BEDFORD, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) has announced plans to invest more than $51 million into its facility in Bedford. The automaker says it will install state-of-the-art equipment to support the manufacture of drive unit castings for the Chevrolet Silverado EV, as well as other existing applications.
GM says it will begin renovation work at the 1 million-square-foot aluminum die casting foundry immediately. The facility currently produces electric drive castings for the 2022 GMC HUMMER EV Pickup and the 2024 GMC HUMMER EV SUV.
“Our Bedford operation is one of the leading aluminum die casting facilities in the world and this investment is a testament of our confidence in the employees at Bedford,” said Phil Kienle, vice president of North America manufacturing and labor relations for GM. “This investment is another example of the company bringing along our workforce in our journey to an all-electric future while we strengthen our current products.”
The Bedford plant, which opened in 1942, employs nearly 900 workers. GM did not state whether any jobs would be added as s result of the investment.
The all-electric Silverado pickup truck is slated to debut next month at the CES convention in Las Vegas.
BEDFORD, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Bedford-based economic development agency Radius Indiana has renewed its relationship with Japanese trade officials. Members of the organization met the newest Counsul-General of Japan and with members of the Japan External Trade Organization, which is based in Chicago.
Radius Indiana says the event was Consul-General Hiroshi Tajima’s first official speaking engagement in Indiana since he was appointed to the position last month. Radius Indiana is a regional partnership representing eight counties in southwest central Indiana.
“The Radius region, the state of Indiana, and Japan understand that one of the best ways to create more opportunities and prosperity for our people is to look outside our borders,” said Becky Skillman, chair of the Radius Board of Directors. “The grand evening and enthusiastic information exchange should propel the partnership forward.”
Tajima spoke about the current relationship between Japan and Indiana and the Japanese economy. For many members of the Radius, this was their first opportunity to hear from Japanese officials in terms of economic development opportunities.
“The leadership of Radius Indiana understands the deep value of and supports manufacturing investment from Japan,” said Ralph Inforzato, JETRO chief executive director. “Their leadership, particularly the mayors we met from southern Indiana, are truly focused on relationship building with JETRO to better understand how to approach and to make relationships with Japanese companies considering investment expansion in the Midwest.”
Radius Indiana says there are 344 Japanese business with facilities in Indiana, providing more than 70,000 jobs.
BEDFORD, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A consortium of economic development organizations in southern Indiana has launched a pilot program for talent attraction and workforce development, which includes a $5,000 incentive. The program, Choose Southern Indiana, is offering to pay moving expenses to out-of-state individuals to relocate to Dubois or Orange County. Three organizations, including Radius Indiana, Dubois Strong and the Orange County Economic Development Partnership, have jointly launched the initiative.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Radius Indiana Chief Executive Officer Jeff Quyle said the campaign is not the first attraction program in Indiana, but it is the first rural regional approach.
“We thought we had a little bit of a unique angle in that we are in a rural setting,” said Quyle. “We’ve got two counties that have already actively entered our program, a third county is planning to come in.”
Quyle says the relocation incentive could be used by individuals or families. They must maintain residency for a minimum of two years. Other than that, each county can determine the type of person or persons they want to attract.
Jeff Quyle is president and chief executive officer of Radius Indiana.Jeff Quyle is president and chief executive officer of Radius Indiana.
“They can define what kinds of population they’re looking for. In one case, it’s remote workers. In another case, it’s military veterans. Another county that is looking at coming on board is considering seeking people with bachelor’s degrees,” explained Quyle. “So, we’re going to have a variety of programs all within one regional umbrella.”
Radius is partnering with Indianapolis-based talent recruitment firm TMap LLC and its online platform MakeMyMove. The online tool helps communities pitch their locations to attract new residents by offering financial rewards.
Quyle says the Radius program is specifically targeting talent from outside the state of Indiana to avoid depleting talent in other Indiana communities.
Quyle says for the first year of the program, the groups budgeted enough to relocate 40 people total. Radius is covering 60% of the cost, while the select counties will cover the other 40%.
“We believe the rich variety of recreational opportunities and the quality of life and safety in our small cities and towns are going to appeal to any number of people when they discover this chance for an introduction to southern Indiana,” said Quyle.
Quyle says if the program, which he calls an experiment, works, he believes other counties in the Radius region will want to join. To learn more about the relocation incentive program, click here.
BEDFORD, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Economic development officials in southern Indiana say the region has shown resiliency during the pandemic and is optimistic about its recovery. Bedford-based Radius Indiana says the average unemployment rate in December for the eight counties in its organization was 3%, while the statewide unemployment rate was 4.3%
The organization says the pandemic’s impact on Radius counties was uneven. While defense and manufacturing-dense counties saw a “very slight increase” in unemployment over the course of the year, counties with tourism-dependent economies suffered more significant job losses.
“We’re proud of the resiliency our communities and businesses have shown over the past year. This sustained growth demonstrates the potential our region has for economic success, especially when the pandemic is over,” said Radius President and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Quyle.
Quyle says a wages and benefits survey conducted for Radius shows many regional employers expect to add workers over the next 12 months. The survey also found that 77% of employers are planning pay raises in the next 12 months.
Quyle says the organization has invested $4.4 million over the past five years to support infrastructure and overall economic development improvements, such as improvements at airports, water retention efforts, and downtown developments.
Radius board members say the investment is paying off.
“Radius’s continued support of Washington County and our neighbors have played a crucial role in sustaining our economies,” said Justin Green, who represents Washington County on the Radius board. “Their investment, specifically in infrastructure and economic development throughout the region, has created jobs and opportunities that have prevented larger unemployment rates.”
BEDFORD, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Bedford-based Radius Indiana and the South Central Indiana Small Business Development Center are partnering to bring small-scale manufacturing to the downtown areas of five local communities. The partners have begun a year-long Recast City cohort, which they say will help the towns of Orleans and Odon, and the cities of Washington, Salem and Loogootee learn about downtown revitalization. Recast City is a national program designed to help communities boost economic development through small-scale manufacturing.
Keeley Stingel, vice president of talent attraction and retention for Radius, tells Inside INdiana Business the program gives the communities another avenue toward recovering from the pandemic.
“As we’ve seen with COVID-19 and prior economic recoveries and recessions, rural communities are often left out of that conversation,” said Stingel. “This particular program was of interest to us because it’s something tangible our communities can work towards together, and so this program not only does some training as well as really assessing what the assets are of the community, as well as doing data gathering, figuring out what industries work within the community, but they also are supported and coached through implementation.”
Stingel says small-scale manufacturing can look very different in any community; enterprises can include a microbrewery, any type of business where production is done in the back of a facility while the front would be a customer-facing retail space, or a makerspace or shared kitchen.
“This is an active engagement with these communities. We want them to have the fruits of their labor after this engagement, so we do expect to see a business enterprise in each of those communities after this engagement,” said Stingel. “Five to 50 jobs is what we expect this particular business to create and we do expect there to be some sort of tangible good or product that is provided through this small-scale manufacturing.”
The program is being funded through cost sharing between Radius and the Indiana SBDC. The latter is providing funding made possible by the Small Business Administration through the CARES Act.
Stingel says the Recast program was attractive because of its scalability.
“This has been working in other communities across the country and so we know that by working with Recast City, we have not only access going through the cohort model to the communities within the region, but we can also tap into other communities and hear about their success stories so we can really do the best practice and make sure that what works in the communities is the best fit for them and then have access to those peer communities who have done this program before.”
Stingel adds the program complements other initiatives Radius has implemented, including an economic gardening program with the Purdue Center for Regional Development, as well as the mobile maker unit program with Indiana University and Regional Opportunity Initiatives Inc.
“The Town of Orleans has a beautiful Town Square with several buildings that are empty, and with the Recast programs’ leadership, we hope to find a suitable match with a potential small manufacturing client,” James Clark, president of the Orleans Town Council, said in a news release. “We look forward to seeing the opportunities and growth Recast City brings to the community.”
You can learn more about the Recast City program by clicking here.
BEDFORD, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – Virginia-based Science Applications International Corp. has been awarded a more than $84 million modification to a previously-awarded contract. The U.S. Department of Defense says a portion of the work, which involves the production of torpedo equipment and support, will be performed in Indiana.
The equipment to be produced is part of the MK 48 Mod 7 Heavyweight torpedo production program. The modification combines purchases for the U.S. Navy and the governments of Australia and Taiwan under the Foreign Military Sales program.
More than half of the work will be performed in Bedford and Indianapolis. Work is expected to be completed by April 2023.
The Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, D.C. is the contracting activity.
In 2017, IIB reported the company’s $28 million contract for production of sections of the MK 48 Mod 7 heavyweight torpedo. The majority of the work was performed in Bedford.
BEDFORD, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Radius Indiana has released the winners from its “Royalty-free IP” pitch competition that was virtually held on July 30. Elevate Ventures and Naval Surface Warfare Center-Crane Division worked with Radius on the competition that offered $5,000 in cash prizes.
- First Place – Sarpedon $3,000
- Second Place – ValgoTech $1,500
- Third Place – Pierce Aerospace $500
Sarpedon’s winning pitch involved Crane technology for preventing integrated circuit tampering, which is an ongoing project they were able to incorporate with Crane’s technological capabilities.
ValgoTech’s eight member team focused on a battery charger and power reduction system to lengthen the life of, and accelerate battery charging for drones.
Pierce Aerospace used Crane tech to implement drone tracking to help identify drones in the air.
Each team was allowed 10 minutes to present their pitch, with slideshow presentations to the judges and a question and answer session included for each team. Participants were judged on certain criteria ranging from sales approach, identifying markets and explanation of major milestones.
Event judges were Eric Steele from Elevate Ventures, Joyce Polling from Ivy Tech and Matt Craig from Radius Indiana.
BEDFORD, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – The newly-established Discover Southern Indiana has introduced a new Ice Cream Trail. The organization says the 250-mile trail extends through eight counties in southern Indiana and consists of 14 locally-owned ice cream shops.
The trail includes stops at Jiffy Treet in Greene County, Zax Creamery in Dubois County and Six Scoops in Washington County, among others.
“The goal of Discover Southern Indiana is to promote tourism in our eight-county region,” said Radius Indiana Director of Tourism and Quality of Place Blaine Parker. “The Ice Cream Trail just launched in mid-July and is already outperforming our initial expectations. It’s proving that people want to get out and explore, and have fun doing so.”
Discover Southern Indiana was launched earlier this year by Bedford-based Radius Indiana, which calls it the first region-wide tourism drive of its kind. The organization says it promotes opportunities, attractions and events for tourists visiting Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Greene, Martin, Lawrence, Orange and Washington counties.
You can find more information by clicking here.
BEDFORD, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Bedford-based Radius Indiana will Thursday host what it is calling the first “Royalty-free IP Pitch Competition” in southwest central Indiana. The organization says participants will compete for cash prizes with their proposals for intellectual properties developed at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division.
Radius says individuals or teams will develop proposals for one of 10 IP in subjects including drone tracking, battery charger and power reduction systems, Tunable Detection Systems and Hyperspectral Imaging.
The organization says the hope is that businesses and entrepreneurs will use the technologies to support new jobs and economic growth in the region.
“The engineers and scientists at NSWC create these solutions to solve problems encountered by the men and women protecting our nation, but many of these also can apply to the needs of everyday life for people anywhere,” said Jeff Quyle, chief executive officer of Radius Indiana. “We hope that our pitch competitors will produce ‘win/win’ results: a practical application of the technology to make life better, and a new business that can grow here among our communities.”
The pitch competition is being held in conjunction with Indianapolis-based Elevate Ventures, NSWC Crane, and the Indiana Small Business Development Center.
You can learn more about the intellectual properties involved in the competition by clicking here.
BEDFORD, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – The Lawrence County Workforce Coalition has begun the first cohort of its Introduction to Local Jobs and Skills program. The coalition, which is an arm of the Lawrence County Economic Growth Council, says the three-week training course is designed for adult students to develop entry-level skills for regional careers.
The council says classes are being conducted at the North Lawrence Career Center. The training features programming for welding, construction trades and machining.
“This program is a culmination of discussions with employers and community stakeholders throughout the past three years,” said Lawrence County Economic Growth Council Director of Career Development Joe Timbrook. “We know there is a large population of residents in Lawrence County that, with some training, could fill the employment gaps we see with our high-demand jobs.”
The council says students will study employability competencies such as communication, workplace etiquette and social awareness, as well as learning concepts and overviews for career development skills.
“It’s important that students aren’t only equipped with the technical skills needed for these careers, but the soft skills required to be successful in the future,” said Heather Nash, LCEGC programming director.
At the end of the course, the council says students will earn a certificate of completion, and it hopes students complete the training with one or more local interviews.