Manufacturer Starfire lays off half its workers

Deteriorating business conditions and difficult credit markets have driven ceramic polymer manufactu
PHOTOGRAPHER:

Categories: Business

Deteriorating business conditions and difficult credit markets have driven ceramic polymer manufacturer Starfire Systems to lay off almost half of its work force.

Starfire executed Friday its deepest payroll cuts in its 20-year history, laying off 19 of its 41 workers.

The cuts came just a day after the Empire State Development Corp.’s board of directors approved a $325,000 grant for the company in the Saratoga + Energy Park. The layoffs hit 15 full-time and four part-time employees.

“We’re still early stage and need investors for money to continue growing,” said Starfire President and Chief Executive Officer Richard Saburro.

But amid the financial crisis, many investors have lost the stomach to support emerging-technology companies such as Starfire. Saburro called the cuts a “near-term setback,” and said Starfire could rehire some affected and new workers when it starts a new contract next year.

The forthcoming contract will likely involve developing a lightweight ceramic composite brake rotor for an automotive company. But first Starfire has to complete a similar rotor-related contract for another automotive company.

“We’re tied to a timetable,” Saburro said.

Saburro said the state grant announced Thursday will support Starfire’s future growth. The funding is part of a $3.2 million project in which the manufacturer will purchase machinery and equipment. Through that capital investment, Starfire will create 22 jobs and retain 28.

Leave a Reply