Royal Engineered Composites, originally Royal Plastics, of Minden, has manufactured composite components for the aerospace industry since 1949. Specifically, Royal utilizes composite engineering expertise to develop design and prototyping services and mold making, and offer technical support for aerospace and defense companies. By 2008, Royal’s increasing business demands necessitated an expansion. With assistance from the Minden Economic Development Department, Royal considered many alternatives and finally opted to apply for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development.
The City of Minden was awarded $405,000 in CDBG funding to aid the expansion. Additional bank loans and company equity from Royal brought the total investment to $1,022,011.
Dave Arnold, Royal’s business manager, said, “Initially, the CDBG application process and follow up record-keeping seemed daunting, however, Lisa Karnatz, executive director of Minden Economic Development, helped us through the process and made it relatively easy. The CDBG gave us additional options to help reduce risk and allow us to invest and grow sooner than we anticipated, which in turn helped us grow larger and hire additional people. It’s a great experience when the local community and businesses work together to achieve success that benefits everyone. I’m excited to continue the great relationship we’ve established.”
With the funds, Royal purchased new equipment that eventually resulted in a 33% increase in sales. The initial goal of creating 25 new full-time positions was more than doubled to 59 new full-time positions. Now Royal has 131 employees and annual sales exceeding $15 million. As the company and community are reaping the economic benefits of this successful expansion, future plans utilizing CDBG funds continue to be researched by Royal for other potential projects.
Lisa Karnatz, executive director of Minden Economic Development commented, “Royal Engineered Composites is a positive force in the City of Minden. The City of Minden is fortunate to have them here as they continue to provide jobs and economic growth to our community.”
City of Minden Mayor Roger Jones said, “Over the past sixty years, Royal, by whichever name you choose, has been an important part of the Minden community. By supplying jobs and investment, Royal has provided an alternative to the farm economy, which is the mainstay of the City. I am so pleased that Royal continues to show confidence in the Minden community and the work force it provides.”