Compin USA to produce rail passenger seats in Wayland, servicing Alstom's Amtrak contract
Compin USA will locate a manufacturing plant in Gunlocke's Wayland facility to build seats for transportation industry projects, including for Alstom
WAYLAND — Gunlocke, Wayland’s historic chair manufacturer, will soon have some company in the seating industry.
Compin USA will locate a manufacturing plant in the Wayland facility to build seats for transportation industry projects, including Amtrak’s next-generation high-speed trainsets that are being manufactured by Alstom in nearby Hornell.
Compin USA is leasing manufacturing space recently vacated by Gunlocke.
Empire State Development, which made the announcement Monday, is supporting the project with up to $80,000 in Excelsior Tax Credits for the creation of up to 31 new jobs. The total project cost has been placed at $270,000, ESD stated in a press release. The Steuben County Industrial Development Agency assisted in bringing the two companies together.
“It’s a very exciting project,” IDA Executive Director Jamie Johnson previously told Steuben County legislators. “They initially came to us and said we need a greenfield location. We said what do you do, and they said we do upholstery work. We said jeez, we’ve got a great partner you should talk to. Both companies saw it as a great opportunity to partner. We’re really excited about that.”
Gunlocke recently laid off about two dozen employees in its upholstery division as the company relocated product lines to other facilities. A WARN notice issued in December stated 23 employees would be laid off during a 14-day period starting on March 12.
“(Compin USA) is basically going in and taking over the seating division of Gunlocke,” said Johnson. “Gunlocke announced last fall they were going to be relocating to Iowa and they’re coming in lock, stock and barrel and taking over the space, taking over the equipment and hopefully rehiring all those employees who are impacted.”
Wayland Town Supervisor Carol Mykel welcomed the addition of jobs at the Wayland manufacturing facility, an anchor industry for the area that has experienced fluctuations in employment over the years.
"We are very pleased to welcome Compin to Wayland,” said Mykel. “Gunlocke has been a long-time employer for us and their recent, necessary downsizing was a cause for concern for our residents. We look forward to the increased employment opportunities that this move makes immediately available for our area and look forward to more as the company grows their local operation."
Alstom, others welcome Compin to Southern Tier
Compin USA, a subsidiary of French company Compin/Fainsa, will exclusively manufacture railway passenger seats and interior components at the plant in the Town of Wayland, the company said in a press release. That project will include the creation of an upholstery business unit in which subcomponents of seats will be produced. Additionally, the company will use its global presence to create an assembly unit to supply the manufactured seats for the Alstom-built high-speed trainsets.
Patrick Bouchet, Group Chief Operating Officer, will manage the setup of the Steuben County facility and Nicolas Moiroux will operate and manage the U.S. site operation in Wayland.
The company expects to move fast and be operational at the site by May. Marc Jammot, President and CEO of the COMPIN group, said the plan marks a “key milestone in the COMPIN FAINSA Corp organic growth.”
“Whereas COMPIN FAINSA features a well-developed industrial footprint in Europe (five industrial sites) the launch of the COMPIN US plant will enable our group to meet our long-term strategy in developing its Seats and Interior Systems railways business for the North American continent,” said Jammot. “We want to take advantage of the skilled American workforce as well as the presence of the assembly plant of main US car builders in the NY state to tighten our links with local partners.
“We are very proud to settle in Wayland and to develop our partnership with the company Gunlocke. Over the next months we will transfer to our US plant our seat know-how to offer to the US railways passengers the high-end quality and comfort of European seats.”
Compin’s Amtrak seats won’t have to travel far. In November of 2016, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced $30 million in Upstate Revitalization Initiative funding to support the expansion of Alstom which added nearly 200 new jobs in Hornell. The project was motivated by Alstom's successful bid to provide 28 next-generation high-speed trainsets for Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor.
Alstom welcomed the addition of a nearby supplier.
“We are pleased to welcome yet another company to the growing list of transportation suppliers who have chosen to locate in the Southern Tier, bringing additional high-tech jobs and economic benefits to the region,” said Jérôme Wallut, President, Alstom Americas. “We thank Empire State Development for their continued efforts to attract these businesses to the region and to New York State as a whole, and for facilitating investments in their growth and development.”
“The Compin USA and Alstom projects represent a win-win for the Southern Tier and all of New York State. Under the governor’s leadership we are making transformative investments in leading industries and improving our transportation network for the 21st century ensuring that the region with continue to soar for years to come. This investment further enhances our global partnerships,” said Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair Judy McKinney Cherry, Executive Director, Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED) and Broome Community College President Kevin Drumm in a joint statement.
State officials also praised the development.
”The partnership between Compin USA and Gunlocke to revitalize a manufacturing plant in Steuben County is outstanding and exciting news for the future of transportation manufacturing across the Southern Tier,” said State Senator Tom O'Mara said. “It brings critical new manufacturing jobs to Steuben County and will continue to strengthen one of this region's most important foundations for economic growth and job creation.”
State Assemblywoman Marjorie Byrnes added, “It is so good to see new jobs coming to the Wayland area. We have a wonderful transportation development hub in Northern Steuben County already. This is a welcome addition with opportunities for growth.”