Governor Peter Shumlin (D-Vt.) and U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Friday that Revision Military of Essex has finalized the purchase of MSA North America's (MSA) ballistic helmet business, saving more than 40 jobs at the MSA helmet manufacturing facility in Newport, Vt.
Leahy said the Newport facility at the heart of the deal manufactures the Advanced Combat Helmet (ACH), the lightweight, life-saving helmet issued to nearly every U.S. soldier. Leahy said he learned earlier this year that MSA planned to exit the business as the military planned to redesign its helmet, leaving the facility's future in limbo. He immediately began working with Governor Shumlin, the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development and Revision Military in an effort to save the Newport facility.
Shumlin said, "Creating and retaining jobs has been my priority from the day I took office. When I was first notified of the situation, I immediately directed my team to make this deal happen. And today, thanks to the teamwork led by Revision, Senator Leahy's office and our Agency of Commerce, we have retained more than 40 jobs in Newport and a great Vermont company has expanded to our Northeast Kingdom."
Leahy said, "When I learned MSA planned to exit the military helmet business, my first concern was the more than 40 remaining employees of MSA's Newport facility, many of whom Marcelle and I have met on our visits to the company. Recognizing the military still had helmet needs, that Revision was expanding into the helmet market, the superior quality of the helmets made in Newport, and the skilled workforce in Newport, I immediately began working with Governor Shumlin to see what could be done about keeping the facility operating. Jonathan and the team at Revision saw the same things Governor Shumlin and I did, and in the process of seeing a future for their business, single handedly saved more than 40 jobs."
Leahy has been one of the strongest advocates for both Revision and MSA. As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and its Defense Subcommittee, which handles the Senate's work in writing the annual Defense Department budget, Leahy worked with MSA to develop and field the Advanced Combat Helmet by securing more than $10 million in research, development and procurement contracts for MSA. He has also worked with Revision Military to secure millions in military contracts for research, development and procurement of Revision's protective eyewear. But Leahy said the announcement he made in July 2011, a $2 million contract between the Army and Revision to development a next-generation helmet system, was at the heart of his idea to bring MSA and Revision together.
"MSA has proven itself to be a trusted helmet supplier to the U.S. Army with the right people and the right facilities to deliver first-rate, best-value helmet shells," said Revision CEO Jonathan Blanshay. "We are pleased to welcome the approximately forty five Newport-based employees to the Revision family as we expand our offering of leading-edge soldier systems equipment to military customers worldwide."
Blanshay said Revision Military develops and delivers purpose-built protective equipment for military use worldwide. The company, which began with eyewear, has expanded to face and head protection and continues to develop its capabilities for integrated, performance-enhancing soldier systems. The firm is headquartered in Essex Junction, Vermont, but has offices in Canada and the Netherlands.
Blanshay credited Governor Shumlin's team of economic development professionals and the State of Vermont's economic development incentives as the catalyst that turned the acquisition of MSA from an idea into an action.
In April, the Vermont Economic Progress Council (VEPC) gave initial approval of Vermont Employment Growth Incentives totaling $743,000 to help Revision ensure the viability of the project. Because the project will avoid the closure of a plant in the Northeast Kingdom, the Council utilized a special provision that allows enhanced incentives for projects in certain areas of the State, increasing the incentive amount by more than 40 percent.