Cumberland Times-News

December 10, 2013

Bright spot

Two county businesses adding 270 new jobs


Cumberland Times-News

— The local economy received a nice boost last week when two companies announced they will bring a combined total of 270 jobs to Allegany County.

The Hunter Douglas fabrication plant in the North Branch Industrial Park will add 250 jobs by July as the window fashion manufacturer gears up to meet the demands of customers for its products.

Hamilton Relay, a leading telecommunications relay and captioned telephone services provider, announced plans to  immediately fill more than 20 new captioning assistant positions in its Frostburg facility. Additionally, Hamilton has openings for relay operator positions to process traditional relay calls in English, and is looking to hire bilingual English-Spanish speaking individuals to process Spanish relay calls as well.

Hunter Douglas already employs 800 people at its local plant. It ranks as the county’s fifth largest employer. Once the 200 new jobs are filled, the company will become the county’s second largest employer.

The firm sends out more than 5,000 units of window blinds from its local plant, accounting for more than 50 percent of Hunter Douglas products on the retail market. In Western Maryland, the company’s window fashions are sold at Window Expressions in Frostburg, Eaton Young on Winchester Road and Unique Decor Design Center in Oakland.

Mark Harris, senior director of marketing and engineering for Hunter Douglas, said the firm will be making a capital investment of more than $1 million at its local plant.

Hamilton Relay’s Maryland center was established in 2007 and is one of five centers that processes relay calls for individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind or have difficulty speaking. The company expanded its Frostburg center in 2012 as captioning assistant positions were added to begin processing captioned telephone calls. Continued growth of Hamilton’s captioned telephone services on a nationwide basis is now driving the need to once again expand at its Frostburg location.  

The job expansion at the two companies is a bright spot as 2013  comes to an end. Let’s hope the momentum continues and the region will receive more good economic news in 2014.