On this propitious day, with the Heaven embracing the Earth, we burn incense and reverently request the Beneficent and Good God of the Earth, the Terrestrial Sage and his Valiant Consort, pioneer Wu Yi Wang, to descend and approach us on the occasion of the completion of the Compeq International Corp. facility. . . . May we have good fortune and flourish, and may all go according to our hearts' desires!
That's the dedicatory prayer with which Compeq International President Charles C. Wu launched the opening Thursday of the Taiwanese company's new printed circuit board manufacturing facility just completed at the Salt Lake International Center.Amid flying American and Taiwanese flags and a table laden with candles, various fruits and what appeared to be dried meats, the ceremony then moved to the lighting of hundreds of sticks of incense, the burning of stacks of symbolic "gold paper money," a great deal of bowing among all involved, and the ignition of a 10-foot-high tower of firecrackers that, for a minute, made the business park west of the International Airport sound like the Kuwaiti warfront.
Following all of that drama, the traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony seemed a bit anticlimactic.
Compeq, based in Taoyuan, Taiwan, Republic of China, first announced in April 1989 that it had chosen Salt Lake City to build a 165,000-square-foot plant to manufacture multilayer printed circuit boards for customers that include IBM, Intel, Samsung, Unisys, NCR, Wang, Honeywell, Olivetti and General Electric.
It was the first Taiwanese firm to be recruited to the United States through the efforts of a state foreign office (which Utah maintains in Taipei, Taiwan), said Russ Behrmann, public information officer for the Utah Department of Community and Economic Development. That effort included visits to Taiwan by Gov. Norm Bangerter and Utah trade officials.
On Thursday, it all came to fruition when the single-level gray and blue facility was officially opened. A spokesman for Compeq said hiring will now get under way with about 200 employees, mostly local hires, scheduled to be on board by the end of the year. By 1994, employment at Compeq is expected to top 500 with an annual payroll of $15 million and sales of $50 million throughout North and South America.
Initially, said the spokesman, a group of 45 personnel from Taiwan will train Utah workers. They will then return to Taiwan as the new employees become proficient in their positions.
Compeq is said to be among the 10 largest printed circuit board manufacturers in the world.
During the dedicatory ceremonies - all of which were conducted in Chinese with an abbreviated translation in English - Compeq Chairman H.W. Chen told the gathering of some 100 people under a tent in the parking lot that prior to coming to Utah he had asked his associates, "What kind of place is Utah? Not even a bird would like to lay an egg there."
But now he knows better, he said, adding that the egg has been laid and "I hope it grows into an eagle."
Bangerter replied in kind that it was, indeed, "a good day to build a nest and lay an egg" in Utah, and he welcomed the company to the state. The governor was joined at the ceremonies by Lt. Gov. Val Oveson and Mayor Palmer DePaulis among other officials.