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Job growth at YSI Incorporated

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For most businesses, 2009 was a year to cut jobs, not to add them. However, the story was more upbeat for YSI Incorporated in Yellow Springs.

“The company did well last year,” CEO Rick Omlor said in an interview last week. “We had a number of things go the right way. We are pleased.”

On Friday, Jan. 22, YSI announced that it had created 19 new jobs due to federal stimulus funds. Specifically, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or ARRA, earmarked $14.6 million to the U.S. Geological Survey, or USGS, for upgrades to its national streamgage network, and some of that funding has gone to equipment upgrades manufactured by YSI subsidiaries. Those new positions were added to the company’s San Diego-based division, SonTek/YSI, and to its Logan, Utah, subsidiary, Design Analysis Associates, or DAA.

While those positions were out of state, the company’s successful year also saw about 10 new positions created in the Yellow Springs facility in 2009, according to Omlor, who said those jobs were mainly in research and development, sales and marketing. The job increase raises the total number of employees at YSI in Yellow Springs to about 160.

Last year’s YSI audit is not yet finished, so financial figures are not available, Omlor said.

The factors that went the right way for YSI were the availability of stimulus funds, not just in this country but across the globe; continued global attention to water resource issues; and innovative product development at YSI, which produced “the right products at the right time,” Omlor said.

The global stimulus funds contributed to “good growth in key markets,” for YSI, including in China, India and Europe, Omlor said. The company, which has offices in China, Europe, Bahrain, Japan and Hong Kong, added an office in India last year.

In 2006, the 60-year-old company, which had previously also manufactured temperature gauges for industrial and aerospace markets, sold the temperature division and focused on the natural resources market, specifically the production of instruments for sampling and monitoring water velocity and quality.

“It’s been a good focus,” Omlor said, regarding YSI’s shift in business strategy.

The recent expansion in the SunTek division resulted from increased production of upgraded hydroacoustic profilers, according to a YSI press release. The new products allow USGS hydrologists to collect data in extremely shallow and slow-moving water. And DAA in Utah has added workers to produce high-rate data transmitters, or HDRs, that provide faster and more complete information for National Weather Service hydrologists. YSI purchased DAA last year.

“The orders have kept us busy, and have also helped fund our development of a new HDR platform,” said DAA General Manager Terrell Fletcher in the press release. “When we tie that data transmission to the other technologies that YSI is providing in terms of measuring water chemistry and water quantity, ARRA funding allows us to help USGS tell the public what’s available and whether it’s safe.”


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