State officials and executives from 16 companies opened a grab bag of business expansion announcements early Thursday afternoon, as the firms together pledged to create as many as 2,153 jobs in Indiana over the next several years.
Nine of the firms planned to boost operations and employment in the Indianapolis area, forecasting 933 jobs. Significant players included medical health data firm iSALUS, planning to hire 136 workers by 2023, and email marketer Nimblejack, intending to create up to 185 jobs by 2019—both in downtown Indianapolis.
Fishers appeared to have landed a coup, with Memory Ventures, a portfolio of direct-to-consumer e-commerce brands, planning to relocate its headquarters from Los Angeles. The firm would create up to 134 new jobs by 2018.
But the locations ranged across the state from Fort Wayne to Oolitic, mostly involving the manufacturing, medical and infotech sectors.
Via the Indiana Economic Development Corp., the state also pledged nearly $20 million in incentives to the firms, based on their job-creation plans. About $18 million of the total came in conditional tax credits, which can be claimed only after jobs are created. Training grants to the firms made up the balance—about $1.8 million.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence lauded the work of the IEDC, which worked with 285 companies to secure job commitments in 2014. The firms anticipated investing $4.38 billion in their Indiana operations and creating 25,317 jobs in coming years.
The average hourly wage of the planned positions was $21.75, above the state's current average hourly wage of $20.17.
But Indiana House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath blasted the jobs announcement in a written statement as a "dog and pony show" and said IEDC is looking at the state's employment situation through "rose-colored glasses." He noted that Indiana's household income has dropped over the past decade and the state ranks 38th in per-capita income.
"All this sound and blather is at the service of jobs that 'might' be created over the next few years," Pelath said. "By the time those years pass, and few of these jobs become reality, the administration will have moved on to other grand announcements about more jobs that 'might' be created even more years down the road."
Here are the expansions slated for central Indiana, with the amount of incentives pledged by the state based on each firm’s job-creation plans:
— Health care services company Cardinal Health, headquartered in Dublin, Ohio, will construct and equip a 64,000-square-foot facility in Indianapolis, creating up to 85 jobs by 2017. Dedicated to manufacturing Bayer Healthcare’s Xofigo, the new facility is expected to be complete in 2017. Cardinal Health will begin hiring specialized manufacturing roles, chemists, engineers and other professional positions when construction on the facility is complete. State incentives: Up to $925,000 in tax credits and $75,000 in training grants.
— Infotech firm CloudBlue will invest $3.74 million to lease, renovate and equip a 110,000-square-foot processing center in Indianapolis, creating up to 50 jobs by 2017. CloudBlue is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ingram Micro Inc., based in Santa Ana, California. State incentives: Up to $195,000 in tax credits and $98,000 in training grants.
— Indiana-based medical data firm iSALUS plans to invest $485,100 to lease and equip its 5,280-square-foot office at the Stutz Business Center in downtown Indianapolis, creating up to 136 jobs by 2023. iSALUS currently employs 26 full-time Indiana associates and plans to begin hiring next year for software engineers and members for its customer service, sales and administrative staffs. State incentives: Up to $2.04 million in tax credits and $60,000 in training grants.
— Indianapolis-based Kite Realty Group plans to invest $205,000, expanding its corporate offices by 5,865 square feet in June and creating up to 69 jobs by 2018. Now one of the largest real estate investment trusts in the nation, Kite Realty employs more than 140 associates, with 115 based in Indiana. State incentives: Up to $1 million in tax credits and $140,000 in training grants.
— Memory Ventures, a portfolio of direct-to-consumer e-commerce brands, plans to relocate its headquarters from Los Angeles to Fishers, creating up to 134 jobs by 2018. Memory Ventures will launch Indiana operations next year in a 2,500-square-foot temporary office, with plans to be fully operational by 2016 in a 10,000 square-foot office for Memory Ventures’ portfolio brands. State incentives: Up to $865,000 in tax credits and $90,000 in training grants.
— Email marketer Nimblejack plans to invest $555,000 to lease and equip its current 4,000-square-foot office space in downtown Indianapolis, creating up to 185 jobs by 2019. State incentives: Up to $2,275,000 in tax credits and $120,000 in training grants.
— Indianapolis-based Probo Medical which launched operations earlier this year, plans to invest $835,000 into its business, creating up to 62 jobs by 2018. Its north side facility is located at 9855 Crosspoint Blvd. Probo is currently hiring for positions in sales and technical roles. State incentives: Up to $325,000 in tax credits and $175,000 in training grants.
— Ryno Strategic Solutions, an Internet marketing company primarily serving HVAC, plumbing and other service industries, plans to expand its national sales headquarters in a 20,000-square-foot office facility in central Indiana, creating up to 127 jobs by 2023. State incentives: Up to $1.5 million in tax credits and $60,000 in training grants.
— Indiana-based SmartIT, an information technology firm delivering staffing and technology solutions for some of the largest companies in the country, plans to invest $4.5 million to expand into a new 40,000-square-foot headquarters facility in Zionsville, creating up to 85 jobs by 2018. State incentives: Up to $900,000 in tax credits and $50,000 in training grants.
The following projects are slated for locations around the state:
— Heavy-equipment parts manufacturer AMI Industries Inc. will invest $4.2 million to equip and expand its agricultural component production at a 100,000-square-foot facility in Plymouth, creating up to 250 jobs by 2015. The company also plans to invest $4.35 million to equip and renovate its automotive manufacturing lines, creating up to 225 additional new jobs by 2017. State incentives: Up to $2.3 million in tax credits and $300,000 in training grants.
— Bluffton Motor Works, a manufacturer of custom-designed AC and DC fractional horsepower motors, expects a significant boost in production. It could create up to 70 jobs at its Bluffton headquarters by 2017. It will invest $3.6 million into its 400,000-square-foot Bluffton operations. State incentives: Up to $450,000 in tax credits and $100,000 in training grants.
— Deister Machine Co., which manufactures vibrating equipment for the mining and quarrying industries, plans to invest $2.8 million to equip its 250,000-square-foot facility in Fort Wayne. The family-owned company has already begun hiring for machining and fabricating positions, creating up to 110 jobs by 2018 to grow the company's workforce beyond its current team of 198 Hoosiers. State incentives: Up to $935,000 in tax credits.
— Middlebury-based Grand Design RV will invest $6.9 million to add 48 acres and infrastructure improvements to its current 67-acre campus, creating up to 330 jobs over the next few years. Grand Design currently employs 548 full-time associates at its Elkhart County campus. State incentives: Up to $2.95 million in tax credits and $200,000 in training grants. In addition, the IEDC will provide the Elkhart County with up to $250,000 in infrastructure assistance from the state's Industrial Development Grant Fund.
— Indiana Limestone Co. plans to invest $9.37 million to equip its combined 4,500-acre quarries in Oolitic and Bloomington, creating up to 75 jobs by 2017. The firm, which currently employs more than 130 workers, plans to begin hiring by March. State incentives: Up to $450,000 in tax credits and $100,000 in training grants.
— Midwest Automotive Designs plans to create up to 80 jobs by 2017. The company, which converts vans and trucks into luxury vehicles, operates in a 65,000-square-foot facility in Elkhart and will expand by more than 25,000 square feet within the next three years. It currently employs approximately 100 full-time associates. State incentives: Up to $560,000 in tax credits and $140,000 in training grants.
— South Bend Modern Molding, a manufacturer of custom molded rubber products, plans to expand production capacity and add product lines at the company's 100,000-square-foot facility in Mishawaka, nearly doubling employment by creating up to 80 jobs by 2023. State incentives: Up to $335,000 in tax credits and $100,000 in training grants.
"From tech developers to manufacturing powerhouses, the collective energy of these Hoosier businesses will help power our economy into 2015, creating jobs, promoting opportunities and investing in our future," Pence said at the announcement.