Auburn Plant Closing; 150 Jobs Lost

AUBURN, AL (WXTX) - It's another major blow to the local economy in Lee County. Just two months after Michelin announced it would be closing its B.F. Goodrich plant, a plant in Auburn says it will also be closing.

News Leader 9 has learned that 157 employees at the Auburn Division of Pace Industries will be displaced as of July 20th. The Plant Manager at Pace Industries says bad market conditions has forced his plant to shut down. "Obviously the economy is what got us in this position," Michael Bakaric, the plant manager said.

The plant produces aluminum molds often used in engine components. Pace even supplied dye casting to the Auburn Briggs and Stratton Plant, which produces lawn equipment. "For the company, Pace is really super committed to workforce development and people, and for us as a family this has been a really tough decision," Bakaric said.

Management notified employees on May 21st that they would be displaced within just sixty days. "All of the employees at this facility will be displaced, or some place different. They may not be at this facility but they may be at another one, or working at another company," Bakaric said.

Mayor Bill Ham is optimistic that his economic development team can replace the soon-to-be lost jobs. "The 150 to 155 jobs that are at Pace are ones we feel like we will replace fairly readily," Ham said.

There's no official word on what the company will do with the facility, but the Auburn City leaders are optimistic. "We do understand that they're not going to put the property on the market, that they hopefully have some plans to put another division there at some point," Ham said.

"Pace Industries has been a corporate citizen of Auburn since 2005. It's the first plant to close its doors in the Auburn Technology Park North.

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