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Company plans cool hub downtown

YOUNGSTOWN — A nearly 30,000-square-foot warehouse on the east end of downtown is planned to become the worldwide manufacturing and distribution hub for Zoetic Global’s supply of refrigerant, according to the technology company’s new chief global business development officer, former Congressman Tim Ryan.

“A big part of what we do is reindustrialize older areas that have seen a lot of job loss, especially in cities like Youngstown, so the first move is Youngstown,” Ryan said. “I think we’ll have another facility in Cleveland at some point for some of our other energy work, but all the refrigerant stuff will be done in Youngstown.”

The facility will service North America and the world, he said.

A lease has been signed for the building at 360 E. Federal St. Already, some work is being done to prepare the site to open,

“We do have some refrigerants there for some pilot programs we are doing,” Ryan said.

“We’ll probably start, have it up and running probably in July. We’ll start with a dozen people or so and then up to, hopefully, hundreds at some point once we start really servicing the market around the world,” Ryan said. “It’s pretty cool. It’s going to be right down next to Penguin City brewery.”

Zoetic Global, a minority-owned company that provides energy, water and food technologies to areas of need around the world, early this week announced the new role for Ryan, who after 20 years as a U.S. representative for the Mahoning Valley lost a bid for U.S. Senate last year.

Youngstown, said Ryan, was already on Zoetic Global’s radar to locate a facility before his arrival at the company. Its executive leadership share working-class sensibilities and concerns, he said. Co-founder Jerome Ringo is from Lake Charles, La., and co-founder Avery Hong is from western New York but attended law school school at the University of Akron and lives in Cleveland.

“So we want this to be a company that is very good to the employees, that we are doing stuff that is good for the environment. Be the kind of company that I think most Americans want companies to be like,” Ryan said. “Not solely for profit only … you can also try to do a lot of good along the way, and that’s what we want to do.”

Ryan said the company formed about six years ago. It acquired the refrigerant technology about a year ago and is in the process of acquiring other technology in the hydrokinetic, wind, solar and hydrogen industries.

Ryan said he will be involved with the Youngstown facility and another in Columbus, the company’s headquarters for its carbon credit operation.

According to Zoetic Global, companies that work with it realize a 20 percent to 40 percent savings on their cooling costs and share in carbon credits supported by energy and emissions reduction data. It has offices in Washington, D.C.; Qatar, Singapore; and Nigeria, according to its website.

The company’s list of technologies includes refrigerants projects in the U.S., Asia, Middle East and Africa. Other initiatives include providing access to hydrokinetic, wind and solar power, energy-efficiency technologies and systems for supplementing electrical supply and infrastructure in remote areas, according to the company.

Ryan said the company is in “pretty advanced discussions with companies that have really big data center operations” that need a lot of cooling. Other markets include shopping malls, casinos and commercial real estate.

He also sees potential locally with Foxconn, the company that is manufacturing electric vehicles at the former General Motors assembly plant; Ultium Cells, where EV battery cells are mass produced; and the HomeGoods distribution center, all in Lordstown, as well as local grocers.

The more the company grows, the more people that will be hired in Youngstown, he said.

“These are going to be good, union jobs. They are going to pay well, above market rate. They will have health care benefits and retirement,” Ryan said. “Our hope is we can have hundreds of jobs down there at some point that will be paying taxes to the city of Youngstown.”

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