WHAT’S GOING ON at IRC Plant? Last of Employees Laid Off, Company Pondering Options for Property

Published Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at 12:00 pm

IRC has officially closed the plant and laid off the vast majority of those on the payroll. Photo by Jesse Wood

By Jesse Wood

Oct. 17, 2012. For years, the parking lot of the International Resistive Corporation (IRC) plant on Greenway Road was filled with more than one hundred of its employees’ vehicles. On Wednesday morning, the parking lot was nearly empty with seven cars. 

In August 2011, TT Electronics, which bought the IRC plant in 1990,  announced that it was closing the plant and the vast majority of its 143 employees would be laid off by or before 2013.

Well, that occurred in mid July, according to Michelle Coleman, vice president of human resources for TT electronics.

“The plant is now shut down. We are just doing some final cleaning of it that needs to be done to the site,” Coleman said. “The site is now closed.” 

So what will become of the property located at 736 Greenway Road now that the plant is closed?

Coleman said she wasn’t at “liberty” to provide any concrete details as of yet.

Photo by Jesse Wood

“We are still in the process of really just evaluating what we are doing with it,” Coleman said. “There are a couple different options.” 

Tax records show that 17-acre property  has a tax value of $3,430,700. The land’s tax value is $1,176,300, and the tax value of the 149,616-square-foot building is $2,254,400.

Only one sale of the property, which is some of the flattest land in Boone and is located in a prime area, was noted in the tax records. That sale took place in November 1986 with a purchase price of $450,000.

IRC plant opened in 1953 and operated independently until 1968, after which several parent companies have owned IRC. From 1968 to 1986, TRW Corporation owned IRC, and from 1986 to 1990, Crystalate LLC owned it. The British-based TT electronics has owned IRC since it bought the company in 1990 and operates a vast umbrella, controlling numerous companies in the transportation, medical, defense and aerospace and industrial fields. At IRC, Greene said she manufactures resistors and chips for computers and parts for the military and NASA.

Coleman said the “majority of these products,” some of which are thin film products and wirewound devices, will be manufactured at an existing facility in Mexicali, Mexico, where some of those who have been employed in Boone are now are doing “transition work.”

“Due to competitive challenges, we need to move the product manufacturing to a facility that can have a more competitive price structure,” Coleman said last year.

The IRC property is located in a prime spot and is some of the flattest land in Boone. Photo by Jesse Wood

Some administrative and sales positions within IRC remain in Boone, although Coleman did not have an exact figure of how many locals were still on the payroll as of press time Wednesday.

Those who were laid off were to be given a 60-day notice, offered a severance and will be provided with assistance for outplacement and training through local and state resources, according to a press release from TT electronics, according to a 2011 press release.

“If people are interested in moving to another facility, if we have positions, we are giving them that opportunity,” Coleman said.

IRC has four other facilities in the country: Corpus Christi and Dallas, Texas, Fullerton, Calif., and Smithfield, N.C.

Last year High Country Press interviewed Linda Greene, one of the employees who was eventually laid off, for a story about the plant’s closing:

Linda Greene is among the workers who will be unemployed a year from now. For 35 years, she has worked at the plant. She said the announcement “seemed to come out of nowhere,” and she “hopes” to be able to make ends meet in the future.

“I’ll probably go back to school and take a few classes,” Greene said.

She began working at IRC after graduating from high school, and over the years, she has grown fond of her colleagues.

“Being there so long and seeing people retire that you worked with for so long…yeah, I’ll miss my friends,” Greene said.

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