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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Barletta Boat Co., a Bristol, Ind.-based manufacturer of pontoon boats, will expand its operations in Elkhart County and nearly double its Indiana workforce, creating up to 250 new jobs over the next few years, according to a report by The Goshen News.
“With homegrown Hoosier companies like Barletta at the helm, Indiana will continue driving its economy forward, positioning our state for long-term economic stabilization and growth,” said Indiana Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger. “We’re proud that Barletta continues to call Indiana home, and grateful for the company’s commitment to growing its footprint and nearly doubling its workforce in Elkhart County.”
The company will invest $7 million to construct and equip a production and operations facility on its 37-acre campus in Bristol, adjacent to the company’s 110,000-square-foot production facility at 51687 C.R. 133, a news release from the Indiana Department of Economic Development shows. The new, 144,600-square-foot building will allow the company to increase manufacturing capacity to meet increased demand from across North America. Barletta expects to break ground on its new facility in July, with plans to be fully operational by January 2021. The expansion is expected to be the first phase of a multi-tiered expansion plan that will allow Barletta to grow in the coming years, the news release states. New office space as well as additional storage capacity are also part of the company’s initial phase.
The company, which employs approximately 200 associates in Indiana, plans to begin hiring for production positions over the next several months.
“Elkhart County is the RV and pontoon boating capital of the world,” said Bill Fenech, president and co-founder of Barletta Boat Co. “Obviously, it made sense to continue growing our business in the heart of the recreational industry. Local and state officials have been extremely supportive of our company and the culture we are building here. This area is home to some of the hardest working, talented, and proudest boat builders in the country. We have been blessed with a team that shares our vision of being the best marine manufacturer in the U.S.”
In 2017, Fenech, who also co-founded Keystone RV in 1996 and Grand Design RV in 2012, founded Barletta.
enFocus, a key resource for talent attraction in the South Bend-Elkhart Region, today (June 22) announced the creation of a new, dedicated industry innovation team to support iNDustry Labs at Notre Dame. The University of Notre Dame, with support from Lilly Endowment Inc., established iNDustry Labs in 2019 to unlock the competitive advantage associated with the region’s concentration of manufacturing in proximity to a global, tier-one research university.
enFocus has built a team of Fellows boasting backgrounds in engineering, industrial design, data analytics and digital operations. They are currently joined by summer interns from notable engineering programs including the University of Notre Dame, University of Michigan, Purdue University and Northwestern University. The Fellows provide support to iNDustryLabs Faculty and staff in their collaborations with businesses in the region as they develop and implement strategic plans for product and process innovation to diversify and grow business operations. Through the process, businesses gain access to technical expertise and innovation-based facilities available through iNDustry Labs.
Since its inception in 2012, enFocus has proven to be a key resource for talent attraction in the region. Through a two-year Fellowship program, recent graduates from a wide range of disciplines are paired with sponsored projects to drive innovation in local organizations. Much of enFocus’ work to-date has focused on serving the public, education and non-profit sectors. The launch of the Labs for Industry Futures and Transformation (LIFT) Network created an opportunity for enFocus to expand their activities to support innovation-based economic development, through iNDustry Labs at Notre Dame.
Michael Shoemaker, most recently a process engineer with Ford Motor Company, will lead the enFocus team as Program Director of Industry Innovation. Michael holds a bachelors and masters degree in Engineering from the University of Michigan, and joined enFocus in 2018.
“We recognize the difficulty local business leaders often have in finding technical talent that can help identify and implement digital advancements that result in competitive advantages,” said Shoemaker. “enFocus has demonstrated success in attracting the young talent needed to take local organizations to the next level, and we are excited to support iNDustry Labs in this effort.”
“We are thrilled with the caliber of technical talent enFocus brings to iNDustry Labs’ operations,” said John DeSalle, iNDustry Labs Executive Engineer-in-Residence and former President of Hoosier Racing Tire Corp. “Ultimately, our goal is to help build regional resilience with our manufacturers and regional industry to ensure they become or remain global competitors in a technologically advanced economy.”
The new initiatives were launched to help Indiana businesses restart, adapt and stimulate long-term growth, especially small businesses and manufacturers.
June 1, 2020
Indiana is launching several new economic recovery initiatives designed to bolster critical relief efforts while encouraging long-term planning and investments to stimulate the state’s economy well into the future. Through these initiatives, the state will allocate nearly $44 million to provide support and resources including approximately $37 million in direct funding through grants and investments to small businesses and manufacturers – two key drivers of the Hoosier economy.
“To restart Indiana’s economic engine, it’s critical that we provide Hoosier businesses and entrepreneurs with the support they need to grow and get back on track,” said Governor Eric J. Holcomb. “These initiatives will ensure that two critical drivers of our state’s economy have access to resources and technological tools that allow them to continue competing and leading in the 21st century economy, while further positioning our state for long-term economic growth.”
To safely guide a return to economic activity, the state will deploy federal relief funds under the CARES Act in coordination with Indiana’s Economic Relief and Recovery Team, while targeting initiatives aimed at achieving long-term economic stabilization.
Small Business Restart Fund: Gov. Holcomb approved $30 million in federal funding made available through the CARES Act to small business restart grants, helping accelerate the speed of economic recovery activity by providing working capital to cover certain expenses related to the global pandemic. Indiana small businesses with fewer than 50 employees and $5 million in annual revenue that have experienced a 40% drop in revenue will be eligible to be reimbursed for up to 80% of qualified expenses, such as rent or mortgage payments, utilities, lease payments for real or personal property, and safety investments, such as personal protective equipment (PPE) and infrastructure improvements.
Eligible small businesses that demonstrate a revenue loss of at least 40% will be awarded up to $2,500 for each month while small businesses that demonstrate a revenue loss of at least 80% will be awarded up to $5,000 for each month, with grants issued up to $10,000 per company. Of the $30 million allocated to the fund, at least $5 million will be reserved for certified minority- and women-owned businesses.
Small Business Relief & Planning Resources: The Indiana Small Business Development Center (Indiana SBDC) received nearly $3.7 million from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) through the CARES Act to support increased resources for entrepreneurs and small businesses over the next 18 months. The funding, which will nearly double the organization’s annual federal appropriations, will enable Indiana SBDC to increase no-cost services, such as counseling and training, for businesses that were in operation prior to and that have been impacted by COVID-19. Services will be available through the Indiana SBDC’s 10 regional offices across the state and are expected to focus on financial assistance, e-commerce, business adaptation and innovation, disaster resiliency and planning, and reopening plans.
Manufacturing Support & Long-Term Growth: The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) board of directors approved $10 million to launch the Economic Activity Stabilization and Enhancement (EASE) program aimed at supporting technology and operational advancements in the manufacturing industry, which has long been a key driver of the state’s economy. EASE, which encompasses three complimentary initiatives, is designed to stimulate manufacturing investments that will position Indiana operations, and the sector overall, for future growth and prosperity by prioritizing startup investment and resources, technology modernization and development, and training assistance.
The three EASE initiatives include:
The new Smart & Advanced Manufacturing (SAM) Focus Fund, which will make seed and early-stage investments and provide entrepreneurship resources to Indiana manufacturing-focused startups through Elevate Ventures, the state’s venture development partner;
Manufacturing Readiness Grants, administered in partnership with Conexus Indiana, will provide matching grants of up to $200,000 to companies committing to modernizing their operations or integrating smart technologies and processes in order to improve capacity, or to companies investing in health care manufacturing technology, providing financial assistance to manufacturers supporting critical COVID-19 response efforts; and
A planned Smart Manufacturing Studio Lab, which will provide lab space and access to state-of-the-art smart manufacturing equipment, enabling businesses to train employees, validate technologies for their business models, and conduct third-party pilot manufacturing.
Of these programs, the SAM Focus Fund will launch immediately while the Manufacturing Readiness Grant applications are expected to be available in July with initial grant recommendations beginning in August. The IEDC will partner with industry stakeholders to develop a project scope for the Smart Manufacturing Studio Lab, mapping out next steps and a plan to source and supply the equipment, working toward a studio launch in early 2021.
Indiana’s manufacturing and small business sectors play critical roles in supporting the state’s economy. With more than 8,500 manufacturing facilities and the highest concentration of manufacturing jobs in the U.S., manufacturing accounts for 27.8% of Indiana’s total economic output. Additionally, according to the SBA, Indiana is home to approximately 104,335 small businesses that employ fewer than 150 associates, supporting 941,578 workers across the state.
Wednesday, June 3rd 2020, 2:24 PM EDTUpdated: Wednesday, June 3rd 2020, 7:05 PM EDTBy Mary Willkom, Writer/Reporter
(photo courtesy of Lighthouse Autism Center)
ELKHART – Lighthouse Autism Center is expanding its services in Elkhart County. The organization says it plans to open the new applied behavior analysis center in July and expects to create an additional 35 jobs in the area.
Lighthouse says the new location will be its second ABA center in Elkhart and its ninth total facility. The center first opened in Mishawaka in 2012.
“In August of 2019, we opened our first Elkhart center. Since then, we have been overwhelmed by the number of families inquiring about therapy services for their children. Clearly the need for autism therapy services is great in this community, and we feel privileged to be able to help meet that need,” said Gregg Maggioli, co-founder and chief executive officer of Lighthouse Autism Center.
Similar to its current Elkhart location, the new building will have the capacity to serve more than 20 children.
Lighthouse says the newest center will continue proactive health and safety measures, including masks for all employees, extra staff for cleaning and sanitation, limited building capacity, and symptom and temperature checks for children and employees.
Lighthouse is now enrolling children at its newest location, and you can find more information by clicking here.
Genesis Products Inc., a leader in RV interior components, has introduced Solid Surface Countertops as the newest addition to its RV Interior product line, according to a release.
“Showcasing an expansive selection of color and textures, the addition of solid surface countertops enhances the flexibility and design options for each RV Interior,” said Trenton Miller, product manager at Genesis. “We have expanded our manufacturing and technical expertise to provide the highest quality product to our customers.”
Genesis currently provides thermoformed and lightweight countertops to the RV Industry. With the addition of solid surface to the countertop product line, Genesis now offers a complete selection of high-quality, design-forward countertops, creating a unique interior for each RV.
In August 2019, Genesis increased capacity with a 108,400 sq. ft. state-of-the-art manufacturing plant as part of its existing campus in Goshen, IN.
“We are remodeling our design center to provide the ultimate one-stop design experience, resulting in seamless and luxurious custom interiors,” explained Miller. “The addition of solid surface allows us to meet all customer needs from design to function to cost. Creating a unique experience for our customers is what we strive for daily. This takes us to the next level”
Prior to the pandemic, Indiana was enjoying a 20-year economic success story that empowered the state to become a leader in the Midwest and a national competitor. To assist in re-establishing that status, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce has formalized a robust public policy agenda of potential actions to help ensure short-term relief and long-term economic growth for businesses.
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