Every community has an anchor and a foundation for jobs. Minden (population 2,923) is a community that is fortunate to have several anchors, one of which is Royal Engineered Composites, Inc. (Royal).
For nearly 65 years, Royal has been thriving in Minden as an industry leader in the manufacturing of composite materials and providing key jobs to the community and surrounding areas. Since its inception, Royal has been supplying advanced composite products to the aerospace and defense industries. As aircraft requirements for fuel efficiency increase, there are demands to reduce weight in both military and civilian aircraft markets. The high strength to weight ratio of advanced composites and the ability to engineer the materials to the application provides a solution to reduce weight.
The increased demand in composite parts to reduce weight as well as the need for technological advances has created new challenges in the industry. Royal has continually faced these challenges head on with the attitude that every challenge is an opportunity. In 2014, Royal was awarded a long-term contract for the Boeing 787 program which includes 91 part numbers and annual revenues in excess of $2 million per year since 2016. The complexity of on-boarding one project is difficult enough, but due to a few delays in other growth opportunities several programs were on-boarded simultaneously. After Royal was awarded the contract on the 787 program, they spent two years in the development stage, including first article approvals and Boeing process qualifications. The Boeing qualification is a significant asset to Royal because it opens up the possibilities for more growth and allows Royal to continue to thrive and bring jobs to the Minden community.
In order to support these growth opportunities, Royal applied for assistance through CDBG funding to help cover the cost of working capital and equipment needs. This was the second opportunity Royal had to utilize CDBG funding. Both opportunities have provided Royal with the funds needed to increase their capabilities to help guide their future success.
By December 2014, the Nebraska Department of Economic Development awarded $605,000 in CDBG funding to the City of Minden to assist with the expansion of Royal. The city then established an agreement with South Central Economic Development District, Inc. to serve as the Nonprofit Development Organization (NDO) to carry out the CDBG activities on behalf of the city. Minden executed an agreement with the NDO, which executes the loan agreement for the CDBG funds loaned to Royal. The NDO uses the repayment of the local funds from Royal to make additional loans (in the NDO’s regional service area) for economic development activities. The total project cost was over $2.6 million and was completed December 31, 2015. The expansion created 30 full-time jobs in the community.