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Two recent announcements played on the sensitive nerve of employment uncertainty in the Los Alamos community. One was about the acquisition of IMTEC a rapidly growing manufacturing company that got its start in Los Alamos as HYTEC and employs a few dozen people locally.
The other was about a decision to end a primary support services subcontract involving 876 employees at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
HYTEC to IMTEC to 3M
Minnesota-based industrial giant, 3M Corp. announced the acquisition of IMTEC (formerly HYTEC) Thursday. While the implications of the buy-out were not clear at first, IMTEC President Tim Thompson said Friday that the sale was all good news.
“It’s a normal reaction for people to worry about their job, about whether IMTEC will be in the community and will we be able to thrive,” Thompson said in a telephone interview from company headquarters in Ardmore, Okla. “We negotiated hard to keep doing what we’ve been doing.”
Thompson, who founded the the custom engineering firm HYTEC in 1995, is now the CEO and president of IMTEC, a dental products manufacturer. HYTEC merged with IMTEC in February 2007. With the acquisition by 3M, Thompson will become the general manager of the 3M IMTEC Division
“We’re going to keep the company intact,” he said. “It’s going to be business as usual, but business is going to be getting much better with the backing of a Fortune 500 company.”
“We’re going to continue to build the building there behind de Colores” said Hugo Hinojosa, the company’s vice president of operations in Los Alamos, who was also in Oklahoma. “It will be great to have an employer in the county bigger than the laboratory,” he added, noting that only a fraction of 3M’s 75,000 worldwide employees would be in the county.
The 3M Corp reports $24 billion in annual sales spanning 60 countries.
Thompson said the biggest problem about representing a smaller company was that people always want to know who you are.
“Now, when I say I’m Tim Thomson from 3M, they’ll know,” he said.
KSL contract to end
Earlier this month Los Alamos National Laboratory announced its intention to absorb the majority of the remaining KSL functions into the laboratory. The support contract handles a variety of custodial and maintenance duties at LANL.
The transition was described as a natural evolution of a process that began in April 2007, when LANS, the laboratory manager, assumed the work control operations of its service contractor, KSL. At that time, 78 KSL planners and work controllers began working for LANS.
Later that year, the Inspector General of the Department of Energy reported finding “a systemic problem” in KSL’s cost estimates up until April 2007. The IG found that KSL costs regularly exceeded estimates by 20 percent during the previous two years. Other billing irregularities and accountability issues were also flagged.
Now LANL has decided to in-source the remaining KSL responsibilities by the end of December 2008, when KSL’s contract expires.
Kevin Roark, a spokesperson for LANL said it was too early to know how many of KSL’s employees would find jobs within the laboratory workforce.
“Our intent is to retain as many people as possible,” he said. “This is not about saving money by cutting jobs. This is not a workforce issue.”
A staff memorandum stated, “It is anticipated that many KSL personnel will be offered employment with LANS in this transition.”
Throughout the laboratory’s history there has been a support contractor. For many years, Zia Company was the primary services subcontractor. Later Johnson Controls had the same responsibility.
The KSL cost-plus-award fee subcontract for $800 million began in 2003.