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SRC Vision ceases Medford production

SRC Vision rolled the last high-tech optical scanning machine off its Medford production line Friday and shipped it to China.

Production of the complex, computer-driven optical systems will now move to Walla Walla, Wash., into the facilities of SRC's former competitor and new parent company Key Technology, said SRC general manager and vice president Rod Larson.

The optical scanning machines are used in industrial markets to sort such items as wood chips, recycled plastic and paper, and tobacco.

Right now, we just need to catch our breath, Larson said of the transition. It's a change in direction and now we just need to focus on growing our business.

The acquisition was a welcome move for financially troubled Advanced Machine Vision, which lost nearly $1.6 million in the first quarter of 2000.

The second quarter of 2000 was the company's last as an independent manufacturer.

Advanced Machine Vision employed approximately 105 people at subsidiary SRC Vision in Medford, and 20 at Ventek Inc. in Eugene, Larson said.

Although production activities will be moved to Washington, Larson said research, development, sales and service activities will continue at SRC in Medford.

Culminated in July, the deal resulted in the loss of about 50 SRC jobs averaging $10 to $18 an hour, Larson said.

Although transitions have been difficult, many of the SRC Vision employees who lost their jobs as a result of the acquisition are using their layoff as a chance to change career gears.

Former SRC employee Dannie Hoy said Key Technology helped him and others with retraining options, shifting layoff dates to accommodate the beginning of RCC's college semester and provided financial advice regarding stock options.

When Key started taking over, they did everything they could for us, Hoy said. When they came in, we were worried. They?d been the enemy for so long. But they were great to us.

After working for SRC for four years, the 53-year-old fabricator is now studying construction technology, attending classes through RCC with his wife by his side learning computer-aided design drafting.

It wasn't a bad thing, Hoy said of SRC's acquisition. Most of the people that I have run into on (RCC's) campus I used to work with are happy. I think everybody is going to be doing better.

Key Technology took a very nice approach to this, Larson said. They provided a generous severance pay package, ample notice, and the company has provided training courses for outplacement.

The opportunity for me to go back to school, I think, is outstanding, Hoy said. I will probably never get the opportunity to go back to school again in my life.

About 25 to 30 engineers will continue to work in SRC's Medford facility, in addition to customer and administrative support personnel, Larson said.

About half of the company's $8 million in research and development will take place in Medford.

Reach reporter at 776-4463, or e-mail .