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February 1, 2014

Norwich firm to close, lay off 120 workers

Norwich Aero operations will shut down early next year, leaving 120 workers without jobs, officials said this week, and Commerce Chenango said that news about the publicly traded company was a shock to the local business community.

The parent Esterline Corp. is undergoing a restructuring, which was announced late in 2013, with plans to “make the corporation more agile and customer focused,” according to a media release from the Norwich manufacturer.

Esterline Advanced Senors will consolidate its manufacturing base and U.S. production, now conducted at Norwich Aero, will be moved to facilities in Tijuana, Mexico, the release said. Some administrative functions will be moved to a sister company in Buena Park, Calif.

The announcement Wednesday that Norwich Aero would close in early 2015, putting 120 employees out of work, was a shock, according to media release from Commerce Chenango, a nonprofit business advocacy organization.

“Commerce Chenango has reached out to state and federal partners to explore ways to lessen the impact on the local economy and to assist displaced workers to find new employment,” Steve Craig, president and chief executive officer of Commerce Chenango, said in the release.

Workers at the 57,000 square-foot manufacturing facility in Norwich produce quality products, with attention to detail and quick turn around time, and customer service that has resulted in ongoing expansion, the corporate website said. Norwich Aero maintains an AS9100 certified quality system that is recognized by leading aerospace companies, such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Rolls Royce Corp., the site said. 

Though Esterline informed the investment community previously that a major restructuring was being planned, no indication was given until this week that the Chenango County plant was slated for closure, Commerce Chenango said.

“To say that this news comes as a surprise is an understatement, given the ongoing strong performance of the Norwich Aero plant,” Craig said.

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