Steel Processor Picks Valpo

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A steel bar manufacturer has announced plans to launch an operation in Porter County. Nuco Steel Bar Technologies LLC says it could create up to 50 jobs by 2019 as part of a $37 million investment. Construction on a new mill at the Airport Industrial Park in Valparaiso is expected to begin in May.

The 150,000-square-foot facility, which company officials say will be "one of the world's most technologically advanced" of its kind, is expected to be complete in the first half of next year. It will process carbon, alloy and tool-grade steel into flat, round and square steel bars. Nuco says its customers will be in automotive, agricultural, off-road equipment, hydraulic and tool-making industries.

Chief Executive Officer Jim Sarwark says "we decided to locate this new mill in Indiana after a search of more than 30 sites. The decision was reached based on the centralized location, the family values of the region, the assistance by the city and state and Chester Construction's proximity."

Sarwark is teaming up with Michael Pitterich on the venture. The pair has a background in the steel industry outside of Indiana. Sarwark's expertise is in distribution, having led Col-Fin Specialty Steel in Pennsylvania the last two years and serving as executive vice president of Nelsen Steel, also in Pennsylvania, for a decade. Pitterich owns Col-Fin Specialty Steel and Beaver Valley Heat Treat facilities in Pennsylvania and Canada-based Union Drawn Steel.

Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas says "their selection of Valparaiso from other competing locations for a substantial investment demonstrates the desirability and value of Valparaiso for businesses. The success of this project is shared by many. Our Redevelopment Commission made the commitment to secure a shovel-ready site in a manufacturing business park; Chester, Inc., a well-established local commercial developer had the expertise to meet the specific needs of Nuco Steel for their new facility; and, our Economic Development team, working with the IEDC, had the ability to negotiate a reasonable incentive package that benefits all. When people work together great things happen."

Indiana produces more steel than any other state in the country. More than 23 million tons of steel was processed in the state last year, which the Indiana Economic Development Commission says accounts for one-quarter of all American production. The industry employs some 23,000 Hoosiers.

The IEDC has offered Nuco up to $450,000 in conditional tax credits and as much as $150,000 for training grants, contingent upon fulfilling the company's job creation plans.

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