Plastic Molding Technology Inc. is betting its future on the Southwest and winding down more than 30 years in the Northeast.
The precision molder will cease production at its Seymour, Conn., plant at the end of April and consolidate operations in May at a 40,000-square-foot, leased facility in El Paso, Texas. A sales and engineering office will remain in Seymour until the end of the year.
PMT informed employees of the plan and began moving presses in November, and made a public announcement March 27. The firm extended relocation offers to 14 Connecticut employees and eight accepted. PMT opened the Seymour plant in 1989 and at one time employed 80 there. PMT will try to lease the 26,000-square-foot site.
``We pulled up roots in response to key customer requests,'' Charles A. Sholtis, president and chief executive officer, said in a telephone interview. PMT sells primarily to Tier 1 and 2 automotive suppliers.
In May 2001, PMT established a 12,000-square-foot satellite plant in El Paso. That operation employs 32 in molding and assembly and will move three miles to the new site in an existing building. PMT is investing about $450,000 for infrastructure and improvements including cranes and water tower systems.
The company now has 43 presses in the El Paso locations and soon will move the six remaining in Seymour.
PMT made a business decision to relocate, Sholtis said. The alternative was to close the business.
``It has been a difficult period for all manufacturers in the U.S.,'' Sholtis said. ``We feel our government has left manufacturing to wither on the vine.''
The firm has ``greater visibility and interest from new customers'' because of the Texas location, he said. ``We would not see them in the Northeast.''
Sholtis said he sees opportunities in Latin America and may consider establishing a maquiladora in Mexico.
There are ``some good competitive solutions in the region, whether in Mexico or Costa Rica,'' in part related to investment in automotive plants, he said.
His Detroit-based brother, Todd Sholtis, is vice president of new business development. Their father, Charles E. Sholtis, founded the business in Bridgeport, Conn., in 1973 and continues as PMT chairman and chief technology officer. The family owns 70 percent of PMT, and an employee stock ownership plan owns 30 percent.
PMT had sales of $11.8 million for the fiscal year ended in October 2002.