A Steuben County manufacturer plans a nearly $10 million expansion investment in Angola that includes adding up to 95 jobs by 2016, the states economic development agent announced Monday night.
Autoform Tool & Manufacturing Inc., often referred to as ATM, currently has a plant in Fremont but plans to purchase, renovate and equip facilities at 1501 Wohlert St. in Angola, the Indiana Economic Development Corp. said in a written statement. The 10-acre Angola campus, which includes two buildings with a combined 165,000 square feet of production space, is scheduled to be operational in January.
We are sorry for the loss experienced by Fremont, but the positives outweigh the negatives – everybody retains their jobs and ATM has room to grow, Angola Mayor Dick Hickman said.
Autoform, founded in 1996 as a specialty tools manufacturer for the tube fabrication industry, has more than 170 full-time employees in Fremont. The company plans to begin hiring additional manufacturing, production, quality-control and engineering associates next year.
All current employees will be transferred to the new campus – about seven miles away – as part of the project, the state said.
They had tried to work some things out in Fremont and just were not able to expand where they were at, Hickman said in a phone interview shortly after Monday nights Angola council meeting.
The mayor said he has been told Autoform will add about 70 jobs over the next two to three years, although the states hiring projections – up to 95 jobs – are potentially higher. Pay for the jobs may average about $16 an hour plus benefits, Hickman said.
Theyll have plenty of room to expand to the 70 employees, plus more, Hickman said. Theyve been averaging about a 26 percent growth rate each year Not very many companies can show that kind of growth.
Hickman and several council members visited the Fremont Autoform operation last week. Hickman said they were impressed by the atmosphere and team spirit. The owner, Robert Jacoby, knew employees by name and they spoke to him without any hesitation, Hickman said. It was kind of like a family almost.
The Angola council Monday night approved a 10-year tax abatement on equipment for Autoform and a two-year abatement for the building expansion, Hickman said. He could not immediately recall how much money the abatements will save the company.
The Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered Autoform Tool & Manufacturing up to $700,000 in conditional tax credits based on the companys job creation plans. The tax credits are performance-based, meaning until Hoosiers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives, the state said.
The company looks forward to continued growth in Steuben County, Jacoby said in a prepared statement. He could not immediately be reached Monday night.
Unemployment in Steuben County was 8.5 percent in July, down slightly from 8.7 percent in June, but noticeably down from 10.4 percent in July a year ago. State officials are expected to release August unemployment data on Friday.
Gov. Mitch Daniels said locally owned companies like Autoform are the foundation of Indianas economy.
As these companies get bigger, its nice to see them stay, invest and create more jobs in the Hoosier State, Daniels said in a statement. ATM has employed Hoosiers for many years and were glad theyve chosen to expand in Steuben County again.
Since its founding in 1996, Autoform has expanded its product line to include fuel rails, fuel senders and direct injection components to serve Tier 1 automotive suppliers and original equipment manufacturers such as Bosch, Delphi, Hitachi and Continental, the state said.
In October 2006, Autoform announced it would invest more than $4 million on new equipment and a building expansion in Fremont, adding 37,500 square feet to a 50,000-square-foot plant. The company employed about 100 at the time and that expansion was expected to add 51 jobs within three years.