ITW’s Hobart Welding Products plans to relocate 54 jobs from Troy to Wisconsin is “a setback” and an opportunity, officials said Tuesday.
Hobart Welding announced Monday evening the company will relocate the welding equipment operations to Appleton, Wis., in coming months.
City government and development officials were unaware of the company’s plans prior to a conference call with them Monday, just before the public announcement.
>>RELATED: Hobart has been around for 100 years
The relocation “is a setback, but then an opportunity, too, to grow and expand,” said Mayor Mike Beamish on Tuesday, who was on the call.
The company said the move will allow it to align all machine assembly, warehousing, and customer service within operations at its sister company, Miller Electric. Miller produces a number of Hobart equipment products.
All 54 employees have been given the opportunity to move with the operations to Wisconsin, Becky Tuchscherer, group president Miller Electric, said Tuesday.
Employees choosing not to relocate are eligible to apply for open positions at the remaining ITW Filler Metals operation and at ITW’s Food Equipment operation in Troy. The Food Equipment Group employs around 500 at its Troy technical center, headquarters and production plant, said J.C. Wallace, president of the Troy Development Council. ITW owns both the former Hobart Brothers Co. and Hobart Food Equipment Group, buying both in the 1990s.
The Filler Metals operation, headquartered in Troy, employs 400 people in four facilities. Two are in Troy, where the majority of employees are employed, along with one in Piqua and the fourth in Traverse City, Mich.
“We continue a strong commitment to the Troy community with that team,” Tuchscherer said.
The welding products operation is located in a building off Corporate Drive leased from Miller Valentine Group, Tuchscherer said.
Richard Thompson, vice president marketing, ITW Welding North America, said the Hobart companies have “a great, long history” in the Troy community.
Beamish said city officials were assured the decision to relocate the operations was business based. “It had nothing to do with the community and the workforce,” he said. “They were careful to emphasize it was a business only decision to relocate to align with their Miller Electric.”
Troy also is home to the Hobart Institute of Welding Technology in Troy. The nonprofit institute is in the process of expanding in the city’s Westbrook area.
The development council’s Wallace said ITW is a “great corporation citizen,” active in the development council and community efforts such as the United Way.
Acknowledging that “no one likes to lose jobs,” Wallace said several city employers such as Clopay and Arc Abrasives are expanding along with others in the region such as Whirlpool in Greenville.
Wallace said the local job market has numerous openings for skilled employees. “I don’t remember us having so many job openings,” he said.
“It is very significant for the people that are impacted,” Wallace said of the welding products jobs relocation. “For me, the whole welding operation has been a big part of Troy history and a lot of people are proud of the products they have made over the years.”
Hobart Welding contacted the OhioMeans Jobs Miami County office Monday about the relocation. The center, at the county Department of Job and Family Services, will work with those affected by the relocation to ensure they are aware of services available at the center, said Teresa Brubaker, director Miami County Job and Family Services.
Those services include resume writing, class training for skils that may need “brushed up on,” interview techniques and on the job training are a few of the services the center offers, Brubaker said.