Calling it a “great company,” Indiana Gov. Mike Pence visited the new headquarters of Drew Industries Inc. today (Oct. 2) to help celebrate the relocation of the RV industry’s largest supplier to Elkhart County.
Drew, parent company of Lippert Components Inc. and Kinro Inc., recently completed its previously announced plans to relocate its corporate headquarters from White Plains, N.Y., to Elkhart, and to expand its Indiana manufacturing operations.
“This is a real success for Elkhart County, and for the state and people of Indiana,” said Gov. Pence, who was joined at the podium by Elkhart Mayor Dick Moore and Goshen City Council President Jim McKee. “This ribbon-cutting reaffirms that the RV market is coming back stronger than ever — and it will be centered here in the state of Indiana for generations to come.”
In introducing the governor, Drew CEO Jason Lippert reflected on the origins of Lippert Components, the division of Drew Industries founded by his grandfather Lawrence C. Lippert in Michigan in 1956. His father, Doug Lippert, took over the company in 1979.
“Drew acquired Lippert in 1997,” Jason noted. “At the time, we were doing about $100 million in sales. Today, Drew is a billion-dollar revenue company — and we’ve grown to more than 5,500 employees nationwide.
“When I started with the company in 1994, we had about 600 employees in Elkhart County and the surrounding areas. I’m proud to say that, today, we have about 4,500 employees in the state of Indiana. We also are the largest supplier to the RV industry. Through Lippert and Kinro and our 50 factories in the U.S., Drew supplies full lines of products to the leading manufacturers of the RV, manufactured housing and specialty vehicle markets.
“To put it best,” he continued, “this new headquarters for all of our leadership teams symbolizes the company’s maturity, strength, and potential. Indiana has a strong and talented workforce, and is home to many of our customers and employees. That’s why Elkhart County was Drew and Lippert’s logical choice for relocation. Our customers are here, our facilities are here, our employees are here — and, now, our national headquarters is here.”
In his remarks, Gov. Pence noted that, “as is being recognized more and more nationally, Indiana is quite simply the best place in America to start a business, grow a business and get a job.
“We’ve been sending a message all across the country for the last eight years and nine months, that Indiana is open for business,” he continued. “We’ve been doing that by making the hard decisions, of living within our means. This last session of the Indiana General Assembly, we passed another honestly balanced budget — more than 12% in our budget are reserves. At a time when many states are struggling, Indiana is showing nearly $2 billion in the bank. In addition to that, we passed the largest state tax cut in history, we declared a moratorium on red tape and Indiana just a few short years ago became the first Midwest state in America to recognize the right to work.
“That, combined with our commitment to education, innovation and reform is making days like this a possibility — and making days like this the right decision for more and more businesses all across America.”
The new facility gives Drew Industries room for growth, with 50,000-square-feet of office space and 110,000-square-feet of manufacturing and warehousing space.
“This new facility allows us to have our executive team under one roof,” Drew President Scott Mereness noted in an accompanying release. “Centralizing our management and shared services personnel will improve communications and cultivate our tradition of long-term team building. It also provides a larger home for Kinro’s thermoforming operation with room for continued expansion.”