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ARCHIVED  December 3, 1999

Robertshaw ships jobs to Mexico

FORT COLLINS — Robertshaw Controls Co., the British-owned successor to the Fort Collins firm founded in 1976 as RAM Electronics Corp., has added jobs to its list of exports.

In a scene being played out by electronic manufacturing companies of all sizes, Robertshaw has been quietly paring more than 40 jobs from its work force over the past six months and relocating the manufacturing work, if not the workers, to Mexicali, Mexico.

Now the maker of electronic ignition systems for gas appliances is seeking a tenant for all or part of the 20,000-square-foot building it occupies at Riverside Avenue and Prospect Road.

“As these little companies are absorbed, they are consolidated, and that is what is happening here,” Robertshaw plant manager Steve Furman said. “It was a move that made sense.”

Robertshaw, which designs and makes electronic ignitions for gas water-heaters, furnaces and the like, will eventually employ 1,300 workers at its new manufacturing plant in Mexicali, a border town just south of California’s Imperial Valley.

Manufacturing workers had been notified of the job move six months ago, Furman said. Because local demand for electronic assembly workers has been increasing during the past year, with expansions by companies such as Celestica Colorado and Advanced Energy Industries Inc., most of the departing workers have found other jobs, and in many cases better than the ones they left.

“Almost everyone who left is employed elsewhere,” Furman said. “They’ve been gradually filtering out, and most of the people got raises and better jobs.”

A few members of the manufacturing work force have been retained under a contract with Robertshaw to help manage the logistics of the Mexicali transfer, and the company will keep a design division and its 20 employees in Fort Collins, Furman said.

Robertshaw is a division of British conglomerate Invensis Ltd., whose holdings include British Tire and Rubber and Siebe Electronics. The company purchased home-grown RAM Electronics in 1997 for $3.6 million, and RAM officials said then the acquisition held promise for expansion in Northern Colorado.

“Definite plans are not yet set, but we expect that this will be very favorable for Colorado,” RAM vice President Chris Edwards told The Northern Colorado Business Report in 1997.

RAM had been courting a buyer for years before attracting the attention of Siebe, Robertshaw’s parent.

Denver-based real estate firm Frederick Ross Co. is handling the lease of Robertshaw’s space. The company would prefer to line up a tenant for all of the low, one-story building at the northeast corner of Riverside and Prospect.

“We’re looking for someone that does light manufacturing that is environmentally clean,” Furman said. “If we could lease it all, we would.”

Frederick Ross broker Jamie Gard said the lease rate is $7 per square foot, triple net, meaning that the tenant would pay all operating costs for the property.

FORT COLLINS — Robertshaw Controls Co., the British-owned successor to the Fort Collins firm founded in 1976 as RAM Electronics Corp., has added jobs to its list of exports.

In a scene being played out by electronic manufacturing companies of all sizes, Robertshaw has been quietly paring more than 40 jobs from its work force over the past six months and relocating the manufacturing work, if not the workers, to Mexicali, Mexico.

Now the maker of electronic ignition systems for gas appliances is seeking a tenant for all or part of the 20,000-square-foot building it occupies at Riverside Avenue and Prospect Road.

“As…

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