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Forum staff reports, Published August 31 2011

North Dakota governor: Sale keeps Oakes plant open

OAKES, N.D. – A manufacturing plant slated for closure here today will remain open with new owners.

Harris Machine Co. agreed to purchase the former Oshkosh Defense manufacturing plant in Oakes, Gov. Jack Dalrymple said Tuesday.

“This is good news for the city of Oakes and the region,” Dalrymple said. “Harris Machine is a locally owned company that plans to grow its manufacturing business and employment.”

Officials at Wisconsin-based Oshkosh Corp., the parent company of Oshkosh Defense and the former plant operator, JLG Industries, planned to close the plant today.

The plant manufactured metal components for military vehicles.

Harris Machine Co.’s purchase of the former Oshkosh Defense manufacturing plant and its equipment means the facility will remain open and support the region’s job market.

Jay and Nick Harris, co-owners of Harris Machine, said they plan to continue expanding their business and employment opportunities.

Harris Machine specializes in the fabrication of metal components.

Jay Harris said his goal for the new plant is to increase Harris Machine’s customer base, expand its production and to reach the employment level maintained in recent years by Oshkosh Defense and the preceding plant operator, JLG Industries.

Purchasing the manufacturing plant and its equipment will enable Harris Machine Co. to enhance its capabilities to serve additional regional manufacturers and existing customers, he said.

Dalrymple contacted Oshkosh Corp. executives after they announced plans to close the Oakes plant.

In June, Oshkosh Corp. spokesman John Daggett said the plant would close Aug. 31, putting 56 people out of work.

At the time, he said the decision was prompted by “market dynamics.”