VALPARAISO, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Chicago-based Ekos Window + Wall says it plans to break ground this spring in northwest Indiana on a 120,000-square-foot plant that will create 110 new manufacturing jobs. The company says the $11 million investment in Valparaiso will boost production of glass curtain wall products used in high rise buildings.
The building enclosure manufacturer says it conducted an expansive search throughout the Midwest to find the right location.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Ekos President Rodrigo d’Escoto explained why he thinks the Hoosier state is the right fit.
“Very efficient. Moves quickly. They execute. They’re skinny on words and long on execution,” said d’Escoto. “They have good incentives to help you because it’s a huge investment for us and help us make that move.”
The company manufactures a variety of exterior wall enclosures, some as long as 24 feet tall. Ekos says it is focusing on products that offer energy efficiency.
“Buildings that don’t hemorrhage energy are better for all of us,” said d’Escoto. “The science and the chemistry behind the building and closure, and especially with sustainability has never been more important.”
Despite the economic challenges associated with the pandemic, the company decided to remain aggressive in its expansion.
“There’s risk, right, to see past the challenges of the last 12 months,” said d’Escoto. “But we decided we’re going to double down on our business. We’re going to go after it.”
The Indiana Economic Development Corp. has offered Ekos Window + Wall up to $1.25 million in conditional tax credits and up to $200,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans, among other conditional tax credits.
The company says the city offered favorable pricing on the land for development.
“We’re happy to welcome Ekos Window + Wall to Valparaiso,” said Valparaiso Mayor Matt Murphy. “We’re so pleased to share Valparaiso’s strengths in workforce, services and quality of life, giving companies like Ekos and other former neighbors the confidence to choose our community.”
In addition to state incentives, the company has forged a partnership with Ivy Tech Community College to help upskill workers for the manufacturer. The company says the patent-pending technology will require CNC operators, welders and fabricators.
“There’s been a concerted effort to build a program, a certification program for feeding workers right from Ivy Tech right into our facility,” said Ekos Vice President Ed Kruschka. “Not only is there going to be a curriculum at Ivy Tech that we’re working on, but we actually have a classroom and a mockup facility so they can come and do hands-on training within our facility.”
The company intends to break ground in April and to be operational by the fourth quarter of 2021.