The sliding value of the U.S. dollar is boosting financial results for some of Indiana’s big exporters. The dollar recently
hit its lowest point in 15 years against an index of other major currencies, such as the euro, the Chinese yuan and Canadian
Alan G. Symons’ company, Fast Tek Group LLC, lost a court fight with Fishers-based competitor Product Action International
LLC in February. So Symons pushed Fast Tek into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June–a move that clears the way for a
suitor to buy the assets without being saddled with the liabilities.
Riverside Manufacturing was a sleepy New Castle firm with $5 million in sales when Fred Merritt bought it to try his hand
at running a company. Five years later, Riverside’s sales have grown a whopping 800 percent, it dominates its industry, and
Merritt, 39, is ready to work his magic on an Indianapolis company.
After almost 60 profitable years that saw Elliott-Williams Co. install walk-in refrigerators and freezers in almost every
Indiana school, hospital and hotel, the venerable firm was brought to its knees last year. But an unlikely savior, a new locally
based venture capital firm, bought EW out of bankruptcy for $507,000, about the cost of 10 EW walk-ins.
Indianapolis-based Norwood Promotional Products is facing legal challenges from a half-dozen former executives who say board
members and investors conspired to fire them, withhold severance pay and cheat them out of as much as $3.6 million in company
In manufacturing and industrial-heavy central Indiana, companies are beginning to realize that “going green” can translate
into another kind of green–money. Reaching beyond the standard glass, paper and metal, markets are developing for a variety
of materials, from tiny bits of processed rubber to leftover cornstarch.
With demand for welders outstripping supply, manufacturers, road and bridge builders, and other construction company owners
are all hurting. Despite a willingness to increase hourly wages and even offer signing bonuses, the search for welders is
getting more desperate.
Fortville-based Genesis Manufacturing makes helmet pads for U.S. troops through Colorado-based Skydex Technologies, which
won a contract this fall with the U.S. Air Force for 120,000 helmet pad kits. Most of the helmets have wound up in Iraq, where
the military has discovered soldiers need something more than Kevlar-lined helmets to survive roadside mines and exploding
Little known in this market less than a year ago, Lucas Oil Products is roaring into town with its first brick-and-mortar operation. Founder Forrest Lucas has set up a sister company, Lucas Cycles, to make fancy, fuel-injected motorcycles.
Little more than six months after Theodore M. “Tim” Solso took the CEO reins at Columbus, Ind.-based Cummins Inc. from James Henderson in January 2000, Cummins was slammed by “the deepest and longest recession in the history of the company.” Those days are ancient history.