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Sierra Peaks to move manufacturing plant to Rockland

By Stephen Betts | Apr 22, 2019
Photo by: Stephen Betts Sierra Peaks plans to move its operations to the former Kno-Wal-Lin office building in Rockland.

Rockland — A company that manufactures electrical and electronic systems plans to relocate its operations from Camden to Rockland.

Sierra Peaks plans to move its operations from the former Tibbetts manufacturing plant in Camden to the former Kno-Wal-Lin property in Rockland, Sierra Peaks' Camden site manager Nicole Poland said Monday, April 22.

A Sierra-related company -- JR Pleasant LLC -- purchased April 15 the former Kno-Wal-Lin office building and property at 170 Pleasant St. in Rockland from MaineHealth.

The nearly 12 acres was part of the area rezoned by the Rockland City Council Jan. 14 to create a business park.

Sierra purchased Tibbetts in Camden in January 2014.

Poland said the decision to move to Rockland was made after the company studied its options, which included renovating the current building in Camden, which she said was outdated. The move is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

She praised the cooperation received by the company from Rockland, citing the work of Rockland Community Development Director Julie Hashem, City Manager Tom Luttrell, Code Officer John Root, Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tom Peaco and Rockland Main Street Executive Director Gordon Page.

Sierra's website states that the company has "distinguished itself for over 70 years as a leader in design, engineering, development, manufacture and testing of unique electro-mechanical systems for various branches of the U.S. Government, Military, Law Enforcement and Commercial sectors, including aerospace, automation and biometrics."

Sierra is based in Albuquerque, N.M., and employs a variety of professionals, including engineers, technicians, craftsmen and artisans with comprehensive expertise in numerous specialized fields, according to its website.

Tibbetts Industries opened in Camden in 1945, founded by Dr. Raymond Tibbetts, a local osteopath and inventor, to create microphones for the hearing aid industry. At its peak, there were about 80 workers.

Tibbetts was purchased by IntriCon Corp. in 2007 and in 2013 IntriCon announced it would close the Camden facility. IntriCon began eliminating jobs, but John Rockwell III, chief executive officer and president of Sierra Peaks, saved the plant when he purchased it in 2014.

There are currently 15 full-time positions at the Camden facility.

A garage will be added onto the former Kno-Wal-Lin property, Poland said.

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Comments (1)
Posted by: Sumner Kinney | Apr 22, 2019 15:24

What great news to report Mr. Betts.  Everyone is a winner with this deal.  Even Camden will be a winner with this real estate freed up to be converted to more current uses.  Great job to all involved.  Now I challenge the City to not present any obstacles to this business.

Let us show Sierra Peaks a warm welcome.

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