The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, December 02, 2015 11:17 am

Making license plates to add jobs

Paul Wyche The Journal Gazette

A California company plans to invest more than $1.6 million at its Fort Wayne operation.

Intellectual Technology Inc., 2980 Coliseum Blvd. E., wants to add a 12,000-square-foot building and a 1,200-square-foot research and development center for a license plate making business, according to paperwork filed with the city this week.

The development will result in 10 full- and three part-time positions, averaging $33,538 a year. The company currently employs 67 workers whose pay averages $54,370 annually.

ITI of Carlsbad, California, provides auto registration renewal and license plate software. It describes itself as a provider of turnkey solutions.

The company won a bid with the state in January to produce license plates for Hoosiers. ITI does business with motor vehicle agencies in Indiana and California.

The corporation recorded $16.2 million in annual sales in 2014, a 2.3 percent increase from the previous year.

ITI’s two existing buildings comprise 30,000 square feet. The business is seeking a 10-year abatement that would save it $220,791 during that period. The request will be introduced to City Council on Tuesday.

Officials say they hope to complete the expansion by June.

“Our focus has been on car registration renewal software, but now we will be making the plates after winning the competitive bid,” said John Low, ITI’s chief financial officer, who is in Fort Wayne this week. “There are still some states where plates are made at prisons.”

But not Indiana. Hoosier prisoners no longer make license plates, under a five-year, $72 million contract recently signed by the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles with ITI.

The company will process vehicle registrations and administer license plate procurement and distribution. 

For years, PEN Products has made the plates, as a subcontractor for 3M, at the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City. But ITI now takes over the plate contract, and the prison will stop making the plates in May, BMV spokesman Josh Gillespie said. 

He said the state expects to save $14 million over five years on plate production and distribution. 

House Democrats have questioned how it was possible for a company to pay minimum wage and still provide cheaper plates than inmates. 

As part of the contract, ITI also must deploy up to 33 self-service terminals around the state. Gillespie said the BMV eliminated these terminals several years ago because consumers were not using them.

But ITI has a different platform the agency wants to try. It has already been testing the concept in several BMV branches. Some will be available 24 hours a day, and some will operate during branch hours. There are 132 branches in the state.

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