207 jobs lost as West Chester military contractor goes out of business

O'Gara Armoring closes its West Chester Twp. facility on March 3 citing financial troubles. The company, which had designed, fabricated and integrated armored products on various military and commercial vehicles, laid off 207 employees, though nine will remain on for four weeks as the division of O'Gara Group winds down its operations. PROVIDED/O'GARA ARMORING

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O'Gara Armoring closes its West Chester Twp. facility on March 3 citing financial troubles. The company, which had designed, fabricated and integrated armored products on various military and commercial vehicles, laid off 207 employees, though nine will remain on for four weeks as the division of O'Gara Group winds down its operations. PROVIDED/O'GARA ARMORING

O’Gara Hess Eisenhardt Armoring Company, known as O’Gara Armoring, began shutting down its operations last week because of financial struggles, according to a notice sent to the state.

But OhioMeansJobs Butler County is working to re-employ all 207 employees who have been, or will be, let go. Nine of the 207 employees will be retained to assist with winding down O’Gara Amoring’s operations.

The company sent a federally required Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act notice to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services on March 3. This is not affecting the other division of O’Gara Group, O’Gara Training & Services, according to the company.

The company at 9113 LeSaint Drive in West Chester Twp. had designed, fabricated and integrated armored products on various military and commercial vehicles, and the company traces its roots to coachbuilders from the 1870s. It transitioned to armored vehicles in the 1950s, starting with President Harry S. Truman’s limousine.

The company told Ohio JFS it had been “diligently seeking additional capital from existing and new investors to enable it to continue operating” and outlined a plan to operate several more months. Though the company had secured some additional funding, but it was not enough capital “to continue operations going forward. Unfortunately, this means that the company must cease operations.”

The company will retain nine employees for four additional weeks to assist in winding down operations, according to the notice. It said its 207 employees “will be permanent,” and affected employees are not represented by a union.

The news comes three years to the month of the company being awarded a five-year, $60.7 million contract with the U.S. Army to manufacture armor kits “family of medium-light tactical vehicles” that will protect soldiers from side and undercarriage blasts, the Journal-News reported on March 1, 2019.

West Chester Twp. spokeswoman Barb Wilson said the township “sympathizes with those affected by this closure.”

Wilson said the township has met with O’Gara and is working with the company to help connect displaced workers with agencies that can offer support.

“It is always our hope that those affected are able to find new opportunities in West Chester’s diverse and active local business community,” Wilson said.

OhioMeansJobs Butler County also is helping with the now out-of-work employees, said Business Services Manager Missy O’Brien.

She has reached out to several Butler County companies that are hiring, asking for flyers and job opening information. She’s assembled packets for those now-former O’Gara employees. She also has contacted O’Gara’s human resources department requesting that her agency reach out to those seeking job-search assistance.

O’Brien said while 207 displaced workers is a lot of people, “the job market is booming right now. I’m very confident that we’re going to be able to get them re-employed and re-employed quickly.”

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