FORT WAYNE – An aftermarket automotive wheel-maker is consolidating operations into its Huntington facilities and adding 65 jobs by 2011, it announced Wednesday.
Transwheel Corp. is the largest U.S. source for replacement wheels and wheel covers to body shops, tire stores and distributors. It plans to invest $2.2 million into a 155,000-square-foot facility at 1870 Riverfork Drive in Huntington.
That recently purchased facility will be used for distribution, while Transwheel will continue to operate its manufacturing plant at 3000 Yeoman Way, said Jim Devlin, the companys vice president.
Transwheel will end operations at a polishing plant its leasing at 6912 Derek Drive in Fort Wayne and at another Transwheel plant in Saranac, Mich.
The nine employees at the Fort Wayne plant will be offered transfers to Huntington, Devlin said. The 14 Michigan employees also were offered transfers, but most declined, he said.
The 65 jobs announced Wednesday dont include transfers. Theyll be added to a workforce of 157.
Our business has been quite good, Devlin said.
Mark Wickersham, executive director of the United Huntington County Economic Development Corp., said the Transwheel expansion adds jobs, keeps existing ones and puts back into use a building that had been vacant more than a year.
From my perspective, its a trifecta for everybody concerned, Wickersham said Wednesday.
Devlin declined to say what the new manufacturing, warehouse and shipping jobs will pay.
The economic development corporation is offering Transwheel up to $300,000 in tax credits and $23,000 in training grants for adding the jobs. The corporation, an arm of the state government, maintains that it doesnt have to disclose pay ranges for the jobs, although Stephen Key, attorney for the Hoosier State Press Association, has disagreed with that contention.
Transwheel is a subsidiary of Chicago-based LKQ Corp. The companys shares closed down 9 cents, to $19.08, at the close of trading Wednesday on the Nasdaq stock exhange.
This is Huntingtons second jobs announcement in three months.
Canadian grill-maker Onward Manufacturing Co. Ltd. announced in October that it would hire 300 at a plant it had bought and refurbished. Company officials said those jobs would start at $10 an hour.
Huntington Countys non-seasonally adjusted unemployment stood at 12.6 percent in October, the most recent month for which figures are available.