Business shines bright at building jobs

Local News

DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — The next time you visit Vegas, look up. A new iconic video canopy to Tops Fremont Street is under construction at Watchfire. 

CEO Steve Harriott says the $30 million dollar project added roughly 20 new jobs here.

“We’ve obviously had a lot of success.” 

The sign isn’t the only thing they’re building here. Watchfire is growing jobs in a city and a state which badly needs them, and it hasn’t always been easy.

“Running a business in the state of Illinois, first of all, it’s really hard to talk to your shareholders about wanting to expand here,” said Harriott. “We went through a huge expansion in 2013. The idea of doing manufacturing in the state of illinois for them took some convincing.”

In the darkest days of the nation’s recession, you might say Watchfire caught fire. When other companies were cutting back and scaling down, this one was ramping up and building out. 

“The decision was we were going to stay in Danville,” said Harriott.

The decision paid off for the business and the community.

“I was getting ready to graduate college,” said Matt Jordan, sales development manager. “At the time, I was looking roughly in the central Indiana area and I just happened to see an advertisement for a job.” 

Danville may be one of the fastest shrinking cities in Illinois, but Watchfire remains one of the fastest growing companies in town, fighting against the grain to recruit talent from other states to pack up and move here hoping they can build a career, find a home and, if they get lucky, maybe even find love.

“Company brought me here,” said Jordan. “I was in Danville by myself. I did not know a single person in town. And then through the miracles of online dating, and that my fiancé. We’re getting married this year.” 

Jordan found a new home, and works for a company he has no plans of leaving, opting instead to build when others bail.

“While it would be possible to uproot the business, we love the people that are a part of the community in the surrounding counties that really help make Watchfire special for our products and for our customers,” said Harriott, “and so, from our standpoint, the knowledge they bring in the hard work and the work ethic of small-town America really makes a big difference for Watchfire.

In a city which has seen better days, this is one bright spot: A place which provides hope and proof “Illinois Works.”

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