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Employees and regional officials look to future after Nova Bus announces closure of Plattsburgh manufacturing plant

Nova Bus facility in Plattsburgh, NY
Pat Bradley
Nova Bus facility in Plattsburgh, NY

As news about the closure of Plattsburgh’s Nova Bus facility begins to sink in, regional officials and employees are thinking about next steps.

Nova Bus plans to close the Plattsburgh manufacturing plant in 2025 and focus operations in Quebec.

Assembler Shawn Adas has worked at the bus manufacturer in Plattsburgh for about four months.

“What I do is I put the stanchions in, the modesty panels, the ramps, stuff like that," Adas said. "I actually love working there. I left the job I was at. I was there for 10 years and decided to go over here.”

Nova Bus has been in the town of Plattsburgh for about 14 years. Adas said employees were given few details when first told the news.

“They brought us into a meeting and told us in a meeting. They just said that Volvo was going to a different direction," Adas said. "I think everyone in the area is shocked. A lot of people are kind of sad about it.”

Adas says in the short time he’s been there he’s probably worked on more than a hundred buses, averaging four a day. He says he has no idea what happens now or what he will do.

“I don’t know what I’m doing yet," Adas said. "I want to stay ‘til the end. But I don’t know exactly if I want to start looking now or just wait. I’m just letting this sink in now. It, it hurts.”

SUNY Plattsburgh Professor of Economics and Finance and former Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read expects an indirect impact on the regional economy beyond the 350 current Nova Bus employees.

“There’s a large number of industries that have located here to service them," Read said. "Those are what we call indirect jobs. And then just that payroll allows for you know the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker, other jobs throughout the economy. And if you add in those it’s probably going to be about a thousand-person job hit if that 350 person manpower is accurate.”

Local, regional and state officials began working on a transition plan immediately after the company announced the plant closure. Democratic State Assemblyman D. Billy Jones, who represents the district, believes the area is in a good position to move forward and recruit a new business.

“This is a big blow certainly to the employees. I can’t overstate that," Jones said. "But we have to get to work and get somebody or another company, a manufacturer in here to pick up what Nova Bus is leaving behind. And hopefully, hopefully that can provide some comfort to those employees in the next several months.”

Read has toured the plant a few times and says many of the Nova Bus employees have transferable job skills.

“They’re doing some pretty leading edge stuff with regard to hybrid buses and electrification," Read said. "Certainly that’s the direction that the industry is going and those are specialized skills. That kind of high technology manufacturing has similar skill sets. I mean you can transfer skills from one industry to another related industry with not too much retraining and difficulties. So we have invested over the last number of years in quite a well trained workforce and I think that bodes well for us.”