January 19, 2024

Toro opens robotics research division in Frederick

FREDERICK — Lawn care company The Toro Co. (NYSE: TTC) has selected Frederick for a research and development center for its robotics division.

Gov. Jared Polis and the Global Business Development Division of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade said Friday that the company has decided to accept a state grant in order to establish the center there. 

BizWest previously reported that Toro was likely the company that had been offered incentives in April 2023 to establish its robotics operation in Colorado. Toro bought Longmont company Left Hand Robotics in 2021. Left Hand had developed robotic snow removal equipment.

“Colorado is known for our leadership in advanced manufacturing, and we are excited that Toro recognizes the opportunities for growth in Frederick, creating up to 45 good-paying jobs for Coloradans,” Polis said in a press statement.

Toro designs, manufactures, and markets lawn mowers, snow blowers, irrigation system supplies and other products for commercial, residential, agricultural and public sector uses. The products are distributed through a global network of distributors, dealers, rental stores and retailers in more than 125 countries. The company celebrated the opening of its new R&D center at a ribbon-cutting Friday.

“Customer and environmental needs drive our innovation priorities with a focus on battery, autonomous and smart-connected solutions,” John Hurst, senior director for Toro’s Center for Technology, Research and Innovation, said in a written statement. “This investment in the Frederick facility expands our operational capacity, enables us to add talent and further supports our efforts to provide innovative solutions to our global customers, making their jobs easier and more productive.”

Toro expects to create up to 45 net new jobs at an average annual wage of $106,889, which is 179.6% of the average annual wage in Weld County. The positions will include engineers, customer support, and technicians, the state said in its announcement.

“Advanced manufacturing accounts for approximately 30% of Colorado’s economy. By choosing Weld County for expansion, Toro will continue to diversify this important industry and ensure that rural communities like Frederick benefit from good-paying jobs,” said Eve Lieberman, OEDIT executive director. 

In April 2023, the Colorado Economic Development Commission approved up to $519,626 in performance-based Job Growth Incentive Tax Credits for the company over an eight-year period. The incentives are contingent upon Toro, referred to as Project Columbia throughout the OEDIT review process, meeting net new job creation and salary requirements.

Frederick mayor Tracie Crites said that the addition of Toro reaffirms “Frederick’s position for innovative, cutting-edge opportunities that improve quality of life. Frederick has a growing community of advanced manufacturing that supports industries including aerospace, biosciences, and robotics.” 

In addition to Colorado, Toro also considered Minnesota, where it is headquartered, for expansion. The company has more than 11,000 employees, 27 of whom are in Colorado. 

When the company bought Left Hand Robotics, it said it would be maintaining its facility in Longmont. However, the company now said that it is relocating that staff and operation to Frederick into the new, leased 28,000-square-foot R&D operation.

The facility is at 4160 Busch Place in the Bear Industrial Park, which fronts Interstate 25 on the east side, south of Colorado Highway 119. The developers of the project, Nick Larson and Jeff Hoffman of Bear Peak Development, acquired the site in 2021 and built a turnkey engineering and manufacturing facility for their tenant, Toro.

Toro produced its first robotic mower for the homeowner market in 2022 and began field testing its GeoLink Autonomous Fairway Mower to help golf courses alleviate labor shortages and budget constraints. 

FREDERICK — Lawn care company The Toro Co. (NYSE: TTC) has selected Frederick for a research and development center for its robotics division.

Gov. Jared Polis and the Global Business Development Division of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade said Friday that the company has decided to accept a state grant in order to establish the center there. 

BizWest previously reported that Toro was likely the company that had been offered incentives in April 2023 to establish its robotics operation in Colorado. Toro bought Longmont company Left Hand Robotics in 2021. Left Hand had developed robotic snow…

Ken Amundson
Ken Amundson is managing editor of BizWest. He has lived in Loveland and reported on issues in the region since 1987. Prior to Colorado, he reported and edited for news organizations in Minnesota and Iowa. He's a parent of two and grandparent of four, all of whom make their homes on the Front Range. A news junkie at heart, he also enjoys competitive sports, especially the Rapids.
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