EDC of Wayne County Hosts Annual Meeting

The Economic Development Corporation (EDC) of Wayne County held its annual meeting on Monday, May 9th at Forest Hills Country Club in Richmond with over 100 people attending. The event highlights activities, programs, and initiatives from 2021 and provides an overview of current activity.

2022 EDC board chair, Jim King, recognized past chair, Randy Templin for his contribution as chair in both 2020 and 2021. Templin was appointed to the EDC board of directors by the Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce. King also recognized Larry Parker as outgoing board member. Parker served two 3-year terms on the board of directors from 2016 to 2021. Parker was appointed by Richmond Common Council and during his time on the board was a member of the Industrial Park Committee and served as Treasurer and Secretary.

In 2021 the EDC worked with several companies on various aspects of their business, but three resulted in local expansion and retention projects in Wayne County. These projects represent a total of $20.5M investment and 76 new full-time jobs created. 2021 board chair, Randy Templin recognized the three companies.

ITD Engineering is a custom machining center that contract manufactures components for their growing customer base, many of which are in Wayne County. They are investing $1.65M, creating 6 new jobs and retaining 2 existing positions. They received a $20,150 EDIT grant from the EDC to support their growth.

Primex Design & Fabrication, a wholly owned subsidiary of Primex Plastics Corporation, is a manufacturer and designer of reusable protective packaging, handling, and shipping products. They invested $1.3M, created 6 new jobs and will retain 12 existing jobs as a result of the investment. The company received a $20,000 EDIT grant from the EDC. Doug Borgsdorf spoke on behalf of the company and expressed his appreciation for the EDIT grant with attendees. He shared that the grant award is being directly invested into training their workforce.

Hill’s Pet Nutrition is a division of Colgate-Palmolive. Their Richmond plant is a large-scale producer of nutrition for companion animals. In 2021 they began a large $17.5M investment project that will result in the creation of 64 new jobs. The EDC supported their project with a $203,000 EDIT grant. After receiving the investment award Hill’s Pet Nutrition’s CFO Dan Dunaway shared with the crowd that the work of the EDC was important to the company securing the investment for the Richmond plant. Several sister-plants were also under consideration for the expansion so the work that was done by the EDC to support the project was very important.

This year’s recipient of the Economic Development Partnership Award was instrumental in moving the needle on big challenges facing member counties: housing and access to affordable and reliable broadband. The Eastern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (EIRPC), led by Jeff Plasterer, worked with Tracy Cross and Associates to conduct a housing study that demonstrated strong demand for new housing in the region. The organization also worked with Purdue Center for Regional Development, AmeriCorps and Lead 4 America on a digital inclusion plan, the components of which include access to internet-enabled devices that meet the needs of users, and access to digital literacy training.  Their work is imperative to the work of Wayne County’s Broadband Taskforce. Another important part of EIRPC’s work is overseeing the development of the region’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS). This document not only allows for planning for the future but is necessary to secure federal funding. In addition, EIRPC is working to develop a youth apprenticeship program to help students identify careers and participate in work-based learning or apprenticeships to gain real-world work experience.

EDC President Valerie Shaffer gave an update on the progress being made to meet the four goals of the county-wide economic development strategic plan. Those goals relate to alignment, targeted growth, quality of place, and talent. She recognized many of the key partners and initiatives that are working alongside the EDC in those four areas that are collectively advancing economic opportunities for Wayne County.

Details on 2021 projects, activities, and initiatives can be found in the 2021 annual report. The annual meeting will be aired on WCTV – check local listings for dates and times.