If you ask Brian Asher what’s driving a flurry of jobs announcements and momentum in Shelby County, his reply will likely be two words: team effort. "We have a city and a county that get along really well," said the executive director of the Shelby County Development Corp. during an interview on Inside INdiana Business Television. "One phone call or one email and we’re all together and we’re talking and making things happen."
Indeed, much has been happening in Shelby County in recent months.
Last week, Japan’s Ryobi Limited announced plans to invest $97.5 million and add 150 jobs in a major expansion at its Ryobi Die Casting Inc. facility, which already employs more than 800 in Shelby County. When this latest expansion is complete, Ryobi will have more than one million square feet of space under roof in the county.
In June, Japan’s largest steel producer, Nippon Steel, announced a partnership with Sumitomo Metal Corp. to build a $50 million plant that is expected to create up to 70 jobs over the next five years. The company will process cold heading steel wire that is used for fastener applications in the automotive industry.
And in March, agriculture equipment manufacturer Krone North America announced plans to move its headquarters from Memphis, Tennessee to Shelbyville and create more than 100 jobs. At the time, Chief Executive Officer Tommy Jones said the move provides the company "a strong base of knowledgeable workers" and aligns with its North American growth strategy.
Asher said building a pipeline of talented workers is behind several quality of place initiatives, including a $19 million downtown redevelopment project and creation of a riverfront district that is expected to soon welcome its first brewery, 450 North.
On the education front, Shelbyville, Shelby County and Ivy Tech Community College announced a partnership earlier this year aimed at growing the local workforce. Advantage Shelby County pays the first two years of college expenses for county high school graduates who pursue degrees in Advanced Automation and Robotics Technology, Business Administration, General Studies or Transfer General Education Core.
Asher says it’s one more example of a team effort aimed at building the community’s future. "We’re just trying to keep our students in town a little bit longer and hopefully add them to our workforce," said Asher.
Shelby County’s efforts are getting noticed. Shelbyville is a finalist in the state’s Stellar Communities competition, which could result in funding for future projects.