LONDONDERRY — There will be 133 fewer jobs in town when a local engineering company relocates to California.
Londonderry-based Meggitt Sensing Systems, which engineers sensors for aircraft, announced Monday the company would be consolidating its two locations into one in Southern California in the next two years.
"Right now, we have a facility in California with 250 employees and a facility here with 130," Meggitt spokesman Daniel Guliano said. "Neither facility is large enough to have the resources it needs to get the work done. By combining the two facilities, we should have enough talent in one spot to accomplish what we need to accomplish."
He said since the New Hampshire facility at 144 Harvey Road is smaller, it makes more sense to move a smaller number of people across the country.
"The people in California will be building or buying a new, bigger facility over the next two years, one that can absorb the work that is moving from here," he said.
Guliano said employees here will have the opportunity to apply for jobs in California if they choose.
"It's two years away. Maybe some people would prefer to stay in New England and will apply to jobs here," he said. "Others may want to move to California. Some people will pursue the opportunity and some will not."
Town Manager David Caron said local officials will be working with the state to help Meggitt's employes.
"Andre Garron in community development will be working to the best extent possible to minimize the disruption in these citizens' lives as the company moves to California," he said.
Londonderry has fared well during the economic downturn and hasn't seen many layoffs like this, according to Caron.
"We haven't had any mass layoffs in the community for a number of years, even with the economic challenges" he said Monday. "Up until today, the town has escaped this sort of announcement, which speaks well to our manufacturing and employment base. But one closing is one too many."
Colin Manning, spokesman for Gov. John Lynch, said the state is already working with the company to help displaced employees find new jobs.
"It's going to be a difficult time for the employees and their families," he said. "Our Department of Resources and Economic Development has various programs and will be informing people of the programs available to them. Also, there is some time, two years, before the move."
Peter Huber, president of Meggitt Sensing Systems said the consolidation is for the good of the company.
"I know how disappointing this is for our Londonderry staff that has always performed very well," he said. "That is why they remain important to us and why we will give them all the assistance we can to help them land on their feet."
He said the move isn't a reflection of the state's business climate.
"We enjoy being here," he said. "It's unfortunate our particular set of circumstances makes it imperative that we move to California."
The company hasn't yet decided how many additional employees would be needed in California, according to Huber, they may downsize or they may grow.
"An awful lot depends on the workload and the habitat in California, whether they can hire more people or won't need to hire people," he said. "Because it's two years away, I really don't know yet."
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