Marada to build another factory Auto-parts maker to open 3rd facility in Westminster


March 07, 1998|By Ted Shelsby | Ted Shelsby,SUN STAFF

Marada Industries, which opened its first auto-parts manufacturing plant in Westminster in 1984, is about to break ground on its third, the company said yesterday.

"We want to start construction by the end of the month and be in ZTC the new plant by August or September," said Jack D. Spangler, a spokesman for Marada.

Marada will build a 40,000-square-foot factory that can be expanded in the future. The facility will be on the east side of Route 97 adjacent to Marada's second plant, which opened in 1992 and doubled in size three years later.

Spangler said it is too soon to say how many jobs will be created by the latest expansion. "That's still up in the air. It may not be a lot initially," he said, but he noted that Marada added 150 jobs when it completed work on a second factory.

He said that some workers from the company's second plant, along with some production, will be shifted to the new facility. The new plant could double in size in a few years, Spangler said.

Marada currently employs about 450 workers, up from the 60 who worked there 14 years ago when the company built its first plant in the Westminster Airport Business Center to supply parts to General Motors Corp.'s van assembly plant in Baltimore.

"We began our operations here building structural parts: chassis parts, frame components and bumper assemblies for GM's Baltimore plant, under a just-in-time inventory system," said Spangler.

At that time, GM had just completed a $270 million renovation of its Broening Highway facility to shift from the production of passenger cars to a new mid-sized van that carried the Chevrolet Astro and GMC Safari nameplates.

The Westminster plants now make parts for three other GM car and van plants and supply a number of other manufacturers, including Ford, Chrysler, Honda, BMW and Jeep.

Marada is scheduled to begin making parts for Nissan later this year.

Carroll County economic development officials were caught by surprise by the announcement of the new plant, the price of which the company did not disclose.

Darlene Frank, a spokeswoman for the state office of economic development, said that Marada was not receiving state funding for its latest expansion.

"They have been a great employer," she said, "except for a few problems recently which we can't comment on."

She was referring to a raid on the plant last month by the federal Immigration and Naturalization Service that found 29 suspected illegal-immigrant workers, all from Mexico.

Benedict J. Ferro, district director for the INS in Baltimore, said the Canadian-owned company is under investigation for knowingly hiring such workers.

If found guilty, it could be fined up to $2,000 per employee.

Spangler would say only that the company is cooperating in the investigation.

Pub Date: 3/07/98

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