Mercury Marine executives were in Stillwater, Okla., earlier this week to explain its recent decision to consolidate manufacturing operations in Fond du Lac, Wis.
The executives listened to employee questions and comments regarding the changes and the move, according to Mercury spokesman Steve Fleming. He said the executive team included Mark Schwabero, president; Kevin Grodzki, president of sales, marketing and commercial operations; and Ray Atchinson, vice president of human resources.
They also met with all employees to discuss assistance that will be offered regarding preparation for other employment.
Mercury plans to increase the headcount in Stillwater by about 80 people between now and the end of the year, in connection with Environmental Protection Agency regulations work, Fleming explained.
Machining and casting will begin moving work from Stillwater to Fond du Lac in a month or so. Mercury will complete that phase by the end of 2010. Movement of assembly work will begin in 2010 and will be completed by the end of 2011, at which time the plant will close.
Fleming said Mercury owns the Oklahoma building and will seek buyers.
Initially, Tuesday's face-to-face meeting with Mercury Marine officials was difficult, according to a report from the Stillwater NewsPress.
"It was uneasy when we first sat down," Larry Brown, president of the Stillwater Chamber of Commerce, told the newspaper. "But once we had the opportunity to get over initial uneasiness, the goal was to look at what was going to take place and how the chamber and community could work with Mercury for the least disruptive transition for employees possible. We moved forward from there."