LOS ANGELES– Mayor Villaraigosa today continued his support of local manufacturing and job creation by visiting automaker ICON’s new 40,000 sq. foot Chatsworth headquarters and manufacturing facility.
“We are committed to creating an environment that supports and encourages the growth of ‘Made in LA’ brands like ICON,” said Mayor Villaraigosa. “ICON’s newly expanded facility demonstrates that the manufacturing industry is alive and well in Los Angeles. We intend to keep it that way by providing companies the tools they need to create jobs and quality products in our city.”
ICON assembles and produces all of its vehicles in Los Angeles and utilizes parts from vendors in the region. Because they are located within the State Enterprise Zone (SEZ), which helps businesses lower their operating costs and promote hiring and capital investment through tax credits and deductions, ICON will take advantage of the Employer Hiring State Tax Credit and other incentives. The tax credit awards businesses for hiring unemployed or underemployed individuals who may otherwise be at a disadvantage in obtaining employment.
Mayor Villaraigosa played a critical role in ensuring that the Los Angeles SEZ was expanded in 2010 to include land zoned for industrial and manufacturing use in Chatsworth, Canoga Park, Northridge, the Van Nuys Airport Corridor, Warner Center and the Northeast industrial area. The SEZ encourages manufacturing businesses like ICON to grow within the City. The City of Los Angeles remains in the top four U.S. cities for manufacturing jobs in part because of incentives like the SEZ.
“Earlier this year when our company realized it was time to expand, we took a very careful look at where to relocate,” says ICON Lead Designer and CEO Jonathan Ward. “When planning a move of this scale, as a business owner, every dollar counts. We evaluated everything, and after review, decided to stay in the San Fernando Valley where ICON was conceived 16 years ago. The Mayor’s role in the expansion of the SEZ to Chatsworth definitely fostered an environment where we could continue to grow the brand here in LA.”
Jonathan and Jamie Ward originally founded ICON in 2006 as a result Ward’s interest, desire and passion to design and build luxury utility vehicles that married modern technology with retro-inspired design. ICON has since grown into a highly respected manufacturer of an array of exclusive handmade vehicles, consistently using locally based parts suppliers as well as hiring regional employees for development, engineering, and production. Vehicles produced under the ICON nameplate include designs such as the famed FJ and most recently, the lauded Bronco, which won GQ magazine’s ‘Car of the Year’ award in 2011.
Together, the Ward Family directly employs more than 24 local Los Angeles residents and plans to significantly expand that workforce in the coming years as demand for their vehicles continues to increase. Los Angeles WorkSource Centers will help ICON find highly qualified employees to fill these positions. WorkSource Centers around the City provide resources for all businesses looking to hire locally, including posting job openings and identifying and pre-screening eligible candidates.