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Jobs coming to Columbia City

3rd expansion since ’08 for parts-maker

An $11 million investment and the promise of nearly 100 jobs in the next three years are the latest from a Columbia City modular parts manufacturer.

Gov. Mike Pence on Wednesday announced that 80/20 Inc. has expansion plans that include a 31,000-square-foot addition onto its existing facility at 1701 South 400 East. The new building will house a training auditorium and expanded office space. Construction likely will begin in April.

80/20 designs and manufactures modular extruded aluminum framing for various industrial and home-hobby applications. This latest development marks the company’s third expansion since 2008.

“While we continue to pursue the attraction of new business, it’s equally as important to maintain an environment that allows existing companies like 80/20 to prosper,” Pence said Wednesday in a statement released shortly after his late afternoon visit to the plant.

“80/20 was founded here and their trend of growth is proof that our economic climate, robust infrastructure and superior workforce make the Hoosier State work for business.”

The company’s 250,000-square-foot facility sits on a 38-acre campus with 329 full-time employees.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered 80/20 up to $650,000 in conditional tax credits and up to $75,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans. The tax credits are performance-based, meaning the company is not eligible to claim incentives until Hoosiers are hired.

Whitley County has approved a 10-year abatement, the Indiana Economic Development Corp. said in a statement Alan Tio, president of the county’s economic development corporation, said 80/20 will save $494,543.

Don Wood, company president and CEO, appreciates the support.

“This is a great place to do business,” Wood said in a telephone interview. “There’s a community spirit and synergy that you don’t find in larger cities. We’re here to stay.”

The business recently launched a high school educational initiative in partnership with Whitley County Consolidated Schools and Ivy Tech Community College. The project-based program focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills.

Columbia City Mayor Ryan Daniel is pleased with 80/20’s growth and investment.

In 2011, the aluminum components provider made plans to invest $9.4 million to construct more than 90,000 square feet of additional manufacturing space and said it would add 110 jobs. In 2008, 80/20 announced plans to invest $5 million and create 40 new positions to expand manufacturing and distribution capabilities.

“80/20 continues to be one of the best in the region when it comes to job creation and creativity,” Daniel said. “They also are committed to the community. We’re so pleased they’ve decided to reinvest here.”