The Herald Bulletin

September 26, 2013

Emerging industrial makeup creates new image for Anderson

City officials say past is important for the future

By Traci L. Moyer
The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. — Recent growth in the business sector is creating excitement and a new image for the city, officials say.

Frank Owens, director of municipal development for Anderson, said the city has a rich automotive history, but expanding outside of that industry will help produce a stronger business base.

“Yes, we were a GM town and I’m proud of that fact,” he said. “But when you have just one dominant industry it can cause some real havoc when something happens. When GM left there was nothing to fill that void.”

Recent expansions and new businesses relocating to the area, however, are changing the industrial makeup of the city, Owens said.

In addition to Hy-Pro Filtration construction, Owens said, people will see a number of new projects being started or completed this year including the construction of a MedExpress Urgent Care, a Planet Fitness, Ollies, the expansion of Nestle, a new Old National Bank location and several Hoosier Park renovations.

Some of the growth is due to an economy on the rebound, Owens said, but Anderson is seeing new growth because it has so much to offer companies that want to expand and grow including its proximity to an interstate and an experienced workforce.

He said the key to the city’s future growth will be in diversification.

“Nestle is the largest food manufacturer in the world,” he said. “And to think we have one of the largest facilities in the nation, right here, in Anderson.”

Bill LaFramboise, executive vice president of Greenville Technology Inc. (GTI), said Anderson is a great place to do business.

GTI has been in operation since 1987 and is one of Honda’s largest suppliers of plastic components in North America. It designs and manufactures a variety of interior and exterior automobile parts. GTI is headquartered in Greenville, Ohio, and part of Moriroku Technology, a global Japanese manufacturer with operations in Japan, China, India, Philippines, as well as North America.

A year ago, GTI started hiring for its Anderson location and now employs more than 200 people. LaFramboise said what makes the city different from other cities is its commitment to growth.

“I think, in general, states and municipality representatives talk a good game to have you look at them, but in the case of Anderson and the state of Indiana, we have just found the people and elected officials are exceedingly friendly and cooperative,” LaFramboise said. “They make starting a business as easy as possible and they are very supportive.”

Dave Avey, a customer service representative with Precision Strip, said doing business in Anderson is proving very successful.

“We are growing like gangbusters,” he said.

Precision Strip is a coil processing company with warehousing and delivery services for the metals industry. The company processes rolled steel, aluminum and copper.

Avey said the company has recently completed a new expansion and employs more than 55 drivers and production workers.

“It’s all going very well and we can’t cut steel fast enough,” he said.

Owens said the city’s recent growth is just the beginning.

“I see a bright future for Anderson,” he said. “I see businesses looking at Anderson for potential and Anderson has the right stuff. I know people are not patient, but be patient – they are coming.”

Like Traci L. Moyer on Facebook and follow her @ moyyer on Twitter, or call 648-4250.