ANDERSON — A dream that started in 1976 to have a presence in America reached another stage for an Italian family Friday with the official opening of Tecnoplast USA at the Flagship Enterprise Center.
Gloria Da Ros, CEO of Tecnoplast, and her grandfather, Renato, cut a symbolic red ribbon to mark the company’s move to Anderson from Whitestown. Those in attendance were treated to authentic Italian wines and foods during the announcement.
“The last time my grandfather came to America was in 1976,” Da Ros said. “He was looking for partnerships even back then; things were much different then."
The language was a barrier, and the Internet did not yet exist.
“I grew up in this family that had the American dream,” she said. “I’m on top of the world. It’s my way of thanking him for all the sacrifices he has done. Show him it was worth something.”
Da Ros said the journey that ended in Anderson started 17 years ago when she was an exchange student in Pennsylvania. Her experience in the United States eventually rekindled the desire to bring her company to America.
Tecnoplast will begin operations in Anderson on Monday, and company officials intend to hire 10 people.
The company specializes in plastic materials and technological systems manufacturing for chemical products for pharmaceutical, chemical, metal finishers, textile and galvanic industries.
The Anderson Board of Public Works approved a grant to the company earlier this year. The city will provide $200,000 over a five-year period to lower the cost of leasing the building.
“The city of Anderson did an outstanding job, totally different than any other county,” Da Ros said. “I’m used to meeting economic development people in offices, where they give you a presentation. The city of Anderson had a totally different approach.
“They said, 'What do you need in order to succeed?'” she said. “It’s like a customized service. This will attract a lot of investment. Even today, we have another Italian entrepreneur that is looking to invest here in Anderson.”
Michael Frischkorn, deputy director of the Anderson Economic Development Department, said over the past few years the city has attempted to open new markets. City officials have visited northern Italy, he noted.
“This is the first fruits we're seeing as a result of those trips,” he said. “This has been a work in progress. Hopefully, this will be the first of many companies coming from Europe to Anderson.”
Anderson Mayor Kevin Smith noted that the city is home to companies from Israel, Germany, Japan, China, Switzerland -- and now Italy.
“I like to say never again for our economic situation in Anderson,” he said, alluding to the catastrophic failure of the local auto industry in the 1990s and early 2000s. “We’re diversifying with the products and services we make here and where the foreign investment is coming from.”
Smith said overseas trips are an important part of the city's marketing strategy, and that recent new-business announcements have resulted from two recent trips.
“Companies have different needs; our goal was to have representation from the region of the world that offers a great opportunity for Indiana and Anderson,” Smith said. “They’re (Tecnoplast is) a company with a great track record.”
The city has ongoing discussions with other Italian companies to bring operations to Anderson.
Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 640-4863.