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Elkhart County, Ind., Touts ’09 Job Formation

September 3, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

The Economic Development Corp. (EDC) of Elkhart County honored 10 local business leaders at its Investors Meeting for their contribution to the winning trend, according to a news release.

Elkhart County, IN was the top destination for new corporate investment in 2009 for areas with their population size. The Economic Development Corp. (EDC) of Elkhart County honored 10 local business leaders at its Investors Meeting for their contribution to the winning trend. Participants were (first row) Isaac Torres, InterCambio Express; Dorinda Heiden-Guss, EDC of Elkhart County; Jim Hiatt, EDC board Chairman. (second row) Martin Miranda, All American Group; Brent Kuhn, Kem Krest; Rick Glasser, izzy+. (third row) Tom Kemeny, THINK North America; Doug Whyte, Dometic Corp.; Tom Alexander, Dwyer Instruments. (fourth row) Riad “Ray” Baker Ardahji, LP Store Fixtures Group/ Syndicate Systems; Mike Beckman, Truck Accessories Group; and Jeremy Perez, Navistar.

Elkhart County, IN was the top destination for new corporate investment in 2009 for areas with their population size. The Economic Development Corp. (EDC) of Elkhart County honored 10 local business leaders at its Investors Meeting for their contribution to the winning trend. Participants were (first row) Isaac Torres, InterCambio Express; Dorinda Heiden-Guss, EDC of Elkhart County; Jim Hiatt, EDC board Chairman. (second row) Martin Miranda, All American Group; Brent Kuhn, Kem Krest; Rick Glasser, izzy+. (third row) Tom Kemeny, THINK North America; Doug Whyte, Dometic Corp.; Tom Alexander, Dwyer Instruments. (fourth row) Riad “Ray” Baker Ardahji, LP Store Fixtures Group/ Syndicate Systems; Mike Beckman, Truck Accessories Group; and Jeremy Perez, Navistar.

Elkhart County, Ind., transformed quickly from a symbol of recession to a sign of recovery, recently celebrated last year’s stunning success, when more than $245 million in investments created 4,700 new jobs, including many in the RV industry.

The county, once described as “the white-hot center of the national recession,” was named the top destination for corporate expansion among metropolitan areas with populations of less than 200,000 in 2009. It also earned Site Selection Magazine’s Governor’s Cup for the year.

“The EDC is currently working in partnership with existing businesses, the state of Indiana and utility companies for new and diversified investment opportunities,” said EDC President Dorinda Heiden-Guss.

Secretary of State Mitch Roob, the CEO of the Indiana Economic Development Corp., presented data about the state’s improving economic climate – with Elkhart County as a major contributor. The event was sponsored by Indiana Michigan Power and NIPSCO.

The honorees, the value of their investments and their products or services were:

  • All American Group of Elkhart and Middlebury, which builds systems-built houses and specialty vehicles, $3.5 million.
  • Dometic Corp. of Elkhart, which manufactures goods for the RV, truck, marine and hotel industries, $6.8 million.
  • Dwyer Instruments of Wakarusa, which provides industrial controls such as gages, switches and transmitters, $505,000.
  • InterCambio Express of Elkhart and Goshen, which provides the service of transferring money to Central American and South American countries, $700,000.
  • izzy+, which makes furniture, $640,000.
  • Kem Krest of Elkhart, which provides supply chain management solutions, $3.3 million.
  • Navistar International Corp., which makes electric trucks at its Wakarusa plant, $39.2 million.
  • Syndicate Systems Inc. of Middlebury, which makes household furniture, $460,000.
  • THINK North America, which makes electric cars, $56.2 million.
  • Truck Accessories Group of Elkhart, which makes fiberglass, plastic and aluminum components, $2.45 million.

In his presentation, Roob said job commitments in the state by early August had already climbed to 16,556, far above last year’s total 10,679 and a significant improvement over the pre-recession 14,956 in 2006. (See Chart.)

The number of projects was up to 115, compared to 89 for all last year, and investment was already at $2.74 billion, nearly three times the 2009 total. Wages from the IEDC projects are at the national average, far about the state average.

The growth was achieved with a modest cost to the state for expenses such as tax credits, training grants and infrastructure assistance.

Indiana is one of only nine states with the top rank from all three credit rating agencies and enjoys lower business tax and regulation than almost any other state, he noted.

Last year, Elkhart County was the location of 15 deals in the state – second only to the Indianapolis area, and including 3,512 job commitments more than any other county.


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Rick Huston Joins TAG’s State Wide Aluminum

June 17, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Rick Huston

Rick Huston

Rick Huston has joined State Wide Aluminum as sales and business development manager.

Dennis DeLeonard, vice president of sales, marketing and business development for Truck Accessories Group LLC (TAG), State Wide’s parent company, made the announcement.

Huston brings a diverse and accomplished career with companies such as TRW, Eaton Corp. and Federal-Mogul to the State Wide sales and business development function at a time when State Wide is increasing its sales and distribution of custom aluminum-framed windows, doors, access panels and hatches, according to a news release.

DeLeonard noted, “The State Wide reputation for providing top-quality window and door systems to the truck cap and horse trailer industries has provided it with excellent growth opportunities. Rick gives us the experience and forward-thinking creativity we need to meet the needs of the markets we serve, both here in the United States and internationally.”

Huston said, “State Wide Aluminum is poised for impressive growth as industries recognize its ability to produce and deliver top-quality, solution-driven door, window and access panel systems. I look forward to helping that growth become a reality.”

Huston, who has a degree in marketing from Ohio State University, will work out of the State Wide Aluminum headquarters office in Elkhart, Ind. He can be reached at rickh@truckgroup.com.

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TAG Owner, Other Heroes Honored in Ceremony

December 22, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

President Barack Obama shakes hands with Capt. John Poindexter in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2009, after a ceremony honoring recipients of the Presidential Unit Citation.

President Barack Obama shakes hands with Capt. John Poindexter in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C., Oct. 20 at a ceremony honoring recipients of the Presidential Unit Citation.

John Poindexter, owner of J. B Poindexter LLC, parent of Truck Accessories Group, the company behind LEER, Century, Raider and Pace Edwards truck accessory products, ended a long campaign to earn recognition for the heroism demonstrated by his fellow soldiers over 40 years ago, as his company, Troop A, 1st Squadron of the 11th Armored Combat Regiment was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation by President Obama in a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden on Oct. 20, according to a news release.

Citing official records of the battle, Obama recalled the extraordinary bravery exhibited by the unit describing the daring rescue of fellow soldiers as Troop A fought to defend its position and evacuate the wounded while under attack. The Presidential Unit Citation is the highest unit award in the military, and the equivalent of the Distinguished Service Cross for every man in the unit.

On March 26, 1970, Alpha Troop heard that another unit of about 100 men had stumbled onto a massive underground enemy bunker of North Vietnamese forces. They were “outnumbered and outgunned” by about 400 enemy fighters, so the nearly 200 men of Alpha Troop set out to smash a path through the jungle, risking ambush and land mines, to rescue their colleagues, Obama said.

Though “the fog of war makes a full accounting impossible,” Obama said about 20 Alpha Troop members were wounded in the rescue and at least two died.

“These soldiers define the meaning of bravery and heroism,” the president said.

But their bravery in what came to be known as “The Anonymous Battle” went largely unnoticed and unrewarded until years of work by the leader of the unit, ex-Army Capt. John Poindexter of Houston, captured the attention of military leaders and the Commander in Chief. Poindexter was joined by dozens of veterans of his Troop for the Rose Garden ceremony, along with several of the men saved that day almost 40 years ago.

Poindexter is owner of J. B. Poindexter & Co. LLC, a group of largely transportation-related manufacturing firms, including Truck Accessories Group LLC, (TAG) manufacturer of LEER, Century and Raider Truck Caps and Tonneaus, Pace Edwards Retractable Bed Covers and State Wide Aluminum window and door systems. More information about TAG and its member companies is available at www.truckgroup.com.

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