COLUMBIA CITY, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) – More jobs are coming to Whitley County with the expansion of a local company.
Founder and President Don Wood of 80/20 Inc., plans to add 97 jobs by 2016. Wood and Governor Mike Pence made the announcement Wednesday afternoon at the facility in Columbia City.
Along with jobs, the aluminum parts manufacturing company is also expanding. Wood says he's adding 31,000 sq. ft. to the existing 250,000 sq. ft. facility. This is the sixth time the company has expanded since the 1990’s when Wood moved 80/20 from Fort Wayne to Columbia City.
“There’s nothing like it,” said Wood. “It’s the greatest thrill ever. It feels good to be right.”
At 80-years-old, Wood says the secret to his growing success is being “unconditional.”
“If you set conditions on your career, you’ll only work up to the condition you set,” he said.
But more square feet isn't the only way Wood is expanding his company. Recently, 80/20 launched a new high school educational initiative that will train and certify students to work the industry. The company has partnered with Whitley County Consolidated Schools and Ivy Tech Community College and will focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills.
Both Gov. Pence and Wood agree this is just one of the many signs that Indiana’s economic future is growing.
"It'll infect more markets, and more markets mean more sales, and more sales mean more people to produce the product. It's a win-win,” said Wood.
"We've got the best people in the world, the best location in the world. So when you've got a company here that does business all over the world and they ask the question where should we grow? Making the decision to grow right here where they're planted in the Hoosier state is a great source of encouragement,” said Gov. Pence.
Wood says the expansion will put Whitley County in a better tax situation, and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation granted 80/20 $75,000 to use towards job training as well.
Wood says they'll begin hiring in April and there's a possibility more jobs could be added based on need. He says expansion on the facility should be complete by summer.
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