GLENDIVE — Glendive is a small town in far Eastern Montana with little local opportunity, but that is about to change.
Brixtel Defense, a national ammunition company based out of Virginia, recently decided to expand its business with a $125 million facility in Glendive. The expansion is expected to create hundreds of Montana jobs.
Brixtel focuses on creating small, medium and large caliber ammunition, as well as propellants for the United States military.
As global turmoil and war increases, so does the demand for ammunition. Brixtel was looking to expand — and expand fast — to meet this rising demand.
The ribbon on a new factory in Montana was cut on Wednesday, January 10, 2024, with Brixtel employees, local residents and Gov. Greg Gianforte attending the celebration.
Jimmy Slaughter, chief strategy officer at Brixtel Defense, says the company chose Montana for the expansion because of the labor force's work ethic and the legislative support of the Second Amendment.
“We’re all homegrown, American workers. In Glendive, in Montana and other small towns all across the country because it’s the way you were raised,” Slaughter said at the ceremony.
Slaughter also called the state “business-friendly,” which Gov. Gianforte attributes to his push to expand Montana business and create more jobs.
“I ran for office with two objectives: one, to create more good-paying jobs in the state, and you’re doing that. And two, to protect our way of life,” Gov. Gianforte said.
The Glendive factory will produce primers, a key component in most ammunition.
More than 350 Montana jobs are expected to be created by Brixtel by 2028. An old railway town with a population of less than 5,000, Glendive was in need of local growth, according to residents.
“I’ve lived here my whole entire life. Being able to see our community grow is going to be huge for us," Glendive resident Sara Engle said. "We do need manufacturing jobs to come in here to provide employment. I’ll use my husband as an example. He commutes, he travels many hours to work and to come back because there’s just not an opportunity that is available.”
The newly created jobs will be prioritized for Montanans, according to Brixtel CEO Andrew Mansoor.
“We are not looking to bring anybody in. We can if we need to, but the idea is to find the talent from within Montana and hire Montanans,” he said.
The hiring process will begin on January 11 with a morning job fair at the Glendive Commons.
Mansoor did say they are looking for employees with machinery experience.
In order to help residents meet this experience requirement, Dawson Community College will be working closely with Brixtel to provide the necessary training in their courses, according to Engle, the school's director of workforce development and continuing education.
“We have a giant campus up there, and we’ve got lots of areas where we can utilize and customize training,” Engle said.
Brixtel’s Glendive location will source their machinery from Alpha Loading Systems. of Stevenville and Mansoor sees the partnership creating jobs on both sides of the state due to increased demand.
“We are very excited to work with them. They’re known in the industry, and they put out a good product,” he said.
Gov. Gianforte has attributed 50,000 jobs to his Better Montana Jobs project since the beginning of his candidacy.
A particular partnership with the Department of Commerce — coined the “red carpet program” by Gov. Gianforte — aims to convince companies to expand into Montana.
Through the red carpet program, five to eight different business executives are invited to Montana each month.
The Montana Department of Commerce and Gov. Gianforte introduce the visitors to towns where their business might thrive — essentially selling Montana as the right fit for their company.
Gov. Gianforte has used this tactic to bring VACOM, a German manufacturing company, to Lewistown and Hyundai to Bozeman.
Mansoor received his tour in the spring of 2023 and announced his decision to expand into Glendive in the fall.
His decision is logical for Glendive mayor, Deb Dion, who sees the potential for a great partnership.
“This is a great opportunity for Glendive, and I think it’s a perfect fit because we’ve got so many veterans here and of course, we have a healthy gun culture.”
The new factory is expected to open within the first weeks of February.