ClassOne Technology was named the state’s “Exporter of the Year” by the Montana District Export Council during a brief ceremony at its manufacturing plant in Evergreen on May 15.
ClassOne was founded in Atlanta and opened up a manufacturing plant in the Flathead Valley seven years ago where it refurbishes semiconductor-manufacturing equipment that is used in a wide variety of products, including phones and computers. Byron Exarcos founded the company more than a decade ago when he realized that old semiconductors from companies like Applied Materials could be rebuilt and upgraded with the latest technology.
Exarcos decided to open a branch based in the Flathead Valley because of its proximity to Applied Materials. The company has grown dramatically since it opened in 2016, which is one of the reasons it was selected by the Montana District Export Council as exporter of the year. In 2016, ClassOne had 45 employees in the state. By 2018, that number had jumped to 75, a 67 percent increase. In 2016, the company made $2.2 million in revenue from semiconductors refurbished in Montana. Two years later, it was making $6 million in revenue.
Products refurbished in the Flathead end up in countries around the world, including Germany, the United Kingdom, China, Singapore, Switzerland, Israel, France, Malaysia, Italy and India.
Exarcos said he expected the company’s footprint in Montana to only grow in the coming years.
“We’re just getting started,” he said during the ceremony on May 15.
Currently, ClassOne has two facilities in the Flathead Valley: a laboratory in south Kalispell and a manufacturing plant in Evergreen. Jason Manger, vice president of operations, said that the company hopes to consolidate and build a facility in the Kalispell area that can accommodate both the lab and manufacturing.
While the close proximity to Applied Materials made Kalispell a logical place to build a plant, Manger said there were other reasons to plant roots in Montana. Chief among them is a great workforce, but also because it’s a great place for customers to visit.
“Montanans just have a great work ethic … and our customers love to come visit us here,” he said. “Those are some of the big benefits to being in Montana.”
Montana Department of Commerce Director Tara Rice was on hand to give the award to ClassOne and said the company was a logical choice to be named “Exporter of the Year.”
“With its proven commitment to doing business in Montana and its impressive growth over the past year, ClassOne is deserving of this honor,” she said.
For more information, visit classone.com.