Stillwater News Press

Our View

July 6, 2014

OUR VIEW: Industrial diversity a key

STILLWATER, Okla. — It began with such promise in July 2012. Total Energy announced its purchase of the former Quad/Graphics printing facility and a plan to renovate it into a fabrication plant for large storage tanks, towers and pressure vessels.

Total Energy CEO/President Robert Armentano said Stillwater also would be home to its new engineering and construction division, and planned to employ 200 people by the end of 2014.

It all disappeared last month. Total Energy shut down its Stillwater plant, laying off 55 workers. The company is trying to sell its plant.

This is a blow to Stillwater’s economy. Not a devastating blow as it would have been during the Great Recession, but it puts a dent in Stillwater’s attempt to diversify an education-driven economy.

The city’s largest employers include Oklahoma State University, the state Department of Career and Technology Education and Stillwater Public Schools.

ASCO Aerospace USA is ramping up for production and hiring. The Stillwater facility will make large subassemblies for passenger jets. It will provide high-paying jobs for its workers. It could also change Stillwater’s economic landscape if its suppliers will open facilities in Stillwater.

Oklahoma State University’s budget is more than $1 billion, and the university is growing and flourishing. A diverse industrial climate will soften the blow when an industry goes belly up.

 

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