- Gerry Dick
Coming off a record-breaking year for deals in 2015, Indiana Secretary of Commerce Victor Smith expects more strong numbers this year, with a distinct international flavor. "The things we're seeing are fairly striking," said Smith, in an interview on Inside INdiana Business Television. "It's companies that are either here from international destinations or companies that are coming here...our pipeline is up 317 percent." Smith says nearly one in three deals at the Indiana Economic Development Corporation are internationally-based.
Smith's comments come on the heels of a big week for economic development announcements around the Hoosier state.
Three separate announcements brought more than 700 job commitments and $40 million in investment.
Arizona-based Knight Transportation (NYSE: KNX) is investing $4.6 million in a Regional Operations Service Center in Plainfield and adding more than 400 jobs over the next five years. In Marshall County, Indiana Composites, LLC says it will invest nearly $4 million to move into a 75,000 square foot facility with plans to add about 200 jobs. And in Huntington, Mayor Brooks Fetters says Michigan-based Continental Structural Products' $33.5 million investment represents the single largest capital investment in the city’s history. CSP’s addition of about 80 jobs over four years is especially welcome news in light of plans by Connecticut-based United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) to relocate manufacturing operations from its United Technologies Electronic Controls Inc. subsidiary in Huntington to Mexico. That move is expected to leave around 700 workers without a job.
Smith is matter of fact when asked what is attracting investment to Indiana.
"The bottom line is because of the bottom line," quipped Smith. "From a regulatory standpoint, from a tax standpoint, from a workers comp standpoint, from the dedication of the Hoosier workforce... I think all those things together make it a no-brainer."
And Smith says interest from around the globe will likely keep his bags packed. "That means a lot of travel and a lot of miles," said Smith. "There is a ton of opportunity that you are going to see."