Another manufacturing headquarters moved to Elkhart County. It is more good news for an area that was recently ranked first in the state and third in the country for job growth and development.
Wednesday morning Indiana Governor Mike Pence joined executives from Drew Industries Inc. for a ribbon cutting ceremony at its new location on C.R. 6 in Elkhart. Earlier this year, Drew Industries announced its plans to invest $12.75 million to make the transition from White Plains, NY to Elkhart, IN.
“Our customers are here, our employees are here and now our headquarters are here, “ said CEO of Lippert Components, Jason Lippert.
Lippert pledged to continue to grow and provide strong leadership in the local community, all the while local officials from Elkhart and Goshen offered their applause.
Mayor Dick Moore briefly took the podium with positive remarks for the company: “they’re very good at what they do, and they recognize very quickly what will sell and what will not.”
A subsidiary of Lippert Components, Drew Industries promised to create up to 800 new jobs by 2017. Part of the project involves the installation of manufacturing and production lines and the expansion of operations in Elkhart and Goshen.
Drew Industries’ entry in the market serves as a prime example of the economic growth and development the governor discussed on his tour of northern Indiana.
“Companies like Drew Industries and Lippert Components kept believing in Indiana, kept believing in the people of Indiana; and the jobs and opportunities and jobs that followed since the downturn are a testament to the resilience of these people and these companies,” said Pence.
What was once referred to as the “white hot center” of the recession is now being called “the Elkhart miracle.”
Kyle Hannon of the Elkhart Chamber of Commerce remembered how President Obama’s trip to Elkhart marked an ultimate low point. But now, with the exceptional growth, Hannon said they’re waiting for another trip to celebrate.
Currently, Elkhart County has about 1,000 acres of land ready to be developed. Two business parks have already received “shovel ready” designations by the state, while two more are awaiting the title.
“Yes a lot of these people were knocked back during the recession but they weren’t knocked out,” said Hannon, “it’s getting past the obstacles figuring out what it is that they do so well and that’s paying off right now.”
After attending the ribbon cutting ceremony Pence made his way to downtown Elkhart to speak with a sold out crowd at the Lerner Theatre.
Pence addressed local business leaders and urged them to share their story and serve as a guide for other areas on the road to recovery.
“I’m convince if we all do all we can, the best days are to come for our state,” Pence said confidently.
The governor had his own progress report for the entire Hoosier State. Including a projected growth rate higher than 42 other states and a four-part plan to achieve continued economic development: which included: exercising fiscal integrity, tax relief and regulatory reform, investment in roads and bridges and furthering education.