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.
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.”
Both teach kids about business and are selling hand sanitizer to benefit both programs and those dealing with the coronavirus.
“It was our thought when we first thought to join together that we would like to continue together to support our programs in entrepreneurship, and one way we could do that is selling hand sanitizer as a fundraiser,” said Jessica Hilary.
The money would go back to both non-profits.
It was made possible with help from Kem Krest, a chemical packaging company providing the hand sanitizer.
“We were able to work with Amish Shah and Kem Krest, who in their true entrepreneurial spirt has pivoted one of their business units as well to produce hand sanitizer,” said Lizzie Sheets. “We do need to raise funds and this is a great opportunity.”
The company had initially started producing hand sanitizer back in March as a response to shortages, especially for first responders and organizations on the front lines of the pandemic.
To help out, they increased production.
Both organizations will be selling a box of 12 bottles for $50 for the fundraiser. Now, if you have enough sanitizer, you can buy an extra box and donate it to Elkhart County schools.
“During this challenging time, we do need to raise funds and so this is great opportunity,” said Sheets.
The fundraiser runs through June 17. Starting June 18, orders can be picked up at Jimtown High School.
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.