Norwalk mayor laments loss of EPIC

Duncan: "We will see some jobs come here."
Scott Seitz2
Jan 19, 2014


Mayor Rob Duncan called the impending loss of EPIC Technologies "devastating" at Tuesday night's city council meeting.

Duncan took a few moments to talk to council about the eventual loss of the company, which will cost 85 employees their jobs.

Duncan said EPIC officials indicated the closure would take place by the end of the second quarter of 2014.

He added that due to the closure of Janesville Acoustics, officials were in better position to form a Rapid Response team.

"We will see some jobs come here," Duncan said as he closed his remarks.

The meeting started with a 40-minute executive session for economic development purposes.

Afterward, Duncan said he couldn't provide many details about the closed session but did say "this is something we've been looking at for a while.

"We've got to be proactive in terms of incentive packages," the mayor added.

In other business, Josh Snyder, public works director, said it appears a compromise has been reached in regards to the paving of West Water Street.

At last week's meeting, apartment complex owner and city firefighter Jeff Phillips requested West Water be paved, since, in his words, the street washed away in the flood of 2006 and was never repaired.

Snyder and Phillips revisited the site recently.

Snyder said the city will pave a 4- to 6-foot wide section of the road this year at a cost of $1,500 to $2,000.

"That will address the worst area and minimally affect the larger project to come," he said.

Snyder was resistant to do a full resurfacing of West Water because the road will be torn up again in two years for a major sewer project.

Finally, council is reviewing legislation regarding the parking of recreational vehicles, watercraft and trailers.



Re: "Janesville leases a storage warehouse from the NEDC. When Janesville asked about extending their lease for a year-the first thing the NEDC did was raise the rent, and make other demands, so Janesville said, "Never mind"."

Any evidence to back that up? Or simply more unhelpful rumor mongering? Let's try to stick to the truth and not your misguided opinions.

Fibber Mcgee

Agreed, would like to know more.


Thanks folks. This hits home. Most of what was spoken about here years ago is coming to fruition. Pete Sofios would be saddened by this.


Feel free to call the NEDC and ask them yourself. Here is their number 419.668.9858.


Or perhaps you could just substantiate your rumor? I would guess you have no evidence.


"Mayor Rob Duncan said there’s much good news to celebrate in the Norwalk business community.

The mayor noted about 25 businesses which opened in the past two years." - NR, 1/24/14

Gotta wonder how directly instrumental Mayor Duncan and the NEDC were in securing those mostly service businesses?

Like the national 'hope & change,' Norwalk's version seems to take credit for the "good news," but little to no responsibility for the bad, i.e. lack of the promised large employers and 'jobs, jobs, jobs.'

Reads like he's feeling engulfed, while grasping at any and all flotsam and jetsam available.


Agreed. There's no way Duncan had anything to do with any of them. I know the former SSD was responsible for renting the Home Lumber property to RKS, and the PW director was responsible for luring Rural King. No where was the mayor involved.

Fibber Mcgee

Any new business is good news. I wonder if Rural King has had any impact on Ace? Are all of these 25 still in business?
@ TJ, NEDC owns only one building,their new offices on Benedict Ave. not the Janesville bldg. I believe that's NCDC that you are talking about.
could be wrong, but...


As a current, but soon-to-be-ex employee of Epic Technologies, I feel compelled to at least shed a little light on this discussion.

This has nothing to do with the current (or previous) administration. There is likely absolutely nothing that could have been done to keep this plant from closing.

The Epic LLC was recently (3-4 months ago) purchased by an electronics manfuacturing company named Natel, based in California. Though Epic has not been locally owned for over a decade (likely longer than that; Natel is the 5th owner, I believe)

Prior to the purchase, Epic owned and operated the Norwalk facility, a plant in Mason, Ohio, offices in Johnson City, Tennessee (manufacturing at that site had already been ceased), offices in El Paso, Texas & a plant across the river in Juarez, Mexico, a distributing/logistics/purchasing office in Denver, Colorado, and a partnership with a plant in Romania.

The Natel company has two or three manufacturing facilities in California.

Suddenly, Natel finds itself with too many facilities, so it was inevitable that they'd "consolidate".

Obviously, I don't know the numbers or the exact factors that weighed in on the decision, but it was decided that they'd end the partnership with the Romania company, and that the Norwalk facility was the stateside plant that they wanted to get rid of. (in recent years, due to ever-increasing pressure from existing and prospective customers for lower costs, Epic had a lot of difficulty in keeping existing product or bringing new product to the Norwalk plant; in favor of the vastly cheaper labor in Mexico)

If anything, this all leads back to messes caused by NAFTA and such. Just a part of the decades-long drain of manufacturing jobs from America.

The mayor of Norwalk, or the NEDC, or whatever weren't going to be able to stop it. I don't know what the incentives have been, or the limits of what they could have offered, but I can almost guarantee that it wouldn't have been enough.


@Fibber- My bad, I thought the NEDC AND THE NCDC were the same entity. What is the actual difference between the Norwalk Economic Development Center and the Norwalk Community Development Center, do you know?