says its expansion plans address recent risks identified in the U.S. semiconductor supply chain and support the domestic semiconductor ecosystem.

Sedgwick County Commission Chairman Pete Meitzner compared making semiconductor chips to the Wichita area coming together to help build planes during World War II.

“It’s in our DNA that we know how to gather people together on big challenges, to make things, ship things, get partners with supply chain people together to build things,” Meitzner said.

“Now we’re not rescuing the country from World War II,” he said. “We’re going to rescue the world from microchips and the future of that.”

Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple said Integra’s decision to stay puts the area at the forefront of innovation in advanced manufacturing.

“They could be anywhere,” he said. “They could choose to go to either coast, but they know the value of staying here in the Wichita region. They know that we build things better than anyone in any city or any state in this entire country.”

Finding and training workers

Some may wonder if the Wichita region can provide the 2,500 employees Integra will need.

“We’re going to get the people, I can tell you that,” Keith Lawing, Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas president, said. “We have a Strategic Workforce Collaborative that we have put in place. There’s over 30 community-based organizations, over 25 education or training institutions. We’re all going to be leaning into this project in the next few months as we get ready.”

With the Strategic Workforce Collaborative, Integra is especially focused on reaching individuals and groups that have barriers to employment.

Integra says the available positions will include engineers, technical positions, sales, human resources, finance and more. A significant percentage of the positions will be entry-level jobs requiring a high school diploma or GED equivalent with training opportunities.

WSU Tech is already working with Integra to develop training programs.

“I always say, we are a microcosm of our community, and as business and industry goes, so does WSU Tech, and so that’s what we’re doing right now,” Sheree Utash, WSU Tech president, said.

She said the school would be reaching out to teenagers, adults looking for new careers, and the areas underrepresented people.

“What happens is this kind of diversification in our city allows lucrative career options that we have not had in Kansas,” Utash said.

Just the beginning

According to Integra, the jobs and capital investment over the first five years are the beginning of long-term expansion plans. According to local economic development leadership, the region has been preparing for growth opportunities like this.

“This is truly a transformative project for the Wichita region and state,” Jeff Fluhr, Greater Wichita Partnership president, said. “It is an honor to work alongside Brett and his team as we position Integra, our region and state, for economic success.”

Fluhr said the Greater Wichita Partnership continues to build an ecosystem that supports existing and evolving industries throughout the region.

Integra was founded in Wichita 40 years ago. It is an employee-owned company providing services for over 500 active customers, including many from critical infrastructure sectors such as the military, aerospace, medical, aviation, automotive, commercial and industrial.

Integra performs the last half of the manufacturing required to make a chip and validate its functionality before the chips are shipped to become part of devices.

Watch the announcement below: