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Orban Consolidates R&D

No terminations involved with closure of San Leandro office

Audio processor designer and manufacturer Orban USA has consolidated engineering offices to two locations: Scottsdale, Ariz., and Ludwigsburg, Germany, and has closed the San Leandro, Calif. office in the San Francisco Bay area.

Some key members of the longtime San Leandro engineering staff will be working off-site, taking part in online meetings and engineering sessions between all offices. Those engineers will continue to be part of the Orban team, according to the company.

Since Bob Orban co-founded the company in 1970, Orban has maintained an office in the San Francisco Bay Area. When Circuit Research Labs acquired Orban in 2000, the operation had 114 employees in a 52,000-square foot building for manufacturing, customer service, sales, research and development. In 2006, Orban consolidated the corporate offices, sales, manufacturing, and customer service, moving those jobs to Tempe, Ariz., with 19 employees remaining in California.

By early 2015, Orban had four employees working out of the California office and four working from home due to the commuter traffic in the Bay Area. When its lease ran out at the end of 2014, Orban decided to close the San Leandro office and consolidate its U.S. operations entirely in Scottsdale, enabling the Northern California employees to use Orban’s virtual private networking and online Web conferencing to do their jobs from home.

Orban President/CEO/Chair Jay Brentlinger tells Radio World many of the San Leandro-based employees had long commutes, including company co-founder Bob Orban, which they were happy to give up. The company is transitioning from a DSP to a PC-based product which means it needs less space, its development costs drop and its time to market drops too, he says.

The company is saving an unspecified amount of money by giving up the San Leandro office as well, he notes.

No employee is losing their job over the transition, Brentlinger confirms. Some of the Northern California-based employees have been with the company 15 to 30 years. Orban currently has 45 total employees between the U.S. Germany and the Netherlands.

When asked if the changes could mean the company is closing, he responded “No, we’re not closing. We can keep operating for a long, long time.”

In addition to the U.S. operation, Orban maintains offices in Europe for manufacturing, customer service, and support. Although approximately 80% of production now occurs in Germany, Orban maintains additional production capacity in the U.S. for all models of its product line.