March16,2017-Electronics contract manufacturer Jabil Circuit (JBL), based in St Petersburg Florida has purchased Beckman Coulter, a California firm. The purchase will mean Beckman’s circuit board making plant in Porterville will close in a phased sequence over the next 2 years, as all operations are moved to Malaysia.
Porterville City Manager John Lollis got the bad news March 9 that the long time employer will shut down leaving 145 workers out of a job here.The company has been part of Porterville since 1965 and is considered the town’s oldest industry. At one time they employed over 500.
The new company called Nypro, a Jabil Company, bought everything but the 100,000sf plant on 35 acres that “ we hope can attract a new employer in time” suggests Lollis.
Lollis says they had talked to the new company to see if there was any possibility to retain the business here but found there was none.
The company held a teleconference with employees last week. Lollis says the parent company does have some facilities in the US and there is a chance some who want to transfer could find jobs and not have to consider transferring to Malaysia.
Beckman’s history in town includes contamination from the manufacturing process that spread a giant plume throughout Portervile’s groundwater in the 1980s, a problem that is largely behind the community now. EPA has already given the cleanup a final ok with the exception of one well that is expected to be clear of any problem by the time the property is marketed.
Ironically, the spreading plume affected rural wells in the area not yet in the city and had the effect of spurring annexation, growing Porterville, to get people on city water. Water issues in rural East Porterville today are having the same affect.
As one chapter with a dot-com company closes another is the opening in town of a clean energy firm, a Canadian all-electric bus maker and their partners potentially hiring many people here in the future.