A packed house listened intently Friday as Gov. Mitch Daniels joined representatives from KIHM Metal Technologies, Inc., to announce the company's plans to expand manufacturing operations.
The expansion could create more than 40 jobs during the next three years, according to company officials.
"We've got a very good work force here," company co-owner Bill Kaupp said.
According to company engineering manager Buddy Raderstorf, the industry specializes in metal fabrication and precision machine for aerospace and power generation industries.
KIHM, according to a press release provided by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), will invest more than $530,000 to add manufacturing space to its already existing 16,000-square foot building. KIHM also has plans to upgrade equipment and add new production shifts through the expansion efforts.
Kaupp said designs are already in place for the expansion.
"We feel like we're fairly well positioned," Kaupp said.
One of the reasons for the expansion was to help with work on a "fire bottle," which is part of a fire suppressant system for aircraft crews.
"We're right at the forefront of hopefully getting that," Kaupp said. "We're hoping over the next few years to employee 40-50 (additional workers)."
Kaupp and his brother, Clem, co-own the business, which was born in New Jersey in the 1920s. The company was established in Clay County in 2006.
Currently, the local business employees 16 workers. Plans have been made to add additional employees as soon as equipment upgrades are completed.
"We want you to grow and succeed," Daniels said after the initial announcement was made. "What they do here is unique. The kind of work that is done here can't be done just by anybody."
The IEDC offered KIHM up to $350,000 in performance-based tax credits and up to $39,500 in training grants based on the company's job creation plans.
According to the IEDC release, Clay County will consider additional property tax abatements at the request of the West Central Indiana Economic Development District, but Kaupp said the company has been approved for tax abatements.
Under the current economic conditions, Daniels said he was pleased to be able to make Friday's announcement.
"It's like swimming against a tidal wave, but there are some good signs in the economy," Daniels said. "This feels great. These are the towns that have made Indiana great.
"Even in the midst of global economic uncertainty, great companies like KIHM reinforce that Indiana is the right place to grow a business," Daniels added. "Our business-friendly environment makes a community like Brazil an ideal setting for more investment."
Clay County Commissioner's President Charlie Brown said the county's relationship with KIHM is "good."
"We want to continue that," Brown said. "This project is a good example of how state and county can work together."
Commissioner Paul Sinders added the county continually looks to bring in new industry.
"Clay County is working hard to invite, encourage and work with business and industry leads who are interested in moving to West Central Indiana and we appreciate the support from the state," Sinders said. "We welcome KIHM and look forward to a long and positive working relationship with them."
What is KIHM?
KIHM Metal Technologies, Inc., was founded in 1924 as a metal spinner for the fine silver market, New Jersey-based C.B. Kaupp and Sons, which eventually evolved into a supplier to the military aviation industry with the onset of World War II.
Today, the company, along with KIHM, which was established in 2007, continues to produce components for the military and commercial aircraft markets.