Katerra opens new factory, boosts leadership team

Silicon Valley-headquartered, high-tech prefabricated builder Katerra has opened its new factory in Spokane Valley, Washington, which it claims will be one of the biggest producers of cross-laminated timber (CLT) products in the US.

A hundred workers will make engineered wood products at the 270,000-sq-ft facility, which opened Friday 20 September near the junction of Interstate 90 and North Barker Road, costing $150m, reports newspaper The Spokesman-Review. 

Washington state governor Jay Inslee tweeted of the opening: "This is just one example of how we can create jobs, transition to a cleaner economy and build new infrastructure with a lower carbon footprint through innovation." 

Katerra already has one component and finishing factory operating in Phoenix, Arizona, and another component and finishing factory planned for construction in Tracy, California.

Its Spokane Valley plant is its first mass timber production line, occupying 29 acres, the company says. 

Having launched in India, Katerra also has a precast concrete, finish and joinery factory in Krishnagiri, Tamil-Nadu, and one for modular concrete components, facades and finishes in Hyderabad, Telangana.

Last week Katerra announced that Matthew Marsh had become the company’s new chief financial officer, replacing Joanne Solomon, who was leaving the company to pursue new opportunities. Prior to Katerra, Marsh was CFO and executive vice president for Australian and New York-listed building materials group James Hardie Industries. Marsh also worked for 16 years at General Electric.

Marsh is responsible for overseeing the company’s global financial operations as well as human resources, legal, and mergers and acquisitions.

Also new to Softbank-backed Katerra is Lisa Picard, who joins as a director of Katerra’s Board. Picard is president and CEO of EQ Office and leads a 20 million square foot portfolio of assets for Blackstone Group.

Mollie Fadule has joined as head of affordable housing. She is co-founder and partner of Cephas Partners, a private equity firm specialising in alternative investments with a primary focus on real estate.

"These three new appointments further strengthen Katerra’s leadership team as the company focuses on executing its vision of smarter building, better communities, for everyone," said Michael Marks, co-founder and CEO of Katerra. "Matthew, Lisa, and Mollie add important, diverse expertise to Katerra’s management team. Their combined experience positions the company well for its growth in domestic and international markets."

Image: At Katerra’s Spokane Valley factory opening, 20 September 2019 (Katerra via Twitter)

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