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Top business stories: Western Indiana update. (Regional Report: West).

VIGO COUNTY

Aisin Brake & Chassis Inc.'s new 150,000-square-foot plant in the Vigo County Industrial Park plans full production in January 2003. Archie Kappel, plant director, says an initial hiring of 35 will grow to about 90 by the end of 2003 and "ramp up to 200 by 2004. We're pleased to be a month ahead of schedule. Our first product will be rear brake shoes and braking plate assemblies for the Princeton Toyota plant. As we grow we'll manufacture other brake-related components."

Sony Disc Manufacturing, a world leader in digital disc manufacturing, recently announced plans to double the Terre Haute plant's DVD production from 450,000 discs per day to about one million per day. The production increase will involve adding 32 production lines and about 75 new jobs to the existing 1,000 workers.

With its grassroots and national retail markets growing, Doughmakers Inc. has added a second shift and is implementing a "Working Moms" employment program this fall. The program is geared to women who wish to go to work after their children leave for school and return home before the end of the school day. Doughmakers employs 35 full and part-time workers.

Both Terre Haute hospitals have broken ground for a combined $120 million in renovation and expansion. Terre Haute Regional Hospital's $40 million expansion will create approximately 100 new jobs following completion of the two-year project. Regional currently employs 839.

The Union Hospital Health Group, with 2,800 employees, recently began construction on a three-phase, $80 million project of new patient-care facilities, an expansion that will occur over 10 to 15 years.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY

Montgomery County's economic-development base continues to expand and be a net importer of labor, says John Doyel, director of Montgomery County Economic Development. "We have more people travel in to work here than travel out. While we have a small number of people underemployed, the industry expansions help those working two part-time jobs to now get one full-time job with benefits."

Random House's acquisition of Golden Books' Crawfordsville operation boosted the company's workforce from 123 to 252. The company has a distribution and returns facility in Crawfordsville, and prints some of its titles at nearby R.R. Donnelley, which employs 2,000.

Crawford Industries, a manufacturer cf high-density polyethelene and polypropylene, purchased its largest competitor, Polyblend, increasing its workforce to nearly 135. Crawford markets the plastic to the packaging and loose-leaf product industries for school and office supplies.

The county's steel businesses are weathering the national economic downturn and steel tariffs, says Doyel. Heidtman Steel, a finisher of steel products, is adding 65,000 square feet and 25 employees for a total of 125. Grown Cork and Seal, a specialty steel manufacturer, makes bottle caps for Anheuser-Busch and employs 150. Nucor Steel's $100 million expansion for production of thin-strip castings is on-line, supporting the plant's 500 workers. Raybestos Manhatten continues to produce friction materials for the automotive industry and employs 500.

PUTNAM COUNTY

Heartland Automotive is increasing capacity and adding a new automated painting facility through its $27 million plant expansion, says William Dory, executive director of Putnam County Economic Development. A producer of auto parts, the company's 360 employees will increase to 460.

DePauw University, a private liberal arts college with 2,200 students and 650 faculty and staff in Greencastle, has initiated a five-year, $50 million building plan including a new art center, expanded science building, new track-and-field facility, new student housing and residence hall and library renovation.

CLAY COUNTY

Though Great Dane Trailers at Brazil suffered a workforce reduction of 1,000 a year ago, the company is planning to hire an additional 200 to 300 this fall between its Brazil and Terre Haute plants. The Brazil site currently employs 700 and manufactures specialty and refrigerator semi-trailers, while the Terre Haute plant produces flatbed trailers with a workforce of 350.

Other prominent employers include newcomer IVC Industrial Coatings Inc., a producer of powder-based plastic coating which intends to employ 80 at full capacity, and Technifab Inc., a manufacturer of gas transfer lines employing 50.

OWEN COUNTY

The Spencer/Owen County Development Organization is awaiting word on two projects that could greatly affect economic development in the area, says Jack Simmerman, president of the organization. "The most anxiety comes from waiting for the 1-69 location announcement. Two of the five proposed routes come through Owen County and two run along the county border, We are also waiting to hear on the changes to be made to State Road 46 from Spencer to Ellettsville, a most heavily traveled portion of road," says Simmerman.

The county's two major employers, medical manufacturers Boston Scientific and Cook Urological, sustain their collective employment of 1,150.

FOUNTAIN COUNTY

Major employers in Fountain County have seen little change in their workforces. C&D Technologies employs approximately 200 and manufactures commercial batteries, and Harrison Steel Castings, a foundry producing steel and modular iron castings using heat treatment, custom and finished machining and a pattern shop, employs 560. Both are located in Attica. Steel Grip at Covington employs 65 and is a maker of safety apparel.

Veedersburg is the site of Master-guard, employer of about 900 and producer of bumpers and running boards for Daimler Chrysler, Ford., General Motors, Toyota and Mazda. KruppGerlock, also at Veedersburg, is a manufacturer of automobile and truck crankshafts employing 65.

VERMILLION COUNTY

The town of Clinton has received nearly $5 million through three grants. The money will provide downtown road reconstruction, restoration of a historic theater and construction of a new apartment complex.

Thanks to recent efforts by Sen. Evan Bayh, the destruction of nerve gas at the Newport chemical weapons depot has been moved up from 2007 to March 2004, says Sandi Treaster, executive director of the Vermillion County Economic Development Council. "This earlier destruction date will hopefully allow us to pursue reuse and redevelopment of the property more quickly," says Treaster.

The county's largest employer is Eli Lilly & Co., which currently employs 750 and manufactures antibiotics and animal health pharmaceuticals.

PARKE COUNTY

Superior Hardwoods of Montezuma, a wholly owned subsidiary of JT Shannon that employs 100, is in the final stages of $3.1 million in company improvements including computer-aided technology, says Mary Helen Weisheit, executive director of Parke County Economic Development. The company produces high-end hardwood products to be used in furniture and architectural molding.

Scott Pet Products, a manufacturer and distributor of small animal and bird products and foods, is launching newly patented products including treats for dogs made from roasted pork skin. The company employs 150 in Rockville.

WARREN COUNTY

In the past year county leaders have established the Warren County Local Economic Development Organization. A new 14-acre industrial park at State Road 28 and U.S. 41 is receiving infrastructure, thanks to more than $535,000 in grants and monies from USDA's Rural Development, the Indiana Department of Commerce and small-business revolving loans. An adjoining 53 acres has been optioned for further development. Kuri-Teck Manufacturing--a maker of plastic hoses for vending, medical and other equipment--and sister company Hose Technology, which produces flexible metal hose, employ 40 and are planning a five-year, $5 million expansion in building upgrades and equipment.

BENTON COUNTY

Fowler is in the midst of downtown revitalization and infrastructure and community recreation improvements. A $1.4 million state revolving loan will enable the town to replace fire hydrants, lay more than three miles of water lines and install 1,000 water meters. A $48,600 grant through the Federal Small Cities and Towns Community Development Block grant program provides for architectural design and blueprints, change of traffic flow, greenscapes and downtown facade improvement.
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Author:Hayhurst, Susan
Publication:Indiana Business Magazine
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2002
Words:1271
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