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Pegasus soars to Galesburg with new manufacturing jobs

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Dale Sell has one of the newest jobs in Knox County.

"It means a lot for Galesburg," he said.

No longer commuting 120 miles to Peoria each day, the Galesburg tool and die maker works for Pegasus Manufacturing.

"This was just an opportunity to get a little closer to home," he said.

California-based Pegasus chose Illinois over Texas to relocate its headquarters. One reason why Knox County recorded its lowest unemployment rate in six years.

The unemployment rate made a remarkable drop to 6.5%. In 2013, it stood at 8.3%.

Co-owner Ray Whitehead credits a positive attitude for making a big difference.

"These people, in a nutshell, they're willing to get it done as opposed to almost a way of why can't we get it done," he said.

Pegasus makes parts and systems for diverse companies ranging from computers to motorcycles.

It plans to create up to 30 new jobs in Galesburg. In 2014, it will likely add more than $500,000 to the local economy.

While Pegasus helps to cut the unemployment rate, it's also restoring manufacturing to America. That's a great investment in the future.

"If you have the want-to factor, the want to get it done and the technical capabilities and willingness of the people, there's no reason why we can't bring manufacturing to America," Whitehead said.

This company is arriving just as Galesburg begins to craft a unified voice for economic development. It's a fresh start, one job at a time.

The Western Illinois Works office at 311 East Main Street in Galesburg is helping to fill the new jobs. It also offers advice and resources to help look for jobs.

"Anytime you've got a new manufacturer coming to a town that's lost manufacturing, I think it can only help the economy here," said Mike Haptonstahl, operations manager for the Western Illinois Works office.

Pegasus is using tax credits and incentives to build its future in Galesburg. It's also a future for local workers like Dale Sell.

"It will always keep growing as far as tool and die making and machining," he concluded.

In Galesburg, using a combination of technology and tenacity to fight unemployment.