Cobham Shut Down in Fla. Means Jobs in Orchard Park

February 8, 2013 Updated Feb 8, 2013 at 10:03 AM EDT

By David Bertola, Buffalo Business First

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Cobham Shut Down in Fla. Means Jobs in Orchard Park

February 8, 2013 Updated Feb 8, 2013 at 10:03 AM EDT

Defense contractor Cobham will close its production facility in St. Petersburg, Fla., and relocate around three-quarters of its 160-person workforce to operations in Orchard Park and Davenport, Iowa.

A spokeswoman from Cobham Life Support in Orchard Park told Business First that the facility there, which makes life support systems for the military and aerospace industries, expects to add around 60 workers by year's end.

Hourly and salaried positions will be transferred to Orchard Park and represent a variety of roles, including engineers, assembly personnel and human resources. Cobham will look outside the company to fill jobs if those who hold the positions don't transfer to Orchard Park.

The St. Petersburg facility manufactures air crew and ground vehicle crew safety and survivability products for the aerospace and defense market. According to a report by NBC affiliate WFLA in Tampa, the shutdown is planned for October.

Cobham spokesman Greg Caires, who said the nation's shrinking defense budget forced his company to consolidate operations as a cost-cutting measure.

"It makes good business sense to move this site," Caires said in the report. "It is with genuine regret that Cobham must take these actions due to present conditions in the global aerospace and defense market."