Johnson Controls closing Kendallville facility

June 15th, 2012

News Coverage:

Johnson Controls closing Kendallville facility

By Dennis Nartker

Friday, June 15, 2012, 12:22pm

KENDALLVILLE — Johnson Controls Interior Manufacturing (JCIM) announced Friday its Kendallville factory will close Aug. 31 with the loss of apporximately 170 jobs.

Company officials told employees Friday morning at the manufacturing plant at 300 S. Progress Drive in the East Industrial Park.

“This is a big blow to Kendallville,” Mayor Suzanne Handshoe said Friday. “We’ve been discussing expansion with them, so this comes as a surprise.”

“This took us all by surprise,” Noble County Economic Development executive director Rick Sherck said Friday. “We had been looking at expansion options and growth opportunities with them.”

Debra L. Lacey, spokesperson for JCIM corporate headquarters in Plymouth, Mich., said in an email: “We announced that we will be closing the JCIM Kendallville plant, as there is not enough business to sustain the plant long-term, and these is excessive manufacturing capacity.” She went on the state JCIM appreciates the hard work and dedication of the Kendallville JCIM team.

Local plant manager Dale Greer did not return a phone message seeking comment.

JCIM’s Kendallville facility manufactures plastic injection-molded interior parts for the automotive industry.

JCIM took over the former Plastech Engineered Products facility in 2008 after Plastech Engineered Products declared bankruptcy Feb. 1, 2008, and laid off its workforce. JCIM closed 25 of the 38 Plastech plants around the nation, but reopened the local facility. Laid-off workers were called back. At the time, Greer, told city officials the work ethic of local employees, its location and cooperation from the city convinced Johnson Controls to keep the operation in Kendallville going.

The plant became unionized in 2010, the same year the Kendallville City Council granted the company 10 years of tax abatement on $475,641 of new, more efficient equipment that was expected to create 15 additional jobs.

Handshoe said Greer notified her about the closing Thursday night. JCIM is consolidating its smaller plants, according to Handshoe.

The local plant is landlocked and cannot expand at its location. Handshoe and Sherck were discussing expansion options with JCIM officials. A corporate representative looked at a 36-acre “shovel-ready” site, also in the East Industrial Park. JCIM apparently decided it didn’t want to build there, said Handshoe.

City and county economic development officials will do whatever they can to help Johnson Controls employees find other jobs, Handshoe and Sherck said.

Categories LayoffsClosures