ASK-intTag, a joint venture between French RFID manufacturer ASK and U.S.-based WS Packaging Group Inc., will invest $6 million to open a manufacturing facility in Essex Junction, Vermont. Vermont Business magazine reports on its website that the company will lease 15,000 square feet in an IBM facility and initially hire 15 workers, with plans to increase the work force to 90 within three years. ASK-intTag will manufacture contactless inlays for a number of markets requiring secure identification, including mass transit, bank cards, food, healthcare, gaming, and event ticketing. "The importance of having a secure U.S.-based manufacturing operation for contactless cards and tickets is imperative if the full promise of RFID technology and its deployment is to be realized," says Terry Fulwiler, CEO of WS Packaging Group. ASK-intTag officials say that the Vermont location was chosen over one in Ohio because of an incentives package that includes $553,000 in tax breaks, the quality of the available work force, and the company's successful past relationships with IBM. Capital equipment is scheduled to arrive in Vermont by the end of this month, with manufacturing expected to begin sometime this summer.