1. #1
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    Default Homegrown E-One may leave Ocala

    Article published Nov 18, 2006

    Homegrown E-One may leave Ocala

    BY RICK CUNDIFF
    STAR-BANNER

    OCALA & Emergency One, the homegrown fire truck manufacturer that is Marion County's fifth-largest private sector employer, might be on its way out of town & taking nearly 1,300 jobs with it.

    The company issued a press release Friday saying it is looking for a site for a new manufacturing plant. E-One president Marc Gustafson confirmed that the company is considering leaving Ocala for a different location.

    "We are going to explore alternative manufacturing sites," Gustafson said. "Our intent is to stay in the area because it's our first choice, but we will explore all other sites."

    Gustafson said the company expects to make a decision on the new site within the next couple of months.

    A new plant is necessary because the current facility is too old and sprawling to be efficient, Gustafson said.

    "For us to get to the next level, we need to upgrade our facility," he said.

    Ocala International Airport manager Matt Grow said last month that E-One had looked at land by the airport for a possible plant site. Gustafson declined to say what sites the company is looking at, either in-county or elsewhere.

    Gustafson didn't say how long the company has been considering a move, but it appears to have been on the table since at least June.

    Documents released by the Ocala/Marion County Economic Development Corp. in July indicated the agency had been working in June on "Project Blaze," a code name assigned by the state economic development agency, Enterprise Florida.

    While not listing specifics of the confidential project, the "Project Blaze" information did note that the project involved 1,280 current workers and that the company involved was considering a $50 million investment in a new facility.

    The EDC Web site lists E-One as having 1,274 employees, making it the county's fifth-largest private employer.

    In keeping with Enterprise Florida confidentiality requirements, EDC president and CEO Pete Tesch declined Friday to specify the name of the company involved in Project Blaze. But Tesch did say the EDC is working hard to try to keep E-One in town.

    "We've had a long-standing relationship with E-One. They're the county's largest manufacturing employer," he said. "We will be working very closely with them from this date."

    Losing E-One would be a major blow to the local economy, Tesch said.

    "We acknowledge the seriousness of this," he said. "It's going to be our first priority. We will do everything we can to marshal the resources on both the local and state levels to meet those needs."

    Ocala Mayor Randy Ewers agreed E-One is an important part of the city.

    "Certainly it would be a tremendous loss for them to leave the community," he said. "They've been community partners for a long time."

    Ewers works for Class One, a supplier to E-One. If E-One decides to leave, such businesses also could be hurt, he said.

    "There are a lot of small businesses that could be severely impacted," he added.

    Local suppliers to E-One include Classic Fire, Pro Poly of America, Mako Compressors and Ofab Contract Manufacturing, among others.

    Founded by Robert Wormser in Ocala in 1974, E-One has been owned since 1979 by Federal Signal Corp., based in Oak Brook, Ill.

    The company acquired Superior Emergency Equipment in 1991 and Saulsbury Fire Rescue in 1998. Since then, E-One has consolidated all its manufacturing capacity in Ocala, closing Superior plants in Canada and Saulsbury plants in New York.

    The company currently operates in two locations in Ocala. A chassis plant and the main facility operate on the same site on Southwest 37th Avenue, and an airport rescue and fire fighting vehicle plant is located near Ocala International Airport.

    E-One marketing coordinator Amanda Davis said the company's goal was to have manufacturing operations "all under one roof, encompassing."

    Rick Cundiff may be reached at rick.cundiff@starbanner.com or at (352) 867-4130.

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    Doesnt surprise me. The current facility is kind of a cluster-f**k.
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    I dont think they would survive the move.
    "Never share a foxhole with anyone braver than yourself."

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    Thumbs down

    I think that E-One sales are way down from past years, do to there lack of quality and there apparatus prices are higher than: ALF , Kme ,Rosenbauer ,etc. !...
    Last edited by NewJerseyFFII; 11-24-2006 at 04:31 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NewJerseyFFII
    I think that E-One sales are way down from past years, do to there lack of quality and there apparatus prices are higher than: ALF , Kme ,Rosenbauer ,etc. !...
    When we were in the process of buying our truck it was between ALF,PIERCE and E-ONE, ALF and PIERCE were close in pricing and E- ONE was almost $80,000 more. I do know a couple of fd's that have E - ONE and they appear to be happy with their trucks.BE SAFE!

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    All fire apparatus builders make good trucks, but sometimes you may get stuck with a " Lemon " !.. The town next to us has a new 95' E-One midmount platform and so far there happy with it !...

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    In 1990, we bought an E-One engine and thought we'd died and gone to heaven. Solid, reliable, quality piece.

    In 2000, we bought another. Refused the first delivery due to quality issues and had them remake it on another chassis. In service but still has "issues" in day to day operation. Moderately reliable piece.

    Last year we contracted for an E-One tanker. At the time they were being built in Canada by Superior under the E-One label. Naturally, after we signed the contract, they closed that plant and shifted production to Ocala. Tanker was delivered after 18 months. Local dealer has been 6 weeks trying to get it close to our original specs. Piece of s%&#.

    In my mind E-One has a very limited lifespan left. We certainly learned our lesson and won't ever do business with them again.
    Remember, it IS as bad as you think and they ARE out to get you!

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    "Looks like everything is coming to a head. What do you think will happen?"


    They will do the same thing that everyone else does, they will take the best deal. Do you remember when GM announced the new Saturn line? They were looking to build their first assembly plant and cities all over the country made big offers to get it. This is nothing new. Professional sports teams are the best at it........"Build us a new stadium or we are leaving!" It's all part of business and capitalism.
    Last edited by firepiper1; 02-12-2007 at 10:12 AM.
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    I tend to agree with you somewhat but I think the Fire industry may be a little different than a sports team or GM for that matter.

    The way I see it, Fire Trucks are custom built and your company is only as good as the employees you have working there. I don't think you can move into a new city, hire 1300 people and start building trucks again and maintain the same level of quality. I'm assuming there are some employees that have been there a number of years and their experience in building trucks isn't something that is easily replaceable.

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    Content deleted by author.
    Last edited by Firefighter807; 07-08-2009 at 07:26 PM.

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    maybe they are afraid of florida sinking or hurricane damage? i don't care for e-ones but i don't think they are looking for handouts. however i do not see any advantage in moving their company.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Firefighter807 View Post
    Last week, the locoal governments were supposed to vote on a final "incentive" to E-One.

    Makes you wonder how sound they are finacially if they have to go around begging for handouts.
    I am far from being an E-One fan, but just because they are looking for a handout does note mean that they are on shaky ground financially. You would be hard pressed to find any large company not looking for corporate welfare wherever they can get it. It is the way things work nowadays. Why should I move my company to town B when Town A is offering me money and tax breaks? Loyalty means absolutely nothing!! Especially in a large corporation. Don't forget E-One is owned by Federal Signal!!

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    Default E-One

    This is what the local newspaper article had

    BY RICK CUNDIFF
    STAR-BANNER

    OCALA - The state's portion of a proposed $26.7 million economic incentive package for firetruck maker Emergency One is likely to be approved within the next week.

    "It's all a go," state Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, said Thursday. "It's just a matter of signing the paperwork."

    But Pete Tesch, president of the Ocala/Marion County Economic Development Corp., was more reluctant Thursday to say the package is a done deal.

    "Anything that's on the local level or the state level, I don't feel comfortable until it's been approved and in writing," Tesch said. "We're just waiting to, hopefully, hear a positive word from Tallahassee."

    The state, through its economic development organization Enterprise Florida, would provide about $17 million of the proposed incentive package, most of it over a 10-year period. A capital investment tax credit would extend to 20 years.

    A projected drop of $1 billion in state tax revenue in the next fiscal year won't affect the proposal, Baxley said.

    "All these things that we're doing are funds that were provided in previous legislatures," he said.

    The Governor's Quick Closing Fund is a discretionary fund that would provide E-One parent company Federal Signal with $5 million in no-strings-attached cash. That fund is discretionary, and can be used for situations such as job retention, Baxley said.

    "These things are about time-sensitive opportunities," he said.

    While the closing fund money could go back into the general fund if it isn't used, that's not likely, Baxley said.

    "Compared to a $71 billion total, it's not a huge percentage," he said.

    E-One has been negotiating with city, county and state officials since last June over incentives to build a new plant to consolidate production now scattered among several facilities in Ocala. The company announced in November that it is considering possible alternative plant sites outside Florida.

    The city and county have already approved their portions of the incentives package, with the city providing about $5 million, about half in cash and the rest in land lease and fee credits. The county agreed to provide $3.7 million in incentives in the form of impact fee and tax grants.

    Whether Federal Signal will accept the offer is an open question. E-One President Marc Gustafson has said that, while the company wants to remain in Ocala, the final decision will be up to Federal Signal's board of directors, which isn't scheduled to meet again until April.

    If the company asks for more money, both Baxley and Tesch said it probably won't get far.

    "That could be possible," Tesch said. "But it's my opinion the city and county have pretty much done what they were able to do. If there was a request for additional funds, I don't think it would work very well."

    The state is in the same position, Baxley said.

    "I think we're done. I think we've done our best," Baxley said. "I would be embarrassed to go back before the governor and before Enterprise Florida and ask for anything else. If it works, it works. If it doesn't, we have to get to work recruiting other industry."

    Gustafson could not be reached for comment Thursday.

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    So were they just looking for a corporate handout? If you read between the lines here - it sounds like things may be a little shaky on the home front. It's wierd how their priorities have changed in just a few months. There is definately more to the story than were hearing.


    E-One issues statement concerning its decision to stay in Ocala (updated: 6:48 p.m. )

    BY HARRIET DANIELS
    Star-Banner

    It's official: Emergency One is staying in Ocala.

    Company officials spoke with employees at a 4 p.m. meeting to announce the news. They also informed key local officials this afternoon.

    "I'm overjoyed," said Pete Tesch, president and CEO of the Ocala/Marion County Economic Development Corp. "But it's too early, and too many variables (are) in play, to see how the landscape will be for the company."

    Tesch spoke directly with Marc Gustafson, president of E-One, this afternoon. Gustafson confirmed to him that his company will continue to manufacture and market fire trucks from its current facilities.

    But Gustafson also told Tesch that local expansion plans are on hold.

    Efforts to reach Gustafson have been unsuccessful at this hour. But the company did issue a news release that said the decision to stay in Ocala was made "after a comprehensive evaluation process" that lasted more than six months.

    "This investment proposal for a new E-One site is not currently our foremost priority due to the magnitude and complexity," said Robert D. Welding, president and CEO of Federal Signal Corp., the corporate parent of E-One. His quote was in the news release.

    “Instead, we are making investments in our distribution/dealer channels and product development activities which support our commitment of returning E-One to the lead position in the North American fire apparatus industry.”

    The release offers the following quote from Gustafson: “The E-One team will intensify its competitiveness by improving market-facing activities through a broad set of initiatives such as new product development, distribution expansion and value-added services.

    "Our priority is to work with our talented employees, dealer partners and loyal suppliers all of whom are key to our success and critical towards helping our customers accomplish their mission,” he went on to say.

    The release concludes with this from Gustafson: “We sincerely appreciate the support offered by our employees, leaders of government, business and communities over the past several months."

    Tesch and officials from city, county and state government have lobbied hard for E-One to remain in Ocala. The company announced in November that it was seeking a new plant site to replace its existing Ocala facilities and that it was considering sites outside Florida.

    Stay tuned to ocala.com for the latest information.

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    Is this supposed to be bad news? A company decides to put more time/effort/money into it's dealer network and product development activities instead of expanding a factory size?

    That actually makes sense to me. I'd rather the money/time/effort go there. Wouldn't you?
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Default They Are Staying In Ocala

    They Are Staying In Ocala. Today 4/25/07 Confirmed.

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