Iechyd Da Brewing Company of Elkhart Wins Best Seasonal Beer in Indiana’s Cool North

Terry Mark, Elkhart County Convention and Visitors Bureau — November 5, 2019

Congratulations to the Breakfast Cookies Milk Stout made by Iechyd Da Brewing Company, which topped 12 other tasty contenders from around northern Indiana in voting for Best Seasonal Beer in Indiana’s Cool North Beer Wars.

With thousands of votes cast over 10 days, Elkhart’s Iechyd Da came out on top of two other Elkhart County breweries, Wedgewood Brewing Company of Middlebury’s Pumpkin Guts and Ruhe 152 of Nappanee’s Draper, and 10 others from St. Joseph, LaPorte and Porter counties.

The Beer Wars promotion was the latest iteration of Indiana’s Cool North Food Wars competitions. 

“Food Wars promotions like this allow our local businesses to show off,” said Robby Bearss, marketing manager for the Northern Indiana Tourism Development Commission. “It is important to shine a spotlight on local businesses to remind the community how great of an asset they are to area and why they help make our region so cool.” 

Indiana’s Cool North is a joint initiative of NITDC and its members in the region. NITDC’s goal is to promote tourism and drive business to locally owned businesses.

The Elkhart County Convention & Visitors Bureau is a member of NITDC and is the official tourism advertising/marketing and public/community relations organization for the Elkhart County hospitality industry. The ECCVB advances quality-of-place initiatives in our downtowns and rural spaces, parks and natural environment, arts and culture, and events, festivals, groups and activities that help forge social connections.

For more information about Beer Wars, contact Robby Bearss of NITDC at 574-238-3748.

For more information about Elkhart County tourism, contact Terry T. Mark, director of communications of the Elkhart County Convention and Visitors Bureau, at 574-262-8161 or terry@eccvb.org.

0

Ivy Tech Awarded Veterans Grant

By Reed Parker, Writer/Reporter | October 30, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS – Ivy Tech Community College is one of two recipients of grants to support a program aimed at helping veterans. Ivy Tech received $1.5 million for the Veterans Accelerated Learning for Licensed Occupations (VALLO) project. Ivy Tech was one of two schools awarded under the program, which is fully funded by the U.S. Department of Labor. 

The grant will allow Ivy Tech to partner with the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency, Conexus Indiana, Techpoint, and others to help speed up the process for transitioning veterans into licensed work. Ivy Tech will administer collaboration between each partner to find gaps between military training and civilian jobs, develop education pathways, create training programs and develop a multi-state system to transfer credentials. 

“The funding provided by DOL will allow Ivy Tech and our partners to continue to address the workforce needs in our state,” said Vice President for Advanced Manufacturing, Engineering and Applied Science Sue Smith. “Ivy Tech is committed to providing education and training opportunities to veterans and transitioning service members to not only aid their efforts in joining the civilian workforce, but also to meet the employer demand for a skilled workforce.”

More information about the grants can be found here

Source: http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/story/41249207/ivy-tech-awarded-veterans-grant

0

Robotics training lab coming to Ivy Tech in Elkhart County

By Tiffany Salameh | September 17, 2019

GOSHEN, Ind. – Robotics in the workforce is becoming more commonplace. That’s why Ivy Tech in Elkhart is going to start training their students to work hands on with automation with the help of a $1.47 million contribution from the county council.

The money is going towards an entire “iFlex” robotics lab which will streamline the process for students between class and the workforce.

“it’s going to go towards two things really building a facility and making sure that we have the appropriate infrastructure, equipment, that we need to train students,” Natalie Medich said, the Advanced Manufacturing, Robotic and Industrial Tech Chair at Ivy Tech. “It’s actually very vital. Our businesses are moving towards automation for our manufacturing facilities.

Factories like Thor Motors and Lippert Components are already using some robots similar to the ones at Ivy Tech College right now.

Back in 2015, the Brookings Institute ranked Elkhart County #1 in the nation for robots per 1,000 workers. Medich said that with the new lab workforces in Elkhart are likely just going to keep growing with automated technology.

“That type of training is rare here in Elkhart County,” Medich said.

Ivy Tech student and robotics lab tech Paul Troxel said the new facility is both exciting and necessary. On top of his class load, Troxel also works fulltime at Lippert Components, working with robots.

 “It’s going to be everywhere, I already know the plant across the street have got two full size robots they’re going automated with,  we have a couple of more plants with automation cells in them and I know there’s just more coming,” Troxel said.

Despite common misconception, Medich said automation does not always take away jobs. In manufacturing, it brings better and higher paying jobs. A heavily automated start-up company called Brinco just announced plans to bring 250 jobs to Bristol by 2021.

Both Medich and Troxel agree that automation is nothing to be scared of but rather welcomed.

“Just embrace the change. This is the way it’s going to be,” Troxel said.

The new robotics facility is scheduled to break ground in summer of 2020.  

Source: https://www.abc57.com/news/robotics-training-lab-coming-to-ivy-tech-in-elkhart-county

0

RV Technical Institute Officially Opens in Elkhart

By Merritt McLaughlin, Writer/Reporter | September 23, 2019

ELKHART – The RV Technical Institute has officially opened in Elkhart. The new 18,000-square-foot facility features seven classrooms and aims to directly address the shortage of RV technicians while improving consumer experience. 

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Executive Director of the RVTI Curt Hemmeler says the institute has big plans to address the shortage on a statewide and national level. 

The nonprofit institute was funded by collection of $10 million from the RV industry.

Hemmeler says the industry has about a 20-25 percent shortage statewide for RV technicians. The institute offers training to individuals who would fill that gap and upon completion, be stationed in a dealership or as a mobile tech almost immediately. He says more trained technicians will reduce the time it takes to repair the recreational vehicles and thus improve the consumer experience. 

However, the initiative doesn’t stop with the Elkhart facility. The RVTI is set up as the “central hub,” as it is in close range of suppliers and manufacturers in Michiana, however Hemmeler says the institute has licensed partners that will teach its curriculum nationwide. 

“Of course, you can always come here in Elkhart to train, but we’ve also created the curriculum in a learning management system that allows us to distribute the education across the country. Though it will always be an option to train in Elkhart at the physical facility here, we will have licensed partners across the country who will also be teaching our curriculum and educating folks in the industry with our curriculum. Places such as other dealerships, community colleges, we recently signed an agreement with Camping World, who will be training their employees with our curriculum.”

Hemmeler said RVTI has even partnered with a correctional facility to train non-felon female inmates to become RV technicians on location. 

The RVTI had its official first day of classes and held a grand opening ceremony Monday.

Hemmeler says the institute will launch curriculum nationwide.

Source: http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/story/41087801/rvti-officially-opens-in-elkhart

0

Getting the Word Out About Manufacturing & Logistics

By J. Mark Howell, President and Chief Executive Officer, Conexus Indiana | September 20, 2019

As the epicenter of the nation’s advanced manufacturing and logistics industries, Indiana has a compelling story to tell about how Hoosier companies make and move the goods people depend on every day.

Our goal is to ensure everyone hears these stories – many of which share a common theme focused on cutting-edge technologies that are transforming the way products are made and moved around the world and the people who use them.

Conexus Indiana launched an educational series earlier this year to bring these stories to young adults around the state. Through our Movers, Makers & Mixers events we have stimulated lively discussions about advanced manufacturing and logistics in the 21st Century and dispelled myths about the industries.

Indiana’s leadership position in the advanced manufacturing and logistics industries is evident in the numbers. One in five Hoosiers works in these industries and Indiana leads the nation in manufacturing job growth while offering competitive salaries upwards of $77,500 in the manufacturing sector and $65,000 in logistics.

Perceptions about careers in advanced manufacturing and logistics, however, aren’t as impressive.

Our research shows that most Hoosiers are unfamiliar with the advanced manufacturing and logistics industries and as a result have negative or outdated perceptions of careers in these industry sectors. Our research also shows that most people don’t know these industries offer meaningful, good-paying careers with benefits and opportunities to grow and make an impact.

Those familiar with the industries, however, are more likely to have positive perceptions of the industry. Educators have confirmed that once students are exposed to manufacturing and logistics and learn about the innovative and high-tech technologies used to make and move products, the more likely they are to be excited about pursuing a career in these industry sectors.

Movers, Makers & Mixers is one of many talent programs Conexus Indiana developed and delivers to change perceptions and engage more people in the industry.

Industry trailblazers and thought leaders have helped us share stories about the impact of technologies, such as 3D printing, Internet of Things, additive manufacturing, block chain, augmented and virtual reality and big data, on the industries’ competitiveness, productivity and profitability. We’ve reached hundreds of young adults this year and will continue our tour throughout 2020.

The Movers, Makers & Mixers events underscore the benefits of storytelling and verify effective ways to impact perceptions. Specifically, we’ve learned:

The data are accurate; the more people know about the industries, the greater interest they show in pursuing careers in those industries. Industry partners from Cummins, ClearObject, and Cook Regentec energized young adults and stretched their imaginations when talking about what it means to be a manufacturer, the migration of technology into these industries and how it is redefining manufacturing and logistics.

It’s never too early or too late to share stories about the advanced manufacturing and logistics industries. Our Movers, Makers & Mixers events are geared toward young adults, but we also offer programs to students in high school and college, as well as working adults. Central to our programs are opportunities for students to interact with industry experts and visit manufacturing and logistics operations.  

We need to be relentless in telling our industries’ stories. We’ve got so many stories to tell and so many incredible people who want to help us spread the word.

Our work reaches across the state in high school classrooms, on college campuses, in manufacturing and logistics facilities, at large events and, in the case of Movers, Makers & Mixers, in local breweries and restaurants.

Movers, Makers & Mixers has made five stops around the state with three more events planned later this year in South Bend and Terre Haute in September and Evansville in November. You can register to attend our events by clicking here.

Our stories are only going to get more interesting as the industries evolve. It’s a great time to be a storyteller – and to be a mover or maker.

J. Mark Howell is the chief executive officer of Conexus Indiana.

Source: http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/story/41074556/getting-the-word-out-about-manufacturing-logistics

0

RV Industry Forging Ahead Despite Some Headwinds

By: Rick Kessler | September 9, 2019

While declining wholesale shipments have apparently
triggered a firestorm from Wall Street analysts, RV Industry Association (RVIA)
officials are quick to point out that the past couple of years, when filtered
through a historical context, represent some of the industry’s best on record.

The bottom line: The sky is hardly falling. In fact, data
supports the notion that dealers have successfully been selling excess
inventory and the industry is about to see the line graph intersection of
retail demand vs. production rates.

Scott Stropkai, president of Grand Rapids, Mich.-based
Statistical Surveys Inc. (SSI), the RV industry’s leading provider of market
data, offered, “While wholesale shipments are a good barometer, the real health
of the RV industry is determined by retail sales. If consumers are still buying
units at historical high levels, which they are, then wholesale shipments will
follow.

Furthermore, while retail sales are down 9.14% through July
of this year officials said 2019 still presents a robust market as Stropkai
noted, “So far, 2019 is the third best year in recorded history for retail
sales of RVs,” adding that, “2018 was the best year ever, so are comparisons
this year are versus the strongest market in history so we need to put that in
context when looking at this year’s numbers.”

According to SSI’s latest report, retail has outpaced wholesale by 49,943 units YTD through July, indicating inventories are declining. As a comparison, last year through July retail outpaced wholesale by 16,427.

“August and September are typically months where retail
outpaces wholesale while the last quarter of the year are inventory build
months as dealers prepare for the following year,” Stropkai related.

As far as wholesale shipments, the industry is expected to
total 401,200 units in 2019, off 17.1% from 2018, according to independent RV
industry analyst Richard Curtin, director of Surveys of Consumers at the University
of Michigan. However, the rate of decline will ease substantially in 2020 with
RV shipments projected to be down 3.5% at 387,400 units.

This forecast comes after the industry topped 504,000
wholesale shipments in 2017, the culmination of an unprecedented period of
growth following the 165,000 units in 2009 during the Great Recession.

“So are we at 504,600 units right now? No — but that is an
all-time record high. But just because you’re seeing a little bit of a retreat
on that all-time high over the last couple of years, that doesn’t mean we’re on
our way to 160,000,” said RVIA Senior Director of Research Bill Baker.

Baker pointed out that even if 2019 finishes with the
predicted 401,200 wholesale shipments, it’s still the fourth best year on
record. Likewise, the projected 387,000 units in 2020 would represent the sixth
best year on record. And both figures, he added, would dwarf the 30-year
average of 294,700 units, the 20-year average of 331,200 units, and the 10-year
average of 332,200 units.

Baker pointed out that even if 2019 finishes with the
predicted 401,200 wholesale shipments, it’s still the fourth best year on
record. Likewise, the projected 387,000 units in 2020 would represent the sixth
best year on record. And both figures, he added, would dwarf the 30-year
average of 294,700 units, the 20-year average of 331,200 units, and the 10-year
average of 332,200 units.

“So, is the market falling from an all-time high? Yes, it
is. But, put in context, it’s still good a market in any comparable record when
historically looking at wholesale shipments,” Baker told RVBUSINESS.com.

“As you look at the life cycle of the industry over the last
30 years,” he continued, “it’s just one of those periods where you’re going to
see shipments received from a high, find a new level for a few years and then
start heading back up. ‘An expected cyclical reset’ would be a good way to term
it, and that’s sort of the big picture of where the market stands now.”

He added that while there is a bit of turbulence — tariffs
and domestic political uncertainty being two of them — all economic indicators
remain favorable.

“In the grand scheme of things, the overall economy is still
healthy. It’s still expanding. It’s still growing. Consumer spending is really
strong right now and inflation rates is not an issue — and it’s anticipated the
Fed will continue to keep an eye on that to keep the economy on a growth path,”
Baker said.

“And then if you look in the long-term picture,” he
continued, “you’ve got Millennials that have shown they have a great interest
in RV travel and camping. They’re the biggest segment of the workforce now and
they’re just now entering their ‘family-building, RV-buying’ type of years. The
Boomers still have a tremendous impact on the market, and Generation X — which
is a pretty big demographic — are buying RVs, too.

“You have three generations buying RVs now, so from a long-term
perspective — and with all that RVIA and RVDA does to help promote the market
and promote ownership through Go RVing — we still have a very bullish outlook
for the next decade and beyond.”

Source: https://rvbusiness.com/rv-industry-forging-ahead-despite-some-headwinds/

0

Keystone RV Celebrates Milestone

By Merritt McLaughlin, Writer/Reporter | August 30, 2019

GOSHEN – A Goshen-based recreational vehicle manufacturer has hit a major milestone. Keystone RV Co. has officially shipped its one millionth RV, to be delivered and sold at Walnut Ridge Family RV Center in New Castle.

A ceremony to commemorate the sale was held with employees and partners this week. A ribbon cutting ceremony also sent off the 2020 Keystone Montana 3761FL, driven away by a 2020 Sierra 2500 HD Denali.

“We can’t understate how honored we are to have had the support of hundreds of dealers, thousands of employees, and soon to be one million Keystone RV owners over the past twenty-three years,” said Jeff Runels, chief executive officer and president of the company in a news release.

Keystone RV Co. was officially founded in 1996. 

Source: http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/story/40985916/keystone-rv-co-celebrates-milestone

0

IDEA Week Elkhart

An Innovation Festival
Here in Elkhart
April 4-10

Come. Dive in.

This April, join a celebration of innovation in the South Bend-Elkhart region that lets you LEARN, PLAY, MEET and COMPETE.

Geared toward EVERYONE. Whether you’re already a successful entrepreneur, a new student, or simply live for local events—discover YOUR way of experiencing innovation HERE.

0

Wage & Benefit Survey 2018

Information in the following 2018 Wage & Benefit Summary is extracted from the 2018 Wage and Benefit Report for Elkhart County.

The full Report is available in PDF version to purchase for $99. To purchase, please contact Jacqueline Letherman by calling 574-293-5627 or emailing jacqueline@elkhartcountybiz.com.

The Report is detailed with 110 positions including management, production, technology, health and transportation. Benefits information covers health insurance plans, costs, time off, retirement plans, financial incentives, training opportunities and child care assistance.

0
Page 1 of 5 12345