Horizon layoffs official, but firm hopes to open plant later this year

WALSENBURG — Horizon Building Systems (HBS) officials are putting on an optimistic face, but the reality of layoffs at the modular home plant in Walsenburg remains. It has been confirmed that the local plant manager, the corporate operations manger, and the leads/floor supervisors who had been hired to start up operations have all been laid off. Mark Ennis, the Horizon Building Systems Operations Manager told the Huerfano World Journal this week he is no longer employed by the firm and has no idea of their current situation. “They’re not communicating with me,” he said on Tuesday. Asked if he felt the plant would be reinstating those who have lost their jobs, Ennis said, “I know it’s their intent to bring back workers, but (for) me, I have no idea.” In total, eight persons have been laid off by HBS, a subsidiary of Kaspia Group of Albuquerque, NM. Walsenburg City Administrator David Johnston told the HWJ early this week, he had a telephone conversation with Horizon Building Systems President Raul Scheller last week, who indicated he was meeting with a potential investor at that time, but Johnston did not know the outcome of that meeting. Some positive economic hopes in the community have been tied to the manufacturing facility since Kaspia Group purchased the plant last year. Job fairs had been held in connection with the Colorado Workforce Center in Walsenburg in 2013, but the future of the plant remains in question as the new year begins. This week Scheller said in a brief statement to the HWJ, “We had to take some measures due to the market conditions. We are planning to open up the plant in 2014 and we believe that it will be a great year for Walsenburg and Huerfano County.”