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Nelson area hit with big blow to economy after layoffs announced at Pacific Insight

Nelson Daily Staff
By Nelson Daily Staff
October 18th, 2018

When the dust settles following Saturday’s municipal election politicians from both City of Nelson and Regional District will need to deal with the loss of more jobs in the regional following the recent announcement of layoffs at Pacific Insight west of Nelson.

The layoffs are expected to happen by October 31st and will leave approximately 100 workers employed at the Nelson operation. Affected employees will be offered severance packages.

Kristine Walczack, Vice President of Corporate Communications said the “reduction in workforce” is associated with the automotive sector at Pacific Insight.

Walczak said there has been pressure from customers to consolidate pricing for several years and with work being done already at a plant in Monterry, Mexico, it was decided to shift this part of the operation.

“This is in no way a reflection with the quality of work being down at Pacific Insight,” Walczack said. 

Walczack, who said work in the commercial lines at Pacific Insight would remain in place, could not give specifics on number of workers affected by this decision but did say staff would have work until the end of October.

Founded in Nelson in 1984, Pacific Insight offers design, development, manufacturing and delivery of electronic products and full-service solutions to the automotive, commercial vehicle and specialty markets. 

It’s the manufacturing of electronics for the automotive industry that is being transferred a facility in Mexico that is causing the loss of jobs.

In August of 2017, Pacific Insight Electronics Corp. entered into a definitive agreement with Methode Electronics Inc. to acquire all of the outstanding shares of the Nelson company in an all-cash transaction for $144 million CAD.

Methode Electronics Inc., a manufacturer of LED-based ambient and direct lighting for vehicles employs approximately 1,100 people at Fresnillo, Mexico, Vancouver and Detroit as well as Nelson. At the time of the sale, there were no mention of layoffs in any of the company’s locations, nor the fate of the Nelson operation.

Instead, it was believed the company was expected to grow and continue on, noted Stuart Ross, Pacific Insight’s chief executive officer, in a press release. He said Methode was the ideal partner for Pacific Insight given the complementary nature of the products and expertise both companies possess.

Methode is a global developer of custom engineered and application specific products and solutions with manufacturing, design and testing facilities in China, Egypt, Germany, India, Italy, Lebanon, Malta, Mexico, Singapore, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. 

Methode designs, manufactures and markets devices employing electrical, electronic, wireless, safety radio remote control, sensing and optical technologies to control and convey signals through sensors, interconnections and controls. 

This is the second clean industry in the Nelson area that has decided to change its business direction. In June, Can-Filters, located at Six Mile, was closed by its parent company Hawthorne Gardening. The decision saw 27 employees handed pink slips.

Hawthorne Gardening Company, based in New York, New York, purchased Can-Filters in October 2017.

Categories: Business

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