Indianas RD Capabitlities Expanding

Indiana's R&D Capabilities Expanding

Feb. 21, 2014
The state has become the "heart of an automotive electrification corridor' according to Echo Automotive,

Explaining that Anderson, Ind. “has has become the heart of an automotive electrification corridor, where access to leading-edge technologies and veteran industry talent is unrivaled across the United States and beyond,” Jason Plotke, chairman of Echo Automotive, announced plans to expand his company’s R& D operations.

Scottsdale, Ariz.-headquartered Echo Automotive, which develops and manufactures EchoDrive, a bolt-on, plug-in hybrid system for automotive fleets, will invest $3.6 million to lease, renovate and equip a 40,000 square-foot distribution and research and development plant at the Flagship Accelerator Building in Anderson.

The project, which includes the installation of new automobile lifts, a thermal chamber and a full dynamometer test facility, will create up to 10 new jobs by 2015.

“The intellectual property that originally drew us to Anderson originally showcased the capabilities of the world-class engineers and innovators who are part of this community and made it clear that locating our development operations in Anderson would give Echo access to a rich base of resources that will support company growth and continued innovation,” Plotke added.

“Companies looking for innovative solutions find the workforce and resources they’re seeking in Indiana,” said Eric Doden, president of the Indiana Economic Development Corp. “With the state’s top-notch universities offering world-class programs like engineering, Indiana’s workforce helps companies take their ideas and products to the next level, making this a state that works.”

Also yesterday, Florence, Ky.-based Emerson Power Transmission Corp., a manufacturer of bearings and power transmission components, announced it will invest $1.87 million to renovate and equip its 20,000 square-foot engineering research and development laboratory in Valparaiso. The company, which operates an additional  facility in Valparaiso along with another Indiana facility in Monticello, will add up to seven new jobs by 2014. 

“The new engineering lab in Valparaiso will enable us to consolidate several labs throughout the United States,” said Jim Porter, vice president, worldwide engineering of Emerson Power Transmission. “The consolidated lab will make more efficient utilization of specialty equipment, such as our scanning electron microscope, for all of our existing and new product lines. It will also allow us to share our talent pool across more projects and product lines, as we put increased focus on new product development. Having a consolidated lab will make it more cost efficient to upgrade our facilities now and in the future.”

The company currently employs more than 550 people in Indiana.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp.offered Echo Automotive, Inc. up to $100,000 in conditional tax credits and up to $30,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans. Emerson Power Transmission Corp. was offered up to $70,000 in conditional tax credits based on the company’s job creation plans.

About the Author

Adrienne Selko | Senior Editor

Focus: Workforce, Talent 

Follow Me on Twitter: @ASelkoIW

Bio: Adrienne Selko has written about many topics over the 17 years she has been with the publication and currently focuses on workforce development strategies. Previously Adrienne was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck? which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics and EHS Today

Editorial mission statement: Manufacturing is the enviable position of creating products, processes and policies that solve the world’s problems. When the industry stepped up to manufacture what was necessary to combat the pandemic, it revealed its true nature. My goal is to showcase the sector’s ability to address a broad range of workforce issues including technology, training, diversity & inclusion, with a goal of enticing future generations to join this amazing sector.

Why I find manufacturing interesting: On my first day working for a company that made medical equipment such as MRIs, I toured the plant floor. On every wall was a photo of a person, mostly children. I asked my supervisor why this was the case and he said that the work we do at this company has saved these people’s lives. “We never forget how important our work is and everyone’s contribution to that.” From that moment on I was hooked on manufacturing.

I have talked with many people in this field who have transformed their own career development to assist others. For example, companies are hiring those with disabilities, those previously incarcerated and other talent pools that have been underutilized. I have talked with leaders who have brought out the best in their workforce, as well as employees doing their best work while doing good for the world. 

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