Rutland Herald (VT)
October 26, 2012
Section: NEWS

Omya moving more jobs to Ohio

   Bruce Edwards

PROCTOR - Omya Inc., which moved its North American headquarters from this town several years ago, is now relocating the technical laboratory from Proctor to the company's regional headquarters in Cincinnati. The technical lab has 24 employees, but company spokeswoman Linda Pleiman said Thursday it was not yet known exactly how many of those jobs would be sent to Ohio.

"It's too early to say how many positions will locate to Cincinnati or how many will remain in Proctor or in other positions in Vermont," Pleiman said in an email. "We will not know this until after the plan is complete."

The relocation will take place starting next year.

"Our current business, coupled with our future expectations, require closer collaboration between our laboratories and our sales, operations and engineering groups," Tony Colak, Omya CEO for Region Americas, said in a statement Thursday.

Colak said the company is committed to offering employees "our full support during this transition."

The relocation does not affect the company's calcium carbonate plant in Pittsford, which has 125 employees.

Omya had 35 remaining employees in Proctor prior to this move, including the lab and geology departments. Five years ago, that number was 120.

Although the loss of the jobs is disappointing, Jamie Stewart of the Rutland Economic Development Corp. said from a strict business perspective the decision made sense.

"We preach that to the businesses here in Vermont," said Stewart, REDC's executive director. "As we're talking about lean practices within business and industry ... you want that most efficient flow of business to occur."

When Omya relocated its headquarters from Proctor, he said, it was obvious the area could no longer count on the ancillary jobs that supported its North American manufacturing plants.

Since announcing its headquarters relocation in 2007, Omya has slowly reduced its presence and workforce in Proctor, the one-time home of the Vermont Marble Company. Omya purchased Vermont Marble in 1976.

In 2007, Omya initially moved 50 jobs from Proctor to Cincinnati, including human resources, accounting and finance, engineering, purchasing and environmental services.

Omya Region Americas employs approximately 900 people in 27 locations in North and South America. Based in Oftringen, Switzerland, the company employs 7,000 people in more than 50 countries.

Omya is the world's largest producer of calcium carbonate The mineral is used in the paper, paint, plastics, food, chemical and pharmaceutical industries.