After three decades in eastern Connecticut, CBIA member company Amgraph Packaging Inc., is expanding its footprint across the state by opening a plant in Watertown that's expected to employ up to 50 people.

A 140,000-square foot facility on 25 acres on Park Road that Amgraph bought this summer is currently being remodeled into an environmentally friendly printing plant, and will eventually be used for printing, laminating, and finishing.

Amgraph, headed by CEO Kenneth Fontaine, is known for its commitment to eco-friendly production methods.

The company's chief engineer, John Connelly, will be among the presenters Nov. 17 at the Connecticut Sustainability Conference in East Hartford sponsored by CBIA and Pratt & Whitney.

Fontaine, whose father Kenneth Fontaine founded the company in 1984, said Amgraph chose Watertown for its western Connecticut location and its business-friendly climate.

Expanding Workforce

He told the Waterbury Republican-American that Amgraph needs a redundant plant that can perform the functions of its Baltic headquarters if that plant were forced to shutter temporarily.

Fontaine said Watertown officials welcomed his company, which can draw its new workforce from the region's technical schools and the greater Waterbury labor market.

He said the company will hire local applicants and that no one from their original plant will be transferred. He expects the plant to employ from 45 to 50 people.

The state Department of Economic and Community Development provided the company with a 10-year, $4 million loan at 3% interest to help fund the move.

But the state will partially forgive a portion of the loan, depending on how many new workers Amgraph hires.

Fontaine said Amgraph expects their new facility to be in full operation by February and will eventually account for 75% of the company's revenue.