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Wed, June 26

Local businesses regaining normalcy two years after attacks<BR><BR>

industry takes a blow

Layoffs wracked Fortner Aerospace Manufacturing in Prescott immediately after 9-11. The machine shop, on North Pleasant Street, manufactures parts for civilian and military aircraft and the space shuttles.

"I think the manufacturing sector as a whole has taken the major brunt of 9-11 because manufacturing, not just aerospace, represents a higher-quality job," Chief Executive Officer Andy Tobin said.

He said Fortner laid off about half of its employees by reducing its work force to 100 people shortly after 9-11. A year later, Fortner struggled "to be more efficient at what we do and increase our productivity levels for our man-hours," he said.

Fortner now has 185 employees, but it has not fully recovered from the 9-11 shock waves, Tobin said.

"We don't expect to see the industry recover fully from that (event) until early next year, mostly because there is still a lot of concern in the economy," Tobin said. "We are optimistic about the first quarter and into the second quarter of 2004. We believe that the (national) tax cuts and recent business incentives will be inspiring more investment from the higher corporate levels of companies we sell to."

Tobin said he was born in St. Vincent's Hospital, located within eight blocks of the World Trade Center in Manhattan. His father, John, retired from the New York Police Department at the rank of lieutenant.

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