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3rd-largest employer in St. Mary’s to leave county — but jobs likely to stay

St. Mary’s County’s third-largest employer, a defense contractor that employs more than 900 people in the county of just under 114,000 residents, is leaving the area. DynCorp International, which was acquired in late 2020 by Amentum, a Germantown-based federal contractor, had served the Patuxent River Naval Air Station for more than 48 years, according to Amentum’s website. 

But few, if any, jobs will be lost; the company’s contract in the area, doing maintenance on five squadrons of aircrafts known as the Naval Test Wing Atlantic, has been taken over by another contractor, The Vertex Company, that county officials anticipate will maintain all 937 employees. 

The Mississippi-based company announced this past April that it had been awarded the contract with the U.S. Navy, which is valued up to $850 million. 

“Vertex looks forward to working closely with Naval Test Wing Atlantic to maintain the aircraft used to test and evaluate emerging capabilities for the naval aviation community,” Ed Boyington, The Vertex Company’s president and CEO, said in a press release at the time. 

Because large companies are required to give their employees and communities advanced notice of facility closures and mass layoffs, Amentum notified the St. Mary’s County government that they would be laying off all of its St. Mary’s County employees, despite the fact that the employees will most likely to transfer to Vertex. 

ALisa Casas, communications director for the county’s Public Information Office, declined to share Amentum’s letter to the county with The Daily Record, as it has not yet been released to the public. 

However, Chris Kaselemis, director of economic development, said it was unlikely many, if any, St. Mary’s County residents would lose their jobs. 

“This is very common,” he said. “Sometimes this happens and we don’t even know about it.” 

Kaselemis anticipates that the shift from Amentum to Vertex will have little impact on the community. It’s not uncommon for a new contractor to be similar to its predecessor in terms of community engagement and philanthropic giving, he noted. 

Amentum declined a request for an interview with The Daily Record, but said via email, “DynCorp International LLC was the previous contractor for supporting aircraft maintenance and contractor logistics support services on behalf of the U.S. Department of Navy for the Naval Test Wing Atlantic.  We are transitioning the work to the successor contractor who we anticipate will offer employment opportunities to incumbent employees to ensure a seamless transition.” 

Vertex did not immediately respond to a request for comment.