Shaffer

May 3, 2016 – The Economic Development Corporation of Wayne County had its annual meeting Monday, where it celebrated 2015 — a year of growth for the area’s workforce — and gave a glimpse into what the region can expect for the
rest of this year.

In 2015, the EDC completed 12 major projects totaling $27.59 million. The projects accounted for the creation of 232 new jobs and the retention of nearly 100 others. The economic development body also celebrated its outgoing board members, Lee Elzemeyer, Brett Guiley, John Meredith and Bill Quigg, during the event at Forest Hills Country Club on Richmond’s south side.

“It was a fantastic year for us, and we are really thrilled by the developments that we were able to help bring together,” said Valerie Shaffer, president of the EDC. “There’s a lot of potential here, and I think we’ll continue seeing growth in Wayne County in the near future.”

Shaffer said the past year’s accomplishments are more greatly enhanced by the ongoing work being done to bring new developments to the Wayne County area. This includes Omen USA, a subsidiary of an Israeli company that anufactures auto body parts, which announced in January it would move to the area, as well as ongoing efforts to bring a pet food processor to the area through Project Dove.

She said even after those kinds of investments are agreed upon, the work continues behind the scenes.

“It’s not like everything stops after the announcement is made,” Shaffer said. “We still work closely with the companies and do all we can to make sure the process is seamless. They’re making an investment in our community, so we make just as big an investment in them.”

Shaffer said the county development group also is working with Jay and Randolph counties to create a web platform for those seeking career opportunities.

“Each county sits along the U.S. 27 corridor, and that’s a really great place to operate and maintain businesses, we think,” she said. “We’re really looking forward to bringing more talent to the area — and helping (those counties) do the same thing.”

Highlights from 2015 include:

  • Two Jason Industries subsidiaries, Janesville Acoustics and Osborn International, announced significant investments in the area. Janesville announced a new facility in Richmond with 87 new jobs and an investment worth $12 million while Osborn moved its Cleveland, Ohio, headquarters to the area through an investment of $1.87 million and the creation of 37 jobs.
  • Perpetual Recycling Solutions signed on to invest $5.2 million in new machinery, building improvements and employee training.
  • Suncall America Inc. planned to purchase equipment to increase its product line and build a 10,000-square-foot addition to accommodate the new machinery. Its investments are expected to be worth about $3.6 million.
  • Innomark Communications, formerly Grafcor Inc., expanded its business in Richmond. The project created 33 jobs and retained 17. The company also planned to invest about $1.5 million in building improvements, relocation and installation of equipment, and the purchase of new IT equipment, as well as employee training.
  • Ahaus Tool & Engineering has expanded its assembly area. The project resulted in nearly $700,000 in investment and created 11 jobs.
  • JM Hutton and Company Inc. expanded its product lines with a new equipment purchase. An investment of $657,000 led to the retention of five jobs.
  • Noble Order Brewing Co. planned to add 10 jobs and invest more than $570,000. The craft brewer also recently opened a Zionsville, Ind., tap room, which was not a result of the EDC’s efforts but was noted as another sign of growth for the Richmond-based company.
  • Hill’s Pet Nutrition Inc. pledged to invest more than $500,000 to build a training center at its facility to provide basic and advanced manufacturing skills for all employees.
  • Woodruff Corporation purchased a new water jet cutting line. It planned to invest more than $400,000 and create six jobs.
  • Contact Industrial Tooling (CIT) planned to invest more than $300,000 to build a 10,000-square-foot addition onto the company’s existing facility.
  • Wernle Youth and Family Treatment Center built out three nurses stations, purchased and installed new computer and IT equipment, and saw enhanced training programs for new employees. The $186,000 investment led to the creation of nearly 20 jobs.