Story from Site Selection magazine, posted May 2019
by RON STARNER
When NTN Driveshaft announced a $90-million investment creating up to 100 new jobs in Columbus, Indiana in October of 2018, the news confirmed what Hoosier Energy leaders had already known for a long time: The world is coming to the Midwest.
More specifically, companies from Japan and China are flocking in record numbers to Hoosier Energy’s service territory, which is stretched across 59 counties in Indiana and Illinois. Whether it’s Honda Manufacturing of Indiana, LLC investing $32.5 million to bolster production at its Greensburg, Indiana, assembly plant, or ATTC Manufacturing investing $27.3 million in a foundry operation in Tell City, Indiana, foreign direct investment deals are popping up all over the electric utility’s region. It’s not happening by accident either. Hoosier Energy works closely with state and local partners to arrange personal visits to CEOs and other business leaders in foreign countries, selling them on the advantages of choosing a Hoosier Energy location in the Midwest. Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb led such economic development trips to India and Japan in 2017, while Indiana Commerce Secretary Jim Schellinger led a delegation to China in 2018.
“In Indiana, we’re proud to be home to a global economy that now supports more than 950 foreign-owned business establishments that provide 193,000 jobs for Hoosiers. That’s up from 152,000 just three years ago,” said Schellinger. “Under the leadership of Governor Holcomb, we’re working to take Indiana to the world and bring the world back to Indiana. Our international efforts are strongly evident in communities like Columbus and Bartholomew County, which have worked hand-in-hand with us to cultivate these partnerships, supporting Japanese companies like NTN Driveshaft, Toyota Material Handling & Toyota Industrial Equipment Manufacturing, OSR and Daiei, as well as now India-based Axiscades.”
Jim Turner, general manager and CEO of the Bartholomew County REMC, notes that “the officials from Columbus have forged strong relationships over the years, leading several Japanese companies to move to our town. They don’t want to come and simply do business here. They want to become part of the community. Japanese companies’ long-term commitment to Columbus, Indiana — as seen in their steady employment growth at their manufacturing operations — is truly remarkable. I am confident that Columbus and Japan will continue to build upon their strong, mutually beneficial ties.”