IMW lays off some of its Chilliwack workforce

Jobs losses in Chilliwack despite growing demand for compressors, technology and equipment around the world

Rising demand for CNG worldwide led the IMW workforce to be doubled in size last year

Rising demand for CNG worldwide led the IMW workforce to be doubled in size last year

Layoffs last week at IMW Industries of Chilliwack are a result of cyclical “fluctuations” in manufacturing and weak global markets.

Staff cuts to the local workforce at IMW were confirmed by IMW’s parent company, Clean Energy Fuels.

But the corporate spokesperson did not put an exact figure to the number of jobs lost in Chilliwack, in a brief statement sent to The Progress last Thursday.

“The recent layoffs at IMW are due to a combination of cyclical manufacturing fluctuations as well as weakness in a few global markets.

“We continue to be pleased with the growing demand for IMW’s superior compressors, technology and equipment around the world,” wrote a Clean Energy Fuels spokesperson in an emailed statement.

IMW is a wholly owned subsidiary of Clean Energy Fuels, manufacturing gas compressors, dispensers, storage systems, and control systems from their facility on Progress Way. The CNG fuel systems are designed for public, truck and fleet fuelling stations and more.

IMW has become a global superstar of cleaner energy equipment, having risen steadily to prominence on the export front over the years with its array of CNG fuelling equipment and compressors.

That meant building a highly skilled workforce in Chilliwack over the years in tandem with the steady growth of the clean energy sector, which has created spinoffs and other benefits to the local Chilliwack community.

City of Chilliwack, and CEPCO officials have shown support and pride in IMW’s steady growth as a local manufacturer.

“Of course it’s disappointing to any time a Chilliwack company is forced to lay off any of its employees,” said Brian Coombes, president of Chilliwack Economic Partners Corporation.

“IMW has enjoyed tremendous growth around the world with its equipment and manufacturing and Chilliwack has been very proud of their success.

“We are hopeful these layoffs are just a sign of current market conditions and they will soon be back in a position of offering more local employment.”

Rising demand for CNG equipment worldwide led the IMW workforce to be doubled in size last year, according to IMW president Brian Nguyen, last September at the company’s Chilliwack headquarters.

IMW hosted a trade event at the Chilliwack site with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other dignitaries last fall to herald trade talks between Canada and Korea.

The IMW’s Canadian workforce was increased from about 150 employees in 2012, to 300 in 2014, resulting from increased demand for equipment, and major contracts.

The company history dates back to 1912, and opened a Chilliwack manufacturing plant and warehousing facility in 2008 on Progress Way.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Twitter.com/chwkjourno