STAYING PUT: Neeraj Jha, CEO of Unetixs Vascular, says company owners never had a formal plan to leave Rhode Island.
PBN PHOTO/TRACY JENKINS
By Patrick Anderson PBN Staff Writer
In three years, Unetixs Vascular Inc. has gone from another cautionary tale about businesses leaving Rhode Island’s fragile economy to a refreshing example of a firm planning to grow here over the long haul.
When founder Peter Moscovita sold the North Kingstown medical-device manufacturer in mid-2010 in order to retire, he didn’t expect the new owner, Opto Circuits India Ltd., would keep the company in the state.
Opto owns another company in Wisconsin, Criticare, that makes patient-monitoring equipment and during the transition Moscovita believed Unetixs’ operations would be gradually moved there.
“The company will probably stay for about a year and then it will slowly be phased out of Rhode Island, which is the one thing I was fighting for but it didn’t get too far – to try and keep the operation here,” Moscovita told Providence Business News in August 2010, while he was acting as an adviser to the new owners. “Not what I would have liked to see, but Rhode Island, I guess, is too expensive for them to consider staying.”
But apparently Moscovita’s fears about the Ocean State’s competitiveness were exaggerated, as not only has Unetixs stayed in North Kingstown, it celebrated its 25th anniversary there in October at an event with Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee and Director of Health Dr. Michael Fine.
“Throughout the company’s 25 years, not only has Unetixs been at the forefront of innovation but has been creating jobs for Rhode Islanders,” Chafee said in a news release marking the event.
In a recent interview, Unetixs CEO Neeraj Jha said Opto had never gotten to the point of having a plan in place to consolidate operations in Wisconsin or elsewhere.
“There was not an action plan to move,” said Jha, who took the helm at Unetixs about a year ago and was not in Rhode Island for the transition period. “There were a few functions that got moved out, some accounting, but manufacturing remains here and maintaining that was the plan all the time.”