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Economic Development Corporation of Elkhart County

Elkhart County, Indiana Companies Expand and Diversify to Thrive

Feb 22, 2009

Elkhart County, Ind. –Beyond the glare of media attention on Elkhart County’s spike in unemployment, underscored by President Obama’s recent visit, many companies there are thriving against the national tide. The Economic Development Corporation of Elkhart County (EDC of Elkhart County, Indiana) announced that creative applications of existing technologies to new markets and development of new discoveries have many businesses in a strong position.
Over half of Elkhart’s workers are in manufacturing, and half of those are outside the hard-hit RV industry. Innovators are finding new uses for RV-related products, and a new generation of entrepreneurs is pressing forward in health care, environmental and other cutting-edge fields.

Examples of Successful Companies In Elkhart County, Indiana

Adams & Westlake, founded in 1857 to supply lamps and lanterns to railroad companies, is still on track today. The company continues to produce parts for railroads and commuter transit but has branched into military vehicles and other sectors, expanding its workforce. Adams & Westlake (www.adlake.com) sells supplies to Amtrak and transit authorities from New York to Los Angeles as well as to manufacturers. It has 36 employees in its 62,000-square-foot plant.

ObeCo Inc., long time a supplier of custom netting and tie down material to the RV and marine industries, started looking for new markets two years ago. They found that their products have applications in the forklift, bus, motorcycle, farm, golfcart, medical and military fields.
They are now also providing net products for seating in stadiums, folding chairs and theater seats. Already, this diversity has reduced dependence on RV and marine customers from 80 percent to 60 percent for ObeCo (www.obecoinc.com).

Regional Health Care Professionals, Inc. is expanding its nonmedical service to people who need care in their homes, complementing its sister Regional Health Care, Inc., which provides medical services (www.elkharthomecare.com).
The company, started in 1999, expects to hire an additional director and add over 30 patients, supporting 10 new staff positions including therapists, nurses, aides, companions, homemakers and social service professionals. The cutting edge agency uses Honeywell tele-monitors to measure blood pressure and vital signs of patients remotely from a central location, as well as Honeywell medication monitors to assure accuracy.

SJC Industries Corp is exploring new markets, for its lines of ambulances (www.mccoymiller.com) (www.marqueinc.com) overseas and at home. They are redesigning vehicles both to raise attention and to lower costs.
The company has maintained production and employment staffing despite delays in decision-making by its cash-strapped private and government customers. Leaders expect vigilance and flexibility, combined with product innovation will keep the company strong through the downturn and position it for acceleration as the economy recovers.

Fresh air from Sports-O-Zone’s Sanitizing System has proved effective in fighting resistant bacteria, viruses and molds on hard-to-clean surfaces from football helmets to wheelchairs and children’s toys. The young company (www.sportsozone.com) grew by more than 50 percent last year and expects to keep growing this year.
The environmentally friendly ozone chamber that uses on-site air has become popular with a wide range of users, from NFL teams and the military to nursing homes and day care centers.

The EDC of Elkhart County is comprised of business and community leaders dedicated to a growing and diverse economic base. For more information about expansion opportunities in Elkhart County, call Dorinda Heiden-Guss, president at (574) 535-1002, e-mail edc@elkhartcountybiz.com or visit their website atwww.elkhartcountybiz.com to learn about hundreds of successful companies thriving today in Elkhart County, Indiana.

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