PESCO adding 180 trainees after receiving nearly $2 million grant from state

CFO: 'This is a big deal for the basin, but it's a bigger deal for New Mexico'

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times
PESCO code welder Jonathan John prepares material for a splice process. The Farmington firm has received a nearly $2 million grant from the state that will fund the creation of 180 jobs for new trainees in 16 positions across the company.
  • The Farmington-based company already has filled 12 of the positions.
  • Another 168 jobs will be filled over the next six months.
  • The jobs will pay anywhere from $15.56 to $33.75 an hour, and will cover 16 positions.

FARMINGTON — It's only been a few weeks since the New Mexico Economic Development Department announced it was awarding a large grant to Farmington's Process Equipment & Service Company Inc. to fund the creation of dozens of new jobs.

But already the oil and gas-related firm commonly known as PESCO has filled 12 of those positions, with plans in the works to hire 168 more people.

Department officials announced in a Dec. 20 news release that PESCO had been awarded a nearly $2 million grant through the agency's Job Training Incentive Program. A total of six companies were awarded grants in December, but PESCO's award was by far the largest of the more than $2.2 million in grants that were presented.

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PESCO engineers Michelle Wilcox, left, and Leanna Martinez double check completed work on a manufactured production unit.

The jobs will pay anywhere from $15.56 to $33.75 an hour, and will cover 16 positions, include labor and administrative roles, as well as engineering and drafting jobs, according to Linda Rodgers, the company's chief financial officer.

"This is a big deal for the (San Juan) basin, but it's a bigger deal for New Mexico," Rodgers said, noting that PESCO is one of the few companies in the basin that is ramping up its production these days.

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Many of the new employees will be put to work helping PESCO produce hydrogen production skids for an Albuquerque client, as well as some other projects that PESCO has coming online later in the year.

Rodgers said PESCO has been the recipient of JTIP funding before, but never to an extent like this. Craig Curry, the company's employee success manager, said he believes the award validates the approach PESCO has been taking.

"It was a confirmation for me of some of the strategies we're headed down the road toward," Curry said. "We're creating jobs for New Mexico and the region. We have the potential to make a difference for New Mexico."

A PESCO welder cleans up a weld on a spool before it is installed.

The program supports the hiring of new trainees at companies so those businesses can continue to grow their presence in New Mexico, according to a news release from the Economic Development Department.

"We are seeing more demand than ever from businesses that want to expand in New Mexico and hire more employees or train existing workers so they can learn new skills for higher salaries," department Secretary Alicia Keyes states in the news release. "Even if it is one or two new employees at a time, JTIP is giving businesses an incentive to invest in their workforce today, so New Mexicans can have a more robust and resilient economic recovery."

JTIP grants were awarded to five other companies throughout New Mexico in December, and a total of 143 grants worth $27.6 million were distributed to 122 companies in the state throughout 2021, the news releases states – money that was used to fund positions for nearly 3,000 trainees.

Rodgers said she believes PESCO's longstanding relationship with the department and its status of being one of the anchors of San Juan County's economy helped seal the deal.

"PESCO has a long history of providing good-paying jobs in the San Juan Basin, and the (EDD) board knew PESCO well," Rodgers said. "I think we had a good story to tell about these jobs and our need to hire and train people pretty quickly for 180 jobs."

Curry and Rodgers said PESCO will not receive the money up front from the state. Instead, as the company hires the trainees, PESCO will document their addition and training, then apply for reinstatement for their salaries from the Economic Development Department.

Curry estimated the hiring for the program would take six months to complete. He said the award also includes a provision rewarding the company for hiring veterans or people who emerge from foster homes, allowing for an extra 5% reimbursement from the state.

"That's where that number creeps up," he said.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or Support local journalism with a digital subscription.