AGY, manufacturer of fiberglass yarns, was once the largest manufacturing employer in Huntingdon. Economic changes, corporate incentives, changing supply chains and much more led to the eventual decline of the company’s footprint in Huntingdon County. AGY, headquartered in Aiken, S.C., began operations in Huntingdon in 2007 after purchasing the building that formerly operated as Owens-Corning Fiberglass. Over time, many components of the plant’s operations have been sent to the AGY headquarters in Aiken, S.C. On July 25, 2012 corporate executives for AGY announced their plans to sell the Huntingdon facility and its operations. At this point the plant employed only 55 people.
The staff of Huntingdon County Business and Industry jumped in to action with the assistance of the Governor’s Action Team to aid in the process of finding a buyer. Fearful that the wrong buyer would lead to the loss of the final 55 jobs, the process was slow and painful at best.
Eventually a serious buyer emerged – Stonewood Capital Management of Pittsburgh. Research showed the firm had significant experience in owning and operating manufacturing facilities. “Stonewood is excited to invest in the continuous filament mat (CFM) business and assist the Huntingdon management team in its efforts to capitalize on growth initiatives.” – Ken Moritz, Stonewood Capital Management. They also opted to partner with former AGY plant manager – Paul Geist. Paul would eventually become part owner and president of the organization. He played a vital role in keeping this business operational in Huntingdon.
The 55 plant employees retained their jobs, as they were hired by the new company, and Moritz said the facility hoped to add an additional 15-20 employees within the following six to eight months. Geist said the support of the governor’s Action Team, Walker and Huntingdon County Business and Industry (HCBI) were “key in allowing us to acquire this business” and that their support will be instrumental in future expansion projects.
“My partners at Stonewood Capital and I have been very pleased with the support we’ve received from the community, but also from the governor’s Action Team to make sure we keep these jobs here in Huntingdon,” Geist said.
At a time when many manufacturers are leaving the region, Huntingdon County Business and Industry executive director Amy Wise said the company’s intention to retain and build jobs is refreshing. “We have been working with the company and they have said how pleased they are to be able to keep jobs here,” Wise said. “I think this is a boost to the economy at a much needed time.”