ATK’s Eagle Industries Closing Fenton Factory

Yesterday, Eagle Industries parent company ATK announced that they were closing the Fenton, Missouri factory in the next 60-90 days which has been in operation since 1989. About 325 workers will lose their jobs as Eagle begins to adapt to this new environment of decreased defense spending. Eagle will maintain an administrative presence in Fenton which will include research and development as well as business development. ATK has two additional Berry compliant production facilities in Puerto Rico which will continue to service Government contracts as well as a facility in the Dominican Republic.

ATK is also closing the former “Outers Laboratory” factory in Onalaska, Wisconsin which makes weapons cleaning products as well as rifle mounts and stocks. That facility has been producing equipment since 1933 under various owners and in the case of this closure, 130 will lose their jobs.

Unfortunately, this is a reality of the new resource constrained defense environment. As there are fewer procurement dollars available, the services will concentrate on refit and refurbishment as well as modernization of major end items such as trucks, tanks, aircraft, and ships. Less will be spent on clothing and individual equipment. In the case of most Soldier Systems products, they must be produced in the US. Cut backs mean there will be fewer domestic textile related jobs. Companies will be forced to make difficult decisions balancing revenues and costs. Make no mistake, in some cases, this will result in lost jobs.

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29 Responses to “ATK’s Eagle Industries Closing Fenton Factory”

  1. Greg says:

    FirstSpear getting a flood of applications in…. 3… 2… 1… (lol)

  2. Mason says:

    Yes, there are defense cuts throughout the industry right now, but this company went into the crapper when ATK bought it. Nobody there cares about the customer or the soldier anymore, it is all about $โ€™s for them now.

  3. Bret says:

    “Defense Cuts”…..? Yeah, I’m sure that’s the only reason….

  4. Coyote says:

    This is shame. Eagle use to be a great company.I have been to the factory a couple times and bought gear directly from there. ATK screwed a good company over. I have used Eagle products for years. I guess its time to make a switch.

  5. Slurpa says:

    Funny how nothing from the other tactical nylon company they bought is being changed…the fact that they can sell a serpa duty holster for 125.00 to an officer and it only cost them 13.00 to make says a lot about ATK, and their customer first attitude.

    • SSD says:

      There have been some layoffs there as well.

      • Slurpa says: mean the tactical experts of the SOD…the training division that Assitelly created and then dismantled because he can’t manage much more than his golf game? Look at the amount of money that is spent of trips to hunt in laces like alaska, Colorado, Texas, and Uruguay….these were all recent big budget trips made on the company dime. They have continued to create job positions for people that have no function….

  6. Strike-Hold! says:

    “this new environment of reduced defense spending”… Really? That’s the most fatuous statement I’ve heard since my wife told me about Fendi blaming reduced sales of handbags on the Sept. 11 attacks…

    According to a recent study by the International Institute of Strategic Studies, the US defense budget in 2011 was larger than the next 10 largest defense budgets COMBINED.

    So, unless the 2012 budget reductions have taken the US defense budget down to a % of GDP less than Armenia’s, I fail to see how “the environment of reduced defense spending” can be the big reason for shutting down factories that have withstood all the other economic ups-and-downs since 1933 and 1989 respectively.

    No doubt the truth is, as is revealed in the story, that they just want to transfer the work to their more “profitable” facilities in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

    • ck says:

      rising cost environment, dod cuts, dod demanding sharper pricing from industry (in an already slim margin segment) = factories closing. Did they have to close? I’m guessing no, but the returns just didn’t make sense for this relatively large company. I do agree they are shifting production to a lower cost factories in PR.

  7. IRISHinOHIO says:

    Thats a real shame.

  8. SSD says:

    Those are my words and if you ran a company that grew to supply uniforms and boots and helmets and armor to the US Government for the past 10 years then you would currently be in the business of dismantling it to one degree or another. They aren’t spending money like they were and Americans don’t want to pay for American built goods. It’s that simple. ATK dealt with it the way they felt comfortable. Other companies will deal with it in other ways.

    In those other defense budgets you quote, dive in and see how much was spent on equipping the service member for war. Then look at how much was spent over the past 10 years. That will tell the story. We’ve never spent money on the individual like this.

    • Strike-Hold! says:

      First, let me clarify that I wasn’t calling your words “fatuous” – I was calling their statement fatuous. I wouldn’t insult you like that. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Second, I’m not denying the fact that their business – like many others – has expanded a lot over the past 10 years as the American soldier’s gear has been completely revamped and re-issued, and that of course there will be some scaling back now as the Army winds down from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the Army is also supposedly poised to change its camouflage patterns for clothing and gear – which would mean re-doing all or most of the stuff that’s been done over the past 10 years. On top of that, what about all the law enforcement and homeland security spending for hi-speed gear and uniforms? Is that suddenly going away? I doubt it.

      Third, these are companies that have obviously withstood many other ups-and-downs in defence spending before – so why the need to shut them down this time, and transfer their work to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic?

      Of course this will be good for their share-holders, but it still seems to me that this is a calculated move that’s been planned for quite a while and they’re just using this “reduced expenditure” stuff as a cover story for what they already wanted to do.

      By the way, I’ve worked in big companies for many years and I know that “strategic” moves like this don’t just happen over night – I also know how the PR departments of big companies work, and this totally smells like an attempt to sugar-coat unpleasant news.

      Given the current economic and political climate in the US it does also seem a bit ironic that these so-called “job creators” are actually busy getting rid of American jobs in favor of cheaper labor and fewer health & safety and environmental regulation overseas.

      Just sayin.

      • BigD says:

        A small note to Strike-Hold….Homeland Security is fighting tooth and nail to avoid being required to buy Made in USA along the lines of the Berry Amendment. And law enforcement has always bought as cheaply as possible, and in such fragmented numbers as to be painful to try and design for.

        • Strike-Hold! says:

          Noted – thanks. I guess if HS and LE were required to buy American, it would kind of really mess up at least one of the tactical mega-brands…

      • majrod says:

        You do know Puerto Ricans are considered Americans right?

  9. Paralus says:

    Cheap labor free-marketeers strike again. Considering we’re still fighting a war, I don’t see the market shrinking that fast. This has to do with shareholder profits and not wanting to pay for American labor.

    It’s not like Eagle gear is going to get less expensive for consumers. The lower labor costs just mean more profits for shareholders.

    Wanna bet the stuff made in P.R. is going to be just as expensive as the gear made in Missouri?

    Dick move by ATK.

    “Americans donโ€™t want to pay for American built goods.”

    I seek out Made in America because I want something made by and for Americans. I know that this money is then going into the pockets of American workers who keep the money in the community and this keeps up the tax base.

    The idea that we can ship jobs overseas and the invisible hand of the market will somehow balance everything out in the end is the free-market equivalent of believing in unicorns and leprechauns.

    • majrod says:

      Last time I heard Puerto Ricans were Americans also.

      • Paralus says:

        They are. It’s just that the average wages in PR are lower thus the move to PR for cheap labor.

        It has nothing to do with the economy or the war, it has to do with putting shareholders ahead of employees and communities.

  10. Buckaroomedic says:

    I too try and purchase things that are made in the States. It is becoming harder and harder though. I blame Walmart. They have conditioned the average Joe-six pack to demand lower and lower prices with a smiley face.

    Within a few years the military is going to be just like it was about 13 years ago. If Joe wants something, Joe is going to have to go get it out of his own pocket.

    At least ATK/Eagle is keeping the jobs in our hemisphere.

  11. Nick the Brit says:

    To me, it’s almost like the bubble has burst for the industry. I was trying to think back to all the manufacturers out there who have either been started or upgraded since 2000.

    Bottom line is with Iraq over and others coming to a slow roll, the demand will dry up. I would bet money on a “only the string survive” outcome where companies merge and pair down to become more competitive in the market.

  12. Mason says:

    The sad part is this Eagle is dead so all their should just face it. There will be no restructuring of the organization nor will there be a rebirth of the brand. Eagle has been on the down slide since it was purchased by ATK. All who are still left should start looking for another JOB NOW, 60-90 days means nothing now that the brand is offically DEAD (even though it’s been considered dead in industry for sometime now). There are still a couple of good American made manufactures out there with one first spear right around the corner, NO layoffs there.

  13. ck says:

    Puerto Rico is the only US territory that companies can pay BELOW federal minimum wage and still be Berry Compliant….Does that make sense to anybody?

    • majrod says:

      No it doesn’t but then again many here don’t realize Puerto Ricans are Americans also.

  14. Jim Ellis says:

    Kids this is America. It’s your own fault we keep loosing jobs. You go to home depot and buy the cheap broom and then bitch about job loss, your driving a Nisson Pathfinder instead of a Ford. Whens the last time you looked up a sock manufacturer or a paper plate manufacturer before your purchase. If it wasn’t for Berry compliance all our stuff would be from Vietnam or China. The average joe is still on the cheap with all his AR purchases,,,no one seems to understand, buy American. Fly, and stop bitching about ticket prices.. American jobs are not cheap, SUPPORT US, Fly Southwest Airlines so I can keep my job. LOL Seriously though take the extra minute and buy USA for 4 dollars more. Its your neighbors job your saving!