Local jobs at stake in G.M./Ford dilemma

As talk on Capitol Hill turns toward a possible financial aid package for the likes of G.M. and Ford, local companies like Kem Krest are all ears.

Kem Krest employs 65-people at its operations in Elkhart. 95-percent of its business comes from contracts with General Motors and Ford.

“We pray for G.M. and Ford to stay afloat, said Kem Krest President Amish Shah. “G.M. and Ford’s bankruptcy if that would occur would certainly be a major hamper on our operation.”

The company has been trying to diversify, and Wednesday brought success. Automaker Hyundai signed a multi million dollar contract for Kem Krest services.

“To land an account like this, in tough economic times, it’s a huge success,” said Shah.

Not so huge that Kem Krest will be hiring new employees. “Unfortunately these past months we've been forced to downsize some staff, now that we've picked up this new business, it kind of stabilizes our workforce and certainly gives job security for everybody we've got around us,” said Shah.

Kem Krest will provide the same services for Hyundai as it now does for G.M. and Ford. Kem Krest supplies and delivers chemicals ranging from transmission fluid to cleaners to auto service dealers across the continent.

As the talk on Capital Hill now turns to a possible bailout package for the likes of G.M. and Ford, Kem Krest is all ears.

By the end of the year, Kem Krest hopes to announce plans for its new corporate headquarters. Today, Kem Krest President Amish Shah expressed a desire to remain in Elkhart, although he said sites in southwest Michigan were also being considered.

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