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Published September 05, 2009, 07:39 AM

DuraTech makes more layoffs at plant

DuraTech Industries is weathering the nation’s economic problems but having to cut some jobs to do so, according to Jay Grotrian, chief executive officer.

By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun

DuraTech Industries is weathering the nation’s economic problems but having to cut some jobs to do so, according to Jay Grotrian, chief executive officer.

“We’ve reduced our work force,” he said. “We’ve laid off some people but we will be building equipment through the rest of the year and into next spring.”

Grotrian said the latest reductions occurred four to five weeks ago. The plant currently has between 60 and 70 employees working, down from a peak of about 145 people.

“This is after three record-breaking years,” he said. “We had built up an inventory but sales are about 30 percent off the peak now. We anticipate sales going back to what used to be an excellent year in the future.”

DuraTech builds equipment used by the construction and agriculture industries. During the three record-breaking years both industries were strong with operators purchasing new equipment.

“The construction industry is very light now,” Grotrian said. “The ag market is still OK. We had a $3 million month in August and it was all agriculture equipment.”

With an adequate inventory for most products the plant will concentrate for now on building machines that have already been sold.

“Right now we are producing pre-sold products,” Grotrian said. “We’re assembling big tub grinders for the rest of the year and building other ag products. In October we’ll be building equipment in both buildings and all facets, fabricating, welding and assembly, will be in production.”

Grotrian said job cuts are meant to position the company for the long term.

“The worst thing we can do is continue to build and not know where it will go,” he said. “But whenever the slowdown turns we’ll be much stronger coming out of it.”

Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at (701) 952-8452 or by e-mail at knorman@jamestownsun.com

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