“Just make it happen.” That was the line that LUC Urethane’s president, Charles Krutzen, remembers Marco Voragen, a manager with LUC, telling him when the company was looking to invest in the United States. Eventually Krutzen heeded to what Voragen had to say and LUC did make it happen. It was no coincidence, too, that LUC came to a place where strong economic investment is happening.
Voragen joined Krutzen at LUC’s grand opening of their new 20,000 square foot facility in booming Conroe Park North on November 20th. The facility is LUC’s first in the United States.
LUC, headquartered in Belgium, specializes in producing and processing hot cast and cured polyurethane (PUR) elastomers, which combine the strength of plastic with the elasticity of rubber. Still proudly a family business, LUC was founded in The Netherlands in 1971. LUC has facilities in Germany, Hungary, and the United Kingdom, in addition to their U.S., Belgian, and Dutch locations.
According to Voragen, the Conroe plant can produce roughly 350 different products. One such product is roller coaster wheels. Krutzen compared the adrenaline-filled journey of opening a plant in the United States to the feeling of riding a roller coaster.
Krutzen and Voragen made their first visit to Houston in 2007 for the annual Offshore Technology Conference. Amazed after visiting with the multitude of businesses there, they knew that Houston was an area LUC would like to target for future business.
Krutzen and Voragen came back to the Offshore Technology Conference in 2011 with the intention of opening a facility in the Houston area. They set up a booth in the Belgian pavilion and began drawing interest from potential clients and partners. Soon after, LUC contacted the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP) for help in finding a place to locate their desired facility. Understanding that the Conroe economic climate was taking off, the GHP worked with the Greater Conroe Economic Development Council (GCEDC) to provide a plan for LUC to locate in Conroe.
After a lengthy narrowing down process, Conroe was chosen over two other Houston-area proposals. This marked a win for the GCEDC and the beginning of a valuable relationship between LUC Urethanes and the Greater Conroe Economic Development Council.
LUC hired their first employee for their Conroe facility in January 2015, naming Adrian Patton Plant Manager. Patton talked about how he has big plans for the plant, “I am happy to be a part of LUC and their first facility in the United States. We have a great product and see great potential for business here.”
At the grand opening, Krutzen praised LUC’s customers, “Thank you to all our customers. Without your confidence, we could not be where we are today.” Krutzen also spoke about locating in Conroe saying, “We could not be happier with our decision to locate in Conroe. Everyone we have met and worked with to get this thing off the ground has been wonderful. There is no limit to the success we feel we can have at this plant.”
Krutzen also was drawn to the strong sense of community on his visits to Conroe. Wanting to be a part of this, Krutzen and his wife Suzanne presented $9,000 to local charities and youth sports. “We are happy to be located in Conroe and we want people to know that LUC is involved in the community,” said Krutzen about the donations.
The excitement from the LUC management is noticeable and shared by the GCEDC staff. “We are thrilled to have LUC located in Conroe Park North. Attracting successful global companies to Conroe shows that we are a premier place to do business. Having something unique, like wheels for roller coasters, made right here in Conroe is also an example of our diverse business climate.” said GCEDC Executive Director, Fred Welch.
With the opening of the plant and employees being hired, it is full speed ahead for LUC’s success in the United States. Fortunately, LUC knows they have the wheels to keep moving and the plan to “just make it happen.”