U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) introduced legislation July 23 to double the R&D tax credit and allow more small business startups to access the credit, according to a release.
“America’s recovery from the unprecedented crisis we are facing will be driven by our innovative and entrepreneurial spirit,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “Doubling the R&D tax credit will encourage companies – especially small businesses and startups – to invest more in research and development that will unleash economic growth and prosperity. This commonsense measure will go a long way toward keeping America ahead of our global competitors and ensuring we continue to lead the world in scientific discoveries, technological breakthroughs, and cutting-edge manufacturing.”
The bill would double the rate for each of the options businesses have to access the research and development (R&D) tax credit.
Double the “Traditional” Credit to 40 Percent: For more established companies, the existing traditional credit rate – which uses a complicated formula – would double from 20 percent to 40 percent of the increase in R&D spending.
Double the Alternative Simplified Credit (ASC) to 28 Percent: The existing ASC rate – which uses a simpler formula – would double from 14 percent to 28 percent of the increase in R&D spending.
More than Double the Credit for Firms with Little Research History to 14 Percent: For companies with no history of U.S. research in the past three years, the credit would more than double from 6 percent to 14 percent of R&D spending. (The current rate would have been 7 percent if not for a prior drafting error.)
Double the Startup Limit to $500,000: Companies with relatively low income in the past five years can take one of the above credits as a credit against Social Security payroll taxes. The limit on the amount they may claim would double from $250,000 to $500,000.
This proposal is supported by the National Association of Manufacturers.
The full text of the legislation can be found here.
Federal funding through the CARES Act has enabled the temporary expansion of Next Level Jobs as part of the Rapid Recovery for a Better Future initiative. This expansion adds a significant number of training programs and extends eligibility to Hoosiers who have an existing two- or four-year degree. These Rapid Recovery Expansion programs and eligibility will expire December 30, 2020.
At a recent company gathering, Alliance RV, Elkhart, Ind., announced the production of its 500th Paradigm fifth-wheel.
During the gathering, Co-Founder Coley Brady noted, “We launched Alliance RV with a mission of providing a superior customer ownership experience and are thrilled with how the shift in business philosophy is resonating with both our dealer partners and product owners. To experience the validation that we have seen over the last six months has been very humbling.”
Co-Founder Ryan Brady continued the sentiments with a thank you to Alliance RV’s 150-plus team members as well as the Alliance product owners (known as Allies) who have been instrumental in driving the design of the Alliance RV product. Ryan went on to say, “A solid foundation has clearly been put in place to responsibly grow Alliance RV into the future. We will remain resolute in our mission of exceeding customer expectations with a guiding principle of ‘doing the right thing’”.
Located on 112 acres in the heart of Elkhart, Ind., Alliance RV began production in fall 2019 with the first product line focused on the luxury fifth-wheel market. The company’s vision is to “create a product driven by our customers, through their experience and input, and execute on those ideas at the highest level.”
For more information on Alliance RV, please visit www.AllianceRV.com or join the Alliance RV Facebook page at “Alliance RV Group.
Indiana’s manufacturing industry is critical to the state’s economy and success. To ensure the industry retains its national leadership position and embraces advanced technologies, Conexus Indiana is partnering with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) to launch a new Manufacturing Readiness Grant program.
In partnership with the IEDC, Conexus Indiana is now accepting applications for up to $200,000 in matching grants for companies committing to increasing their competitiveness by integrating smart technologies and processes in order to improve capacity, capability, speed and quality. Funding may also be utilized for health care manufacturing technology, providing financial assistance to manufacturers supporting COVID-19 response efforts.
Everything’s set for the 2020 RV Industry Power Breakfast on the morning of Dec. 3 at the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Northern Indiana Event Center in Elkhart, Ind., a popular annual event held in the heart of the RV-manufacturing center that was rescheduled from its original mid-May date due to pandemic considerations.
On tap for this year’s live-and-in-person breakfast – now planned for the same week that the industry’s traditional Lousiville Show was held for 54 years prior to its 2017 cancellation — are presentations by the RV Industry Association (RVIA) and Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) plus an “RV Executive Summit” featuring the chief executives of Thor Industries Inc., Forest River Inc. and Winnebago Industries Inc., the industry’s three highest volume manufacturers.
Also on the agenda – with Congress in session — is a remote interview with U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, a southern Indiana Republican whose family-held firm, Meyer Distributing, is an aftermarket parts and accessories distributor in the automotive and RV industries. Plans also call for a short video visit from U.S. Rep Jackie Walorski, a 2nd District South Bend Congresswoman with close ties to the RV sector.
Tickets for the Power Breakfast, which now follows by a month the presidential elections, go on sale Oct. 26, with details to follow.
“Ordinarily, you’d never really have to post a reminder at a time like this that an event like the RV Industry Power Breakfast is indeed being held as planned,” said BJ Thompson, an Elkhart, Ind.-based marketing executive who coordinates the Power Breakfast in conjunction with an ad hoc oversight committee and RVBusiness magazine.
“However, these aren’t ordinary times, as everyone knows, and significant events are being cancelled right and left,” he added, “and we just want everyone to know that that’s not the case with the Power Breakfast, where things are very much in place.”
This year’s Power Breakfast is sponsored by Airxcel, Cummins Inc., Winnebago Industries Inc., Dometic Corp., Wells Fargo CDF, Forest River Inc., KOA, Spartan Motors Inc., RVIA and Thor Industries.
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Wednesday, June 24th 2020, 12:07 PM EDT Updated: Wednesday, June 24th 2020, 12:18 PM EDT By Mary Willkom, Writer/Reporter
The SonSetLink Water Monitor was voted ‘Coolest Thing Made in Elkhart County’ (photo courtesy of Made in Elkhart County)
ELKHART COUNTY – The Elkhart County Convention & Visitors Bureau’s “Coolest Thing Made in Elkhart County” campaign has named its winner. The SonSetLink Water Monitor, developed and built by SonSet Solutions, earned the top honors.
The water monitor is a universal satellite monitoring system that reports data on the health of water systems in underdeveloped countries. SonSet says the system can track information such as the number of gallons flowing from a single system as well as the levels of chlorination in the water.
Inspired by the Vibrant Communities initiative in Elkhart County, the campaign culminated with a public vote. The bureau says SonSetLink Water Monitor received nearly 25% of all votes.
More than 4,000 votes were cast between June 1 and June 15 for 30 different products from ice cream to RVs. The campaign was first announced in January.
The winner was announced via the Made in Elkhart County Facebook page on Wednesday.
SonSet says it has deployed more than 750 water monitoring units to more than 25 countries across the world so far.
Ameri-Kart, a Myers Industries Inc. company and a rotational molder and thermoformer, announced plans Friday (June 5) to expand its Elkhart County manufacturing operations, consolidating its Michigan and Indiana operations in Bristol, Ind., and creating up to 210 new jobs by the end of 2022.
“Thanks to manufacturers like Ameri-Kart growing and producing in our state, Indiana continues to build on its reputation as one of top manufacturing states in the nation, with nearly 30% of our state’s economic output coming from the manufacturing industry,” said Indiana Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger. “We’re grateful Ameri-Kart chose to continue growing its Indiana operations, and are excited to support their continued success in our state.”
Ameri-Kart, which manufactures a broad range of custom plastic parts within the RV, marine, agricultural, construction, manufacturing and safety industries, will invest approximately $10.1 million to construct and equip a new, state-of-the-art production facility in Bristol on 32 acres at 1667 Commerce Drive near I-80/90 and I-94. The new 234,000-square-foot facility will accommodate the consolidation of Ameri-Kart’s existing operations in Bristol, as well as its operations in Cassopolis, Michigan. Construction is underway, and the company plans to begin relocation in staged phases this fall and be fully moved into the facility by early 2021. The move will support the company’s efforts to increase efficiency of operations and enhance customer service.
“We are excited to be making this investment in our community,” said Kristian Stankiewicz, president of Ameri-Kart. “The larger, modern facility will allow us to continue delivering highly innovative products and quality service to our customers and provide an improved work environment to our employees.”
The company, which currently employs 138 associates in Bristol and 85 in Michigan, plans to begin hiring for positions in professional and production roles in Bristol beginning late September. Interested applicants may apply online.
“The Town of Bristol is both excited and grateful that Ameri-Kart has selected our town to locate their new state-of-the-art production facility,” said Bristol Town Council President Jeff Beachy. “Ameri-Kart has been a great business partner for many years, with their current facility located just outside Bristol town limits, so when they approached us about building their new facility in our North Industrial Park we were more than excited and supportive of their project. We look forward to seeing the new facility as it springs to life from the once vacant property, into a thriving business. We wish Myers Industries, the Ameri-Kart leadership team and their employees much success as they invest in the growth of their business operations, their new facility and also for their investment they are making in the Town of Bristol.”
Founded in 1989, Ameri-Kart manufactures a wide range of molded plastic parts and assemblies that meet customer design specifications and production requirements for a variety of industries. The new facility will accommodate state-of-the-art rotomold and thermoform manufacturing technologies, an improved lean equipment layout and automated workflows. Coupled with ergonomic and biophilic design throughout the building, these improvements will drive increased efficiency, and further enhance employee productivity and job satisfaction.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following “Open Letter to the Business Community of Elkhart County,” signed by the mayors of Elkhart, Goshen and Nappanee, Ind., as well as the Elkhart County Commissioners and economic development and chamber of commerce officials, was distributed this week (June 1) to express the concerns of the community leaders regarding the ongoing spread of the COVID-19 virus throughout those Northern Indiana communities where, coincidentally, North America’s RV industry is centered. The letter follows published reports regarding a hike in Elkhart County’s COVID-19 infection rates. We’re posting the letter verbatim here on RVBUSINESS.com.
We are reaching out to you to share our concerns about the spread of COVID-19, particularly as it relates to Elkhart County.
In March and April, our community did a great job working together to slow the spread of the virus and assure that we could medically test and treat those who were infected. We expected a peak in mid-May in northern Indiana, but numbers in the past week in particular are troubling. As of June 1, Elkhart County had a total of 1,322 positive cases from 9,849 tested and 28 people have died from the coronavirus.
The State of Indiana is decreasing the percentage of new positive cases in comparison to the number of tests given. The temporary shut down and actions of people as we open up seem to have been successful statewide. Our county tells a different story. In the past week, Elkhart County received national attention when it became the 10th most likely in the entire country to have the next COVID-19 outbreak, based on data collected by the New York Times. This has since changed and we are no longer on the high end of the list, but only because other counties are doing worse.
As of today, we expect to see our total number of cases double every 12.5 days. Our county is testing a significant number more people than we have in the past which means our total number of positive cases will rise. The problem is our percentage of positive tests to total tests given is rising dramatically. This shows that we have a spread issue. The first couple of months we saw a daily positive test percentage of 4% to 9%. Since the economy has reopened, we have seen that jump to 16%, and the last week the percentages of positive tests rose to 20% to 25%. By comparison, Indiana dropped from 18% to the current 7.5% daily positives.
If you look at Indiana’s data of positive cases by age, it is clear people ages 20 to 60 are the ones spreading the virus. This is us and this is our work force. As we have returned to work, the number of people who are getting sick is growing. Since we appeared on the national list, state and federal agencies have started looking closer at Elkhart County and we are at risk of them taking action to shut us down again. The CDC, OSHA, State Board of Health, or the Governor could order Elkhart County to again stay home entirely if we don’t act now to slow the spread again. The best solution for all of us is to do this voluntarily rather than be told to shut down. We cannot afford to shut down again if we can avoid it, but we can afford to take the time to reinforce our efforts and precautions. Companies with outbreaks have suffered work shut-downs, morale issues and community embarrassment. We need to not allow anyone outside Elkhart County to control our ability to manage this pandemic. We will work with each and every one of you to support your efforts. We just ask that you stand beside us as well. We are all in this together.
We want to remind everyone that social distancing, masks and handwashing are just as essential now as they have been over the past two months. If we become complacent and relax our personal or workplace protocols and behaviors, we could see the disease spread in even more deadly ways.
These are not fun times, but we can take steps to slow the spread of the virus and keep our community safer. We need to work together, possibly slow output, and both implement and enforce safe practices. We are now seeing record volumes of COVID-19 patients in our Urgent Care facilities and our hospitals have more patients than ever due to COVID-19.
We are a team here in Elkhart County. We all rely on the other. In the time of a pandemic, the actions of a few can have a large effect on all of us, our health and our economy.
Thank you to all of you who are already taking the appropriate steps and thank you to those who will step up again as you have in the past.
The Governor announced that majority of the state will begin to enter what he refers to as Stage 2 of a 5-phased reopening of the economy on Monday, May 4th. Marion and Lake Counties may move to Stage 2 on May 11th. Cass County may begin move to Stage 2 on May 18th.
At-risk Hoosiers, including those over age 65, should remain at home at this time. Stage 2 requires a gradual elimination of restrictions, depending upon a variety of circumstances.
Even upon reaching Stage 5 on July 4th, the Governor indicated that social distancing will still be required and remote work will still be encouraged. The Governor is still working on a plan for the next school year.
All remaining manufacturing businesses may open upon moving to Stage 2. Detailed guidelines and timeframes for the Governor’s plan may be found at the Back on Track Indiana website.
Purdue MEP – Providing direct support to help plan, prepare, protect, and recover manufacturing operations
Since March 2020, Purdue MEP has worked via our Critical PPE Manufacturing Initiative with real-time information, resources, and tools related to the efforts to manufacture urgently-needed medical PPE during this evolving global pandemic. Every day, we are helping companies remove barriers to PPE production to get critical supplies into the hands of front-line healthcare workers and their patients.
Over 100 companies are utilizing these services and we plan to assist more in the critical days and weeks to come. For examples of our work, visit our Success Story page.
Success Spotlight – Purdue MEP – A National Resource
Purdue MEP is not only helping with COVID-19 PPE efforts here in Indiana – we are also collaborating with MEP Centers across the nation to provide PPE to frontline healthcare workers.
Purdue MEP recently worked with the Virginia MEP Center to assist a hospital in their state. Purdue MEP connected the hospital with suppliers who were able to provide them with coveralls, face shields, and infrared thermometers.
A North Carolina medical organization recently needed a source for goggles. Purdue MEP was able to provide them with a local Indiana company that had the ability to supply them with the needed items.
Free Webinar Next Week from the Indiana Manufacturers Association
Success Spotlight – Continuing Direct Assistance to Indiana Hospitals
An Indiana hospital needed a supply of fingertip pulse oximeters to provide to discharged COVID-19 patients to monitor their health as they continue to recover. Purdue MEP was able to successfully connect the hospital to a company with an available supply of these useful diagnostic tools.
Resource List Available on Purdue MEP Site for Employers
Purdue MEP is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation. Our greatest concern is for the health, safety, and well-being of our employees, our clients and their staff, and our communities. In this current state, we remain fully committed to our mission of serving Indiana manufacturers.
If your organization is in need of PPE to operate, please submit your company’s information on this form, and one of our staff members will be in touch to assist your company.
Managing Stress Webinar by Purdue MEP, May 11th 1pm to 1:30pm – FREE
The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people. Coping with this stress will help your organization become stronger. In this workshop, you’ll learn about how stress affects the body and assess your own stress level. You’ll also learn tools for identifying sources of stress and learn proven techniques for managing stress.
To participate in this online offering, please complete this registration form. All participants will receive WebEx instructions the day of the event.
Purdue COVID-19 MEP Resources:
Online Problem Solving Course
In any workplace, problems arise every day that need to be solved. In a manufacturing environment, solving problems can be challenging due to the large number of interrelated systems that exist in the typical manufacturing plant. For example, is a high defect rate due to issues with incoming materials, operator techniques, machine settings, or all of these?
In this course, you’ll learn about how the Plan-Do-Check-Act method of problem solving, the A3 problem solving tool, and the root-cause analysis technique form a foundation for effective problem solving. You’ll also learn how to use additional problem solving tools, including Pareto charts and fishbone diagrams. Together, this new knowledge and skill will help you solve problems in a more streamlined and efficient manner, making you a valuable resource within your organization.
In manufacturing environments, a proactive approach to safety, with involvement from employees at all levels, can increase employee productivity and commitment, save money, and improve the organization’s reputation. In this course, you’ll learn how lean manufacturing concepts, such as eliminating the eight wastes, can be used to improve safety; you’ll also learn the fundamentals of building a culture of safety commitment as opposed to compliance.