About 30 salaried jobs will be lost at the Howden facility in New Philadelphia as the corporation reviews its manufacturing operations, according to corporate officials.
Until that analysis is completed, no decisions have been made regarding what will happen with the about 65 hourly jobs at the manufacturer of a variety of industrial fans, said Dan Pryor, executive vice president of strategy for Colfax Corp., which is the parent company of Howden Group.
Pryor said manufacturing operations in New Philadelphia will continue as usual during the analysis process. No specific timeframe has been determined, but the analysis is expected to be concluded by the end of this quarter in March.
The salaried jobs will be relocated to other locations, he said. Many of the current employees in those jobs will be given the opportunity to relocate to other Howden facilities, he said.
Initially, Pryor had said that about 60 salaried jobs were involved. However, he later contacted The Times-Reporter to say that 30 jobs will be relocated. The other 30 salaried positions related to manufacturing will remain in New Philadelphia, pending the overall review.
The New Philadelphia Division of Howden North America Inc. is at 338 S. Broadway. The longtime industrial fan manufacturing facility has been known by many names over the years, including Howden Buffalo, New Philadelphia Fan Co. and Joy/Green Fan, but is most well-known locally as the former Joy Manufacturing Co.
Pryor said that the salaried employees are in the sales, engineering and project management, and purchasing operations in New Philadelphia. The announcement was made at a meeting Tuesday. Those jobs will be relocated to other Howden facilities within the United States and Canada, he said. No time frame was provided.
Howden also told employees Tuesday that the corporation "is reviewing its manufacturing operations to optimize its regional footprint — to determine the most efficient and effective way to serve customers," Pryor said.
The review for the region includes Howden facilities in New Philadelphia, Medina and Fairfield (near Cincinnati) in Ohio, and in Winnipeg, Canada.
The announcement regarding the review was made to the local leadership of the United Steelworkers of America, which represents about 65 hourly employees at the New Philadelphia facility.
"They were notified that the review is taking place and about the variety of possibilities being considered, one of which is relocating some or all of the functions now performed in New Philadelphia to one or more of the other facilities," Pryor said. "Any operational changes will only happen after the review is completed and through consultations with the (union) and announced at that time."
"I was, of course, sorry to read the report," said Sam Hitchcock, New Philadelphia City Council President and acting mayor. "The news has a definite impact on our community, especially coming from a company that has been such a strong contributor to the economic health of our city. It is always bad news to see any business reduce operations, but with one that has been an important business member of the community for so long makes the announcement that much more disturbing.
Page 2 of 2 - "I'm hopeful that when the company's review is complete, New Philadelphia will be able to retain as many of the operations as possible. Any time there is a loss of jobs, the city loses important income tax revenue, which affects the general fund budget. We are just going to have to wait until the company's review process is complete and hope for the best."
"It's certainly disappointing that a company located in New Philadelphia for so long has decided to make these changes," said Scott Robinson, president and CEO of the Tuscarawas County Chamber of Commerce. "We certainly hope they'll speak to local economic development representatives in hopes that we can at least have a discussion about what can be done, if anything, to prevent this, or to offer them an incentive that might make them change their mind."
Robinson mentioned the Chamber, Economic Finance and Development Alliance, the Tuscarawas County Community Improvement Corp., New Philadelphia city officials and Tuscarawas County officials.
"The CIC and the community in general are more than willing to work with company leadership to explore possibilities for incentives and support that might help the company to decide to stay in New Philadelphia," said CIC Executive Director Gary Little.
Reach Lee at 330-364-8402 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @lmorrisonTR