In 1989, Suttle opened a production facility in Alajuela, Costa Rica to manufacture traditional products for the global marketplace. The plant employed over 100 workers and 20 support staff including management, engineers, designers, quality assurance, procurement, materials, and logistics specialists.
However, after several years of operating losses and declines in revenue in CSI’s Suttle business segment, the Suttle Costa Rica facility is closing in 2017 and all production consolidated into the Suttle headquarters location in Hector, MN.
During the time the plant has been in operation, management has taken advantage of the Costa Rica government incentives related to maximizing electric consumption and increasing marketable skills in the population. Three back-to-back shifts ensured efficient use of electricity by minimizing machinery start ups. Employees selected for excellent on-the-job accomplishments were offered technical specialization degree programs such as soldering, electronics, etc. to help them improve their skills and abilities.
Through yet another Costa Rican government incentive program Suttle Costa Rica employed incarcerated men from La Reforma Penitentiary. The plant was assigned a building by the Costa Rican government which was reconditioned to serve as the location for assembly operations. The building had capacity to comfortably host 60 inmates per shift, two shifts per work day. The goal of the program was to help provide support to the families while the men are incarcerated, and to contribute to the men’s reintegration into society after their term has been served.