By Paul Post
The Glens Falls area’s third large manufacturing employer in less than a year has announced plans to cease operations, impacting 350 workers in Glens Falls and Queensbury.
AngioDynamics, a global medical device maker, says rising inflation, supply chain constraints and workforce shortages are responsible for the move, saving the company an estimated $15 million.
Early last year, Lehigh Cement Company in Glens Falls shuttered its 130-year-old plant, idling 85 workers, followed several months later by the closure of Essity’s South Glens Falls paper mill and facilities in Greenwich and Saratoga Springs, which cost another 350 jobs.
“It’s never good when one of these operations closes,” said Jim Siplon, Warren County Economic Development president. “But I’m confident this isn’t all bad news. We still have thousands of open positions in the area, not only in manufacturing, but in tourism and health care. We have to figure out how to fill those.”
“What we’re seeing is less and less big employers that are going to be the underpinning of our economy and more and more medium and smaller ones that we need to serve as well,” he said. “No factory and no product line lasts forever. Business cycles are shortening. Our job is to support Angio in whatever transition they’re in the midst of and to make sure our workforce continues to be gainfully employed. We still have a lot of opportunity to do that.”
Founded in 1988, Latham-based Angio plans to phase out local manufacturing within two years. It had already begun outsourcing most operations, taken over locally by Illinois-based Medline Industries, a global medical supplies manufacturer and distributor.
Those jobs were preserved during the transition and Siplon said he’s hopeful that Angio’s components will continue to be made locally and that workers will keep jobs “under a different banner” with Medline or some other firm. “If not, I’ll do everything to help the people that are affected,” he said. “Our role is to help people where they are, not to wish something was different.”
About 2,800 people, or roughly 8.6 percent of Warren County’s workforce, was in some type of manufacturing in 2021.
Most of the Lehigh Cement Company and Essity paper mill workers who wanted to stay employed found jobs elsewhere, Siplon said.
All three closures highlight the importance of having a diversified economy, he said.
“It’s hard to make any kind of manufactured good in the United States, let alone New York state, in these times,” he said. “We’re under a lot of cost pressures, the workforce is aging and shrinking. There’s a lot of elements that make it difficult.”
Angio employs 1,000 people worldwide with facilities in places such as The Netherlands, Hong Kong, Israel and Ontario, Canada.
Local manufacturing operations are at 603 Queensbury Avenue near Warren County Airport and Glens Falls Tech Park off Dix Avenue.
Siplon said Angio has had a “wonderful run.”
Resources such as SUNY Adirondack, strong local school systems and the area’s high quality of life are important to attracting good workers, he said.