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Ribbon Cutting, Acquisition and Law Suit Top Off Tumultuous Month at Goodrich

One of Burnsville's largest employers is going through a period of intense change: In the last 30 days, Goodrich closed an acquisition deal, debuted an expanded facility, and fired President Brian Gora, who is now suing for $2.6 million in lost pay.

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It's been a busy month at Goodrich, which employs over 1,000 people in Burnsville, with shakeups at the top most reaches of the company.

Goodrich fired its top Minnesota exec—and he's fighting back in court. On June 22, Goodrich Corp. fired Brian Gora, its top Minnesota executive, who had led Goodrich’s Burnsville-based Sensors and Integrated Systems Division since 2006. According to a recent report from the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal, the aerospace and defense manufacturer gave Gora the boot after an internal probe into allegations which have not beeen publicly disclosed. In response, Gora has filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit against Goodrich, charging that the company has unlawfully deprived him of a $2.6 million in pay.

Gora has been replaced by Tom Mepham, who previously served as the president of Goodrich’s Phoenix-based Interiors division.  

Goodrich has been officially acquired by United Technologies Corp. The company is now officially the property of United Technologies Corp. (UTX), On Thursday, company officials announced that the $16.5 billion acquisition deal had closed, after months of negotiations. The deal is one of the largest mergers in the aerospace industry's history.

According to Fox Business, the deal went through after European Union regulators granted conditional approval on Thursday. In the months leading up to approval, regulators instituted a probe into the deal over antitrust concerns.

"Throughout the history of our company, we have made many acquisitions, but Goodrich is among the few that stand out as truly transformational," UTC Chairman and CEO Louis Chenevert said in a statement. "Adding the talented people, great technology and culture of innovation that has defined Goodrich truly positions us to better serve our aerospace customers with more advanced, integrated solutions for the next generation aircraft."

The acquisition positions UTC well to capitalize a record spike in commercial plane orders. As a part of the negotiations, UTC agreed to take on $1.9 billion of Goodrich's debt.

Following absorption into UTC, Goodrich will be merged with Hamilton Sundstrand to create a new UTC Aerospace Systems business unit, which will be headquartered in Charlotte, NC. As yet, it is unclear what this might mean for those employed by Goodrich's Sensors and Integrated Systems division, which currently has about 4,200 people on its payroll worldwide. More than 1,600 of that total work in Minnesota - with approximately 1,275 employees in Burnsville, and 335 in Eagan.

The company will no longer appear on Standard & Poor's 500-stock index. Following the acquisition, Goodrich (GR) will disappear from the stock ticker. In its place will be Ensco PLC (ESV), which provides offshore-drilling services to the oil industry. The change will take effect as after Monday's closing bell, according to Fox Business.

On July 20, Goodrich debuted a newly expanded facility in Burnsville. The company recently added on 46,000 square feet to its high-tech manufacturing facility, which will produce miniature silicon wafer sensors no bigger than a fingertip, an integral component of Goodrich's commercial and military aerospace sensor-based products and systems. The expansion also includes a new icing wind tunnel on the campus, which became fully operational earlier this year. It is reputedly "one of the most advanced...in the world."

To celebrate, the company held a ribbon cutting that included Goodrich Corporation chairman, president and chief executive officer Marshall Larsen and many Minnesota notables, including Gov. Mark Dayton, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Dan Hall, Rep. Pam Myhra, Minnesota Speaker of the House Kurt Zellers and Burnsville Mayor Elizabeth Kautz.

Public officials praised the company's investment in Minnesota.

"Goodrich could have built this new facility anywhere it wanted—but it decided to expand its high tech operations in Minnesota and that says a lot about our state's commitment to technology and progress," Klobuchar said. "Minnesota is a state that makes things and this new facility is a shining example of the vital role innovation plays in our economy."

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