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Motor plant closing

April 09, 2003|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

Franklin County economic development officials said the closing this July of the AMETEK Specialty Motors plant at the cost of 180 jobs comes as no surprise.

"We expected this," said L. Michael Ross, president of the Franklin County Area Development Corp. "They lasted longer than we thought. It's no secret the company has production facilities in Mexico and in the Pacific Rim."

AMETEK, which makes electric motors for small appliances, will close the plant at 1051 Sheffler Drive in the Chambers-5 Business Park at the end of July, Bill Burke, spokesman for AMETEK's corporate headquarters outside Philadelphia, said Tuesday.

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The corporation has manufacturing facilities in Mexico and China, he said. The work done at the Chambersburg plant will be switched to plants there, Burke said.

He said the move is being made so the company can better compete in a competitive global environment.

"These kind of production facilities are labor-intensive and their profit margins are small," Ross said.

"We're disappointed for the people who are losing their jobs," he said. "We hope to absorb them into the local economy."

Burke said some salaried employees are being offered jobs in other AMETEK facilities. The company has 55 plants in 17 countries, he said.

Some employees have been offered wage and benefit incentives to stay on the job until the plant closes, Burke said. "We'll help them with job searches," he said.

The plant will close in phases beginning in June.

Some AMETEK employees have worked in the plant since it was opened in 1993 by GS Electric. GS Electric sold the business to SPX Corp. AMETEK bought it from SPX in May 2001, Burke said.

Ross said he was disappointed that AMETEK was never as involved in the community as it could have been. A large employer, it kept a low profile and had only nominal contact with the Chambersburg Development Corp. and the FCADC, he said.

AMETEK leased the relatively new 80,000-square-foot building from Chambersburg Area Development Corp., he said.

"There are not many buildings like that around suited to production," Ross said. "We'll start to market it Aug. 1."

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