Wanda English Burnett
economy woes dominate the nightly news, a group in Ripley County
has been steadily working to make the local economic forecast
Gary Norman, Ripley County Economic Development Corporation
director, has been exploring every avenue to align Ripley County
with others to bring not only new growth, but to expand existing
The annual meeting of the Ripley County EDC was held last Tuesday,
November 9 at the Southeastern Indiana REMC training center
in Osgood. Those attending heard economic updates such as the
progress of new endeavors, the addition to present companies
as well as a financial loan program and the Cincinnati market.
The Pike Lumber Company project is near completion and hopes
to be in their new facility at Milan by January 2011 at the
The Belletech project at the Versailles Industrial Business
Park is still coming, according to Barry Lauber, president of
the Ripley County Redevelopment Committee. Since the product
made by this company is tied directly to the auto industry,
Honda Manufacturing in Greensburg, specifically, the timing
of its arrival in Versailles is contingent on the auto economy.
A very exciting opportunity for a strong company to locate at
the Osgood Industrial Park was announced. Since the financial
details are not complete, the name and nature of the business
was not released. However, it promises to be a community friendly
company bringing not only employment, but investment opportunities
Upgrades to existing businesses:
J&J Packaging of Sunman was honored for their commitment
to Ripley County for a new expansion project that will add 50
new jobs by 2013.
Were very glad to be in Sunman, noted Jim
Hudgins, operating manager of the carton division at J&J
Packaging, a provider of contract packaging services.
The new addition directly involves the gift card packaging division.
The company will invest more than $2.5 million to upgrade its
existing facility in Sunman.
J&J Packaging currently employs 500 associates full time
and at its peak sees more than 1200 employees coming into the
small town of Sunman.
Its great news to hear a good corporate citizen
like J&J Packaging is able to land a major account that
will add 50 new jobs that will benefit the citizens in and around
Sunman, noted Wayne Jenner, Sunman Town Council president.
We feel very fortunate to have them as part of our business
A press release from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation
noted they offered J&J Packaging up to $200,000 in performance
based tax credits. They also offered up to $40,000 in training
grants based on the companys job creation plans. The Town
of Sunman will consider some property tax abatement at the request
of the Ripley County EDC.
Weve been with you from the beginning, Jenner
told Hudgins at the annual dinner meeting. Were
very proud of you.
The Sunman company was founded in 1987. Many items people
purchase everyday are packaged in Sunman, Hudgins told
the Osgood Journal. For example, they package 1.3 billion batteries
Another company that has been a great community asset for the
past 44 years is Ohio Rod Products.
They are gearing up for two new product lines that will create
up to 33 additional jobs at the Versailles plant.
Terry Elkins, quality manager, told the Osgood Journal the existing
line of fasteners sizes 6-21 to 5/8-18 is expanding to 3/4-10
to 72" in length. They are also adding a closed die heading.
The company will invest more than $3.1 million for the expansion.
ORP is a manufacturer of metal fasteners for customers in the
electric motor, wire and cable, material handling, automotive
and construction industries.
ORP partnered with the Town of Versailles for a grant from the
City of Lawrenceburgs Regional Economic Development Grant
program. They have received $500,000 and $160,000 in performance
tax credits from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.
The importance of working together was a common theme throughout
Norman told those gathered that any success in his office is
the result of the whole county coming together. He thanked everyone
involved in helping the county grow including all the commissioners
who were all in attendance and county council members along
with town government leaders.
The Ripley County EDC is involved with the Southeast Indiana
Growth Alliance, I-74 Business Corridor, Vincennes University
Project (working with the Southeastern Career Center to offer
classes from Purdue in Versailles) and the Cincinnati Market.
Highlights from 2010 included the Ripley County EDC joining
the Cincinnati USA Chamber. This partnership could foster potential
growth for the county.
One prospective business owner looking at Ripley County said
the county has so much to offer. He was most impressed with
the willingness of people in leadership positions who are working
diligently to bring employment opportunities for local residents.
He had high praise for Norman and others saying, You have
great leadership - we would be proud to be a part of this community.
Watch for upcoming announcements about this new business in
the coming weeks in this paper.