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Former Maytag employees plan startup

A group of Maytag engineers, who will be affected by Whirlpool’s plan to close a large portion of its Iowa-based Maytag operations, have announced they will start a new industrial development company to be called Springboard Engineering.

According to a report by the Associated Press, the group has secured a 40,000-square-foot building in the Des Moines area. Springboard Engineering will develop plastic injection molds and fabricate prototype sheet metal.

The startup and Whirlpool have agreed to a multiyear deal with the aim of maintaining technical expertise in Iowa, according to the report, though details of the arrangement were not made available. The group expects to staff about 50 workers with experience in mechanical, electrical and software engineering.

Whirlpool announced several restructuring plans last year, following its acquisition of former rival Maytag. Some operating changes included eliminating 4,500 jobs and closing three factories in Iowa, Illinois and Arkansas. The company also added 400 new jobs in Michigan and 1,100 jobs in Ohio.

Whirlpool is based in Benton Harbor, Mich., and markets products under brands including Amana, Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air, Brastemp and Bauknecht.

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