The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Annual Report: Business & Industry

March 27, 2011

GM worker James Burgess drives to Fort Wayne - daily

ANDERSON, Ind. — James Burgess of Anderson doesn’t slow down, and he doesn’t give up.

For three years now, Burgess has traveled 140 miles each day to work third shift at the paint shop at the GM truck assembly plant in Fort Wayne.

“Times have changed in this country,” he said. “I’m also well aware of the fact that as long as I’m healthy, I have to compete in that job market.”

And it’s a tough job. He does daily exercises his employer taught him so he can do the physically taxing job. “I have to pick up hoods and fenders all night long,” he said.

In a way, it’s better than his early days at General Motors, where he began working in 1968. “I spent 17 years in Plant 5, the foundry, where visibility was about 3 feet in front of you.”

“Then I went to Magnequench, then back to Plant 11 and then Plant 20. Everything was closing down then.”

Burgess, who also is president of the Anderson-Madison County branch of the NAACP, plans to make that commute and lift those truck parts for two more years, until he is 66 and can collect full Social Security.

While he’s grown accustomed to the commute, his stamina goes only so far. “I don’t like the overtime,“ he said, adding that for a while he had to work 10-hour days. “That was painful. That took a lot out of me.”

It also frightened him when a co-worker from Muncie died when he fell asleep behind the wheel. “I worry about that sometimes. It’s hard to stay awake.”

The drive takes about an hour and 10 minutes each way, unless there is snow. “The other day, it took me two hours.” He gets out of work at 6:28 a.m. and heads home. “It’s not as bad in the morning as it is in the evening.

“I listen to the news, NPR and listen to music sometimes. The drive is a way for me to get away from some things and allow you to think for an hour.”

1
Text Only
Annual Report: Business & Industry
  • Meyers Auto-3.jpg Auto dealers seeing increase in sales

    Overall auto sales have been climbing in the U.S., and it’s just as true in Madison County, where many dealerships have seen consumer demand on the increase.

    March 27, 2012 1 Photo

  • 0216 Welder working Ed Martin building12a.jpg Job loss, low incomes lead to population drop

    Though the federal government reports that the nation is on an economic upswing, Madison County continues to struggle with a 10.2 percent unemployment rate.

    March 27, 2012 1 Photo

  • 8 AR exit 10 3.jpg Healthy growth

    Growth along the Interstate 69 corridor has been healthy, at least for two area hospitals.

    March 27, 2012 1 Photo

  • Flagship forms hub of Exit 22

    The Flagship Enterprise Center at Exit 22 was created in 2005. The business incubator has helped more than 100 companies get a start.

    March 27, 2012

  • 7 Jahnae_Casino_1.jpg Hoosier Park VP sees tourism driving economic turnaround

    Jahnae Erpenbach, the vice president and general manager of gaming at Hoosier Park, strongly believes that the city of Anderson and Madison County are near a turning point in the area’s economic fortunes.

    March 27, 2012 1 Photo

  • 0717 news Bank Robbery12.jpg Local banks saw a year of growth

    During 2011, banks saw modest growth, returning to the industry despite a rough year in the media spotlight.

    March 27, 2012 1 Photo

  • 0903 biz Mike Baker1a.jpg Interest in people keeps Baker banking

    Mike Baker, the regional president of North Central and Muncie regions of First Merchants Bank, entered the banking industry in 1983.

    March 27, 2012 1 Photo

  • Bright Automotive Electric Car Bright Automotive may be gone, but not the future

    There’s no question the demise of Bright Automotive represents a blow to Madison County and the hybrid-electric niche it occupies in the automotive industry. But county economic development officials aren’t willing to let the engineering expertise that existed here with Bright slip away without a fight.

    March 27, 2012 1 Photo

  • 0210 news city council 033.jpg Economic Development director on the lookout for businesses

    As the city’s economic development director, Greg Winkler’s job entails seeking companies that are looking to expand or relocate. He tries to make such companies “give Anderson a hard look.”

    March 27, 2012 1 Photo

  • 0119_The Farm Site[1].jpg City wants to bring foreign companies, jobs

    One of last year’s biggest economic development announcements in Anderson was the news that a 72-acre baseball and softball training and competition complex would be built along Interstate 69.

    March 27, 2012 1 Photo

More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Do you think heroin is a significant problem in Madison County?

Yes, it has surpassed meth as the problem drug
Yes, but meth is still a bigger problem
No, this was an isolated case
Not sure
     View Results