Drew Industries announces plans to bring 800 jobs to Elkhart County

Drew Industries, a supplier of components for RVs, manufactured homes, modular housing, truck caps, buses and trailers has announced plans to hire 800 people to fill positions in three locations in Goshen and one in Elkhart.

The city of Elkhart will be home to Drew Industries' corporate headquarters, and the company plans to occupy the former Continental Building at 3501 East County Road 6.

Drew Industries will invest $12.75 million dollars to renovate and equip manufacturing facilities for its wholly-owned subsidiaries, Lippert Components and Kinro, Inc,--both based in Goshen.

The companies will be looking to fill factory positions for their thermoforming and glass tempering operations, which are products for RVs and manufactured homes.

"Having the decisionmakers, the executives, here in our own backyard-- that's going to be tremendous," said Barkley Garrett, economic development director for the city of Elkhart.

News about the company's plans to move its headquarters to Elkhart first came out in february. Businesses said the announcement caused consumer confidence to go up even before people even knew how many jobs were coming to Michiana.

"As we go around talking to businesses at all times from all walks of life, they're all much more optimistic than they were," Kyle Hannon, president of the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce told NewsCenter16 in February. "People talk about the RV industry as sort of an indicator--that as it goes, so goes the nation, and it looks like we're charging back."

Development officials say not only is this positive because new employees will now be buying goods and services in the area, but hopefully, the new jobs will have a domino effect in Michiana.

"Lippert and Kinro will be using local suppliers to produce their products, so that's additional revenue that will stay here in the community and those suppliers will be able to create jobs as well."

Tuesday night, the Goshen Common Council gave Drew Industries preliminary approval for a tax phase-in, which, according to the Goshen News, will save the company $484,380, although the company would still pay $295,620 in additional property taxes over the seven years.

At Goshen's next council meeting on April 23, the council will hear from the public and vote on whether to approve a tax phase-in for the company.

Drew Industries is scheduled to go before the Elkhart city council Monday night to hear whether the city also will grant it a tax phase-in. If the company receives preliminary approval, the council will then vote in May on whether to grant the tax phase-in.

NewsCenter 16 contacted Drew Industries and Lippert Components for comment on this story, but neither has responded. A spokesperson for the Economic Development Corporation of Elkhart County said neither company is likely to comment until after the council votes to approve the tax phase-in, because they do not want to risk losing the tax incentives by disclosing that information.

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