The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

January 31, 2013

ACF could be back in operation by March with 250 workers

By Ashley Wislock
The Daily Item

— MILTON — ACF Industries is looking to hire as many as 250 workers to fill its Milton factory, which could be open as early as March.

“There is going to be major job creation,” said Jason Fitzgerald, president of Harrisburg-based Penn Strategies.

Penn Strategies — owned by Watsontown businessman John Moran — is an independent consulting firm hired by ACF to help the Milton business procure state grants, Fitzgerald said.

A plant manager at the Milton ACF facility said the company will not have comment until plans are finalized.

According to a recent Securities and Exchange Commission filing, ACF will build railcars in conjunction with American Railcar Industries, which will receive 30 percent of profits earned on each railcar made by ACF, according to the SEC filing.

ACF will also make products such as propane tanks and other specialty products, Fitzgerald said. The diversification will allow employment numbers to remain steady, he said.

“That will certainly prevent things from being as fluid as they were in the past, where the job numbers would go up and down,” he said. “It will allow them to maintain decent job numbers.”

ACF has indicated to Penn Strategies that it intends to hire about 250 workers for the plant, something Fitzgerald said is “great economic news for (Northumberland County) and for the region.”

The community has responded very positively to the news, he said.

“The response has been extraordinarily positive,” he said. “These are good, family sustaining jobs.”

Milton borough manager Chuck Beck said his understanding is that the company plans to have the plant operative by March and that about 250 people will be hired, with former employees of the plant getting priority.

“It’s great news for us,” he said.

ACF Industries shut down operations at its Milton manufacturing plant in February 2009, citing a lack of work. More than 320 workers were furloughed. The plant, which covers several blocks along Route 405, previously made railroad tank cars, most recently to transport ethanol and biodiesel.