Pa. region's military contractors expect to feel sequester cuts

Sequestration calls for $43 billion in cuts to the military, and though precise numbers are hard to come by, it seems likely the reductions will be felt locally.

Erie County companies won more than $430 million in defense contracts over the past decade, according to a government database, with companies in Crawford County winning $13.8 million over the same period.

One of the largest local contractors, according to government records, is Lord Corp., with plants in Erie and Crawford counties.

Officials at Lord Corp., which filled more than $308 million in defense contracts over the past 10 years, said that defense work represents about 15 percent of the company's business.

"The indiscriminate cuts to military spending will hurt our nation's military readiness and weaken the defense industry," the company said in a statement. "Lord is a supplier to major defense aviation programs that we expect will be negatively impacted by sequestration, and await details on how these cuts will be implemented."

Rob Smith, owner of Acutec Precision Machining Inc., said his company depends on the defense industry for about 20 percent of its business.

That's enough to concern him. But Smith, who has about 330 employees in Meadville and Saegertown, said he's more worried about the effect that sequestration could have on the overall economy.

"We could see this coming and knew defense business was going to go down anyway with getting out of Iraq," he said.

Referring to his company, Smith said, "We would have to make adjustments, but it's the normal course of business. The world is not coming to an end."

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