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Indiana: The Hoosier State Has A Bold Vision For The Future - September 2016


From Business Facilities Magazine, September/October 2016 Issue

Indiana’s advanced auto manufacturing is powering investment and fueling expansion throughout the state. And with several projects underway, or nearing completion, the Hoosier Energy network is hard at work providing the infrastructure and electric power to bring new facilities online.

Hoosier Energy and its 18-member distribution cooperatives, which serve central and southern Indiana and southeastern Illinois, have worked to build a platform that provides new facilities reliable power from groundbreaking to full production capacity.

“We are always planning for future need and the next project,” said Hoosier Energy Key Accounts Manager Jim Wittman. “Our first priority is to ensure that the infrastructure is in place to springboard the expansion that we are seeing in our area.”

From green-space planning and shovel-ready sites to providing real-time monitoring, remote closures at substations, and constant communication with rural electric member cooperatives (REMCs) to allocate power for regional power demands, Hoosier Energy’s approach is proactive and serves as a catalyst for economic growth.

Auto manufacturers invested more than $250 million in REMC-served sites and facilities in south central Indiana alone in 2015 and 2016. With the industry showing no signs of slowing, Wittman added that the REMCs are invested in seamless and successful implementation of services for expansions and new facilities. “Their engineers and technicians live and work in these communities and serve as advocates for growing their local economy,” he said.

Hoosier Energy staff and the REMC managers coordinate closely with clients to quickly and efficiently provide reliable power at a competitive cost. The Hoosier Energy team negotiates agreements with companies detailing expansion needs and costs, rate options incentives, as well as the time periods needed for construction and delivery.

“Hoosier Energy’s economic development and engineering team members collaborate extensively with REMC managers and staff on both new-attraction and existing-expansion projects, particularly those projects that require new or expanded electric transmission facilities,” said Chuck Martindale, Hoosier Energy senior economic coordinator.

Part of the stellar success of the industry in this part of the state is attributed to thriving communities like Mooresville, Columbus, and Greensburg with proven track records of supporting company expansion and re-location. The abundant interstate, highway and rail access as well as Indiana’s pro-business climate and favorable tax rates are also very desirable to both domestic and foreign investment.

TOA (USA) has undertaken three significant construction projects in Mooresville, Indiana, and has invested a total of $111.2 million into its facility, bringing 300 new jobs into the community. When all projects are completed, TOA (USA) will have nearly 1,000 employees working in 1 million square feet of facilities.

As a major a supplier to Subaru and Toyota, TOA specializes in frame and automotive suspension parts manufacturing. Founded in 2000, the manufacturer’s Mooresville facility is the company’s first and only auto-parts manufacturing plant in the United States.

“TOA’s expansions help our community grow because the growth of its workforce results in additional payroll, taxes and consumer needs in the economy,” said Mike Dellinger, Morgan County Economic Development Corporation executive director. “TOA’s growth exemplifies to other businesses that the workforce is productive and that business costs are reasonable and competitive when compared with other Midwest metropolitan locations.

Toyota Industrial Equipment Manufacturing (TIEM) has a new $16 million expansion and building renovation at its forklift manufacturing plant in Columbus, Indiana. The 50,600-square-foot addition will increase the total facility to 1.1 million square feet of manufacturing and support space.

The expansion includes a two-story office building, cafeteria, storm shelter, locker room and expansion space for Toyota’s onsite medical center for associates and their families. The new building will also serve as headquarters for Toyota Material Handling North America.

Also in Columbus, global emissions control technology giant Faurecia has a new $64 million facility that figures to be a launching point for what the company is calling their 4.0 manufacturing initiative. The facility’s operations are being touted as a possible blueprint for the future of digital manufacturing.

The 400,000-square-foot plant will produce a new, high-tech emission control product for Cummins in a digital environment­­­­­­—a facility that will use robotics, automated robotic vehicles and visual communication techniques designed to foster collaboration and communication from management to the manufacturing floor.

Honda Manufacturing of Indiana (HMIN) in Greensburg, Indiana is investing $52 million to expand its plant to support production startup early next year of the Honda CR-V compact SUV, and the establishment of a training center for its employees.

Specifically, HMIN is investing approximately $40 million to enhance manufacturing flexibility and production capabilities of its existing 1.3 million-square-foot plant, and will invest an additional $12.37 million toward its new 20,000-square-foot Associate Resource Center. The capital investment in HMIN now exceeds $900 million, and the plant provides employment for over 2,300 associates.

Yet another investment in Greensburg comes at Valeo Engine Cooling, Inc., a global manufacturer of engine cooling loop exchangers and modules; change air, exhaust gas, and oil coolers; and front end modules. Valeo invested $22 million in the Greensburg operation to upgrade equipment and to hire 25 more employees. The company has invested about $128 million in for this site in the last decade, and the local campus employs 700 full-time and about 220 part-time staff.

Hoosier Energy Manager of Economic Development & Key Accounts Harold Gutzwiller is quick to point out a common thread among TOA, TIEM, Faurecia, HMIN, and Valeo. “Automotive companies continue to reinvest in our communities not only because of our central location and great business environment but because of our strong workforce which continues to be among the most productive in the U.S.”

A strong automotive manufacturing heritage is celebrated in communities throughout the Hoosier Energy network. From one generation to the next, manufacturing skills and technical acumen are passed on creating a highly-skilled manufacturing workforce which complements its prime geographic location, and top notch electric utility infrastructure. With this mix of desirable attributes, central and southern Indiana and southeastern Illinois are primed for continued automotive manufacturing success.

Hoosier Energy is a generation and transmission cooperative (G&T) with headquarters in Bloomington, Indiana. The G&T provides electric power and services to 18 electric distribution cooperatives in southern and central Indiana and southeastern Illinois. Hoosier Energy operates the coal-fired Merom Generating Station, three natural gas power plants, several renewable energy facilities and a 1,700-mile transmission network. For more information, visit www.hepn.com.

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