Tetra Plastics Inc., a subsidiary of Nike Inc., will expand to a second manufacturing plant in early June. Tetra makes polyurethane components for athletic shoe air-cushioning systems. Tetra is retrofitting a 117,000-square-foot facility in Tigard, Ore., near Nike's headquarters in Beaverton. It will hire 150 people to start operations.
In March, Tetra leased the building, one of nine in Pacific Realty Associates' 291/2-acre Oregon Business Park III, for three years. Previously, Oregon Transfer, a trucking and storage company, used the building as a distribution center.
Paul Mitchell, president of Tetra Plastics and general manager of Nike manufacturing, will relocate to Oregon from Missouri to oversee the additional facility and another subsidiary, Airsole, which injects air into plastic components that are shipped to Asia for final assembly into footwear units.
Initially, the Oregon plant will manufacture plastic components only for Nike products, using newly installed extrusion lines, blow molding machines and injection molding machines.
Tetra will duplicate most of the processes now in use at the subsidiary's busy St. Charles, Mo., plant.
Tetra's expansion will not impact the 220,000-square-foot Missouri operation, which produces for Nike and also makes a variety of plastic products for the automotive, skiing and snowboarding industries.
F. Lee Hawes founded Tetra in the St. Louis area in 1964. Mitchell became president and chief operating officer in 1982 and chief executive officer in 1990 after Hawes' retirement. Nike acquired Tetra in 1991.
Tetra technology helped Nike create the Airsole cushioning device, and a computer network links Tetra's research and development to Nike facilities worldwide. Nike makes more than 100 million pairs of shoes a year, most using Airsole products.
Sales of Nike products increased 36.9 percent to $5.96 billion for the 12 months ending Feb. 29 in comparison with the previous year. Nike plans construction to double the size of its Beaverton campus and, temporarily, has leased several facilities in Portland area business parks.
The Tetra site will be operating within three months of the lease signing, much faster than waiting for a two-year construction process.