Chamberlain to close at Hunt Valley, lay off 50


Chamberlain MRC Corp., a manufacturing and research and development company in Hunt Valley, will begin closing down its operation tomorrow and laying off its remaining 50 workers.

The company, which had as many as 200 employees in 1990, is the state's latest victim of a slowdown in spending on the part of the federal government.

"There has been a steady decline in the Department of Defense and U.S. Postal Service programs that we participated in," said Merton Townsend, president of Chamberlain Manufacturing Corp., MRC's Elmhurst, Ill.-based parent, said yesterday.

"Programs were delayed, and we kept waiting and waiting and waiting for orders to come through," Mr. Townsend said.

He said the forecast was for insufficient business to justify the operations of the Baltimore County plant.

MRC makes smoke generators, which are mounted on trucks that are used by the military to blanket an area in heavy smoke to conceal troop movements. It also manufactures automated mail sorters for the Postal Service.

Mr. Townsend said that it would take about three months before the backlog of business is completed and the 70,000-square-foot plant on Clubhouse Road is shut down.

Mr. Townsend said that "to the extent possible" some MRC workers would be shifted to other Chamberlain facilities, but he said those facilities are also suffering. Most of the Hunt Valley workers will be laid off, he said.

Many of the state's lost manufacturing jobs have been defense-related. In recent months, Northrop Grumman Corp. closed its aerospace machining plant in Glen Arm; Martin Marietta Corp. phased out its production of submarine warfare equipment and closed a plant in Glen Burnie; and CAE-Link Corp. discontinued its electronic warfare plant in Silver Spring.

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